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Exploring Longitudinal Outcomes and Trajectories of English Language Learners

Project ELOTE* is a Researcher-Practitioner Partnership funded by the Institute of Education Sciences. Researchers from the Quality Teaching for English Learners initiative at WestEd are partnering with practitioners in the Fort Worth Independent School District (FWISD). Over the two years of this grant, we will develop a partnership to address problems of practice relevant to ELLs. FWISD has a large and diverse population of ELLs. The initial focus will be on secondary immigrant newcomers, all of whom attend the International Newcomer Academy (INA) for one year. After INA, students attend sheltered Language Centers before entering mainstream classes.


The purpose of the ELOTE project is to improve graduation and academic outcomes for secondary immigrant English language learners (ELLs) by jointly:

  1. investigating their academic outcomes and trajectories,

  2. determining indicators that predict which ELLs will require additional supports,

  3. identifying promising programs and interventions.


Phase One will use existing administrative data to track a single cohort of secondary immigrant newcomers as they move within the district from the International Newcomer Academy to Language Centers to mainstream programs. This initial analysis will identify promising programs and campuses which will be the site of case studies in Phase Two.



The partnership is led by the Co-Principal Investigators who form the Steering Committee for the partnership:

  • Dr. Aída Walqui  leads the partnership, coordinating with counterparts from FWISD, and supervises the overall project. As the Director of the Teacher Professional Development Program at WestEd, Dr. Walqui has extensive experience collaborating with district leadership to provide professional development and technical assistance for building the collective capacity of schools and teachers. Her research focuses on characteristics of teaching and pedagogical scaffolding that provide English language learners with challenge and support.

  • Dr. Michael Sorum chairs the Steering Committee and provides decision-making authority for FWISD. As Deputy Superintendent for Leadership, Learning, and Student Support in the FWISD, Dr. Sorum supervises multiple departments within the district including the Bilingual/ESL Program. He has participated extensively in university partnerships for design-based implementation research.

  • Suann Claunch chairs the district-based Language Center Advisory Group. She coordinates and facilitates how the Advisory Group participates in identifying questions, generating hypotheses, interpreting results, and developing applications of research findings. Claunch is Director of PK-12 ESL programs in FWISD.


Key advisors include an External Advisory Board and a Language Center Advisory Group of teacher leaders from the campuses students attend after the International Newcomer Academy.



Phase One: How can districts improve newcomer graduation outcomes?


Phase Two: How can schools support secondary newcomers academically, socially, and emotionally?

ELOTE brochure Page 3

*Project ELOTE is funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, United States Department of Education, R305H140032.

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