The Engage California! English Learners through the Arts (ECELA) Project provides research and evidence-based professional development (PD) and family literacy programs that integrate arts in the content areas with strategies that increase literacy for English Learners (ELs), and support Social Emotional Learning (SEL). ECELA will provide a professional development (PD) program to support improvement in classroom instruction for ELs.
The ECELA Project will focus on using research and evidence-based strategies for ELs in increasing English Language Development, it will directly support teachers in remedying the learning loss students have suffered because of the pandemic as well as increase the imperative need for Social Emotional Learning (SEL). For students, families, and educators, the ECELA Project will provide an avenue for expression, creativity, and healing from the traumatic loss of family, friends and homes (also caused by the pandemic) and it provides opportunities for families to come together and engage in arts-literacy activities that incorporate research and evidence-based strategies. Overall, the arts can lower the affective filter so children can become more successful in language acquisition and academic learning.
ECELA focuses primarily on elementary school students for two main reasons: 1) those are the grade levels in which there is the largest population of ELs; and 2) teachers need to utilize instructional practices earlier in the education process to prevent elementary students from becoming Long Term English Learners (LTEL). LTELs are students who have been in U.S. schools for more than five years and have not yet reached RFEP (Reclassified Fluent Proficient) status. This project creates greater equity and inclusion for ELs to participate in culturally responsive arts integration aligned with the California (CA) English Learner Roadmap, CA Standards for English Language Arts and English Language Development.
ECELA is an exemplary model of the power of collective impact community partnerships- public schools, district offices, universities, performing arts organizations, county education staff, and statewide collaboration. The arts organizations that have given indispensable assistance and guidance to ECELA also support a vast array of arts programs, projects, events, and educational needs throughout and beyond the Los Angeles region. With the inception of the ECELA grant in 2022, there have been a series of instrumental institutions that have contributed to the growth and development of ECELA. Such prestigious and innovative partnerships include: California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA), Curriculum and Instruction Steering Committees (CISC), Los Angeles County Office of Education's Multilingual Academic Support (MAS) Unit, Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA) Center, Disney Imagination Campus, Merced County Office, Inglewood Unified School District, Rosemead School District, University of Southern California (USC) Rossier School of Education, Cal State University at Los Angeles (CSULA) Charter College of Education, and Spotify-Soundtrap.
Curriculum and technology specialists from the Center for Distance and Online Learning at the Los Angeles County Office of Education collaborate with these highly prominent organizations, educators from Los Angeles School Districts, and faculty and students from Institutes of Higher Education. These local organizations work collectively to advance equitable access for all students in the arts to improve student achievement, to build capacity in schools and districts, and to create a sustainable framework of arts integration in schools throughout LA County.
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