We began the day by having principals and members of their Emergent Bilingual Leadership Team meet to discuss the following focusing questions:
- What changes, if any, have you already made to your school?
- What changes do you plan on making to your school as part of your School Improvement Plan?
- How do you plan on making these changes?
- What supports do you need to make these changes?
After the schools had time to discuss the focusing questions they met in three groups by grade-level: (1) elementary schools, (2) middle schools and K-8 schools, and (3) middle and high schools. Each school had a chance to share what they had discussed and receive feedback from their colleagues.
After lunch participants came back to a room full of their posters. They had a chance to look at each other’s work and ask each other questions. It was a truly energizing experience to see school leaders share their plans and receive feedback from colleagues.
What was even more invigorating was to see the CUNY-NYSIEB principles of (1) treating bilingualism as a resource and (2) creating a multilingual ecology being enacted in so many different school contexts. Every poster articulated concerns that were specific to that particular school. Yet, the common thread of respecting and affirming the home language practices of all bilingual students was seen across all of the schools.
The day ended with a final reflection where the faciliatators shared out the common threads between the schools and reinforced the two principles of the CUNY-NYSIEB Project. The energy was high at the end of the session.
Yet, the hard work will be next year when the schools have to implement the plans that they have created in collaboration with us. We will continue to provide on-site support in the fall as they begin to implement their plans and would appreciate any advice from those of you with experience in supporting schools on how to ensure successful implementation of goals.