What's one thing that everyone should know about English learners?
That question provided a launching pad for a multi-sector conversation held this spring at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The event, called the EL Summit, was intended to confront the structural and systemic silos that too often stand in the way of creative thinking, adequate resourcing, effective instruction, and positive results for English learners. These students are the fastest growing subgroup in U.S. schools, but they remain among the lowest performing on standardized assessments and lag far behind peers in high school graduation rates.
The goal of the EL Summit was to elevate the conversation around equity for English learners by bringing together diverse stakeholders practice and policy — from universities, public schools, charter networks, community organizations, and nonprofits. As organizers of this inaugural event, we saw how eager our audience was for this kind of cross-sector gathering, and we hope this will mark the start of a continuing tradition: a community-wide network of stakeholders working collaboratively in a movement toward better outcomes for English-learner students.