WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- The White Plains, Tarrytown and Ossining school districts will partner with UCLA’s Center X to implement a multi-year program aimed at creating expanded and personalized learning opportunities for students in middle and high school who do not speak English as their first language.
Known as Project Exc-EL, or Excellence for English Learners, the program will combine evidence-based strategies for classroom teaching with support provided by community partners and agencies including the Center for Secondary School Redesign, Westchester Community College, Pace University and the RSHM Life Center.
Plus Alpha Research, based in Arlington, Va, will provide evaluation and research support.
“I am really excited about the opportunity to collaborate with other districts and provide common experiences for our families and staff as well as opportunities to learn from each other,” Ossining Schools Superintendent Ray Sanchez said in a statement. “UCLA has some outstanding educators who are working on ways to close the achievement gap and they will be sharing effective strategies with our teachers.”
Teams of educators will be trained in research-based instructional techniques proven effective with English learners. The teams will meet regularly to discuss the students’ progress and explore their strengths and challenges, with an eye toward adjusting instructional approaches.
Students who need additional help to master the curriculum will have access to tutors as well as to online learning programs and extended day course work.
Because struggling students often have needs that go beyond the classroom, Project Exc-EL teams also will provide outreach to families, with workshops on such topics such as college and career readiness, financial aid and immigration law. This will ensure that families of EL students are involved in the school community. Other supports for families and students will be explored, including visits to area colleges, internships and mentoring to better prepare students for college and career.