Core Practices 2018 Summary of Changes

After two years of research and revision informed by EL Education partners, staff, and leaders, we have released a new edition of the Core Practices. This edition, like the two previous editions (2003, 2011), provides a comprehensive overview of the EL Education model, which can be used as a planning and implementation guide for partners implementing all or part of the EL Education model (including literacy partners).

The revisions in this edition amplify and clarify the best practices in EL Education schools around the country, which are enabling more than 4,000 teachers and 50,000 students to achieve more than they thought possible. This revision retains from the previous edition the overall structure of five domains of school life, spanning 37 core practices. Each of those core practices has been updated to reflect new learning (e.g., about literacy) and new research grounded in our Dimensions of Student Achievement: mastery of knowledge and skills, character, and high-quality student work. Here are highlights of the changes you can expect to see in this revision.

Structural and Nomenclature Changes

  • Headings and terminology have been revised to align the 37 core practices with the language of key frameworks, documents, and professional learning offerings. These include EL Education’s Dimensions of Student Achievement, our professional learning bundles and pathways, our English Language Arts (ELA) curriculum, our revised Implementation Review process, and recent EL Education publications (e.g., Leaders of Their Own Learning).
  • We have revised the introduction to update information about EL Education, to describe how our approach to teaching and learning—grounded in the Design Principles and the Dimensions of Student Achievement—is different, and to provide guidance on How to Use This Book.

Content Changes

  • We added a core practice entitled Choosing, Adapting, and Enhancing Curricula to support EL Education partners who are using or considering our ELA curriculum and also to support all of our schools that use published curricula in addition to creating their own.
  • Revisions throughout this book reflect our new learning about the strong literacy practices that are built into our curriculum.
  • Throughout the book, we have made explicit the curriculum, instruction, and leadership practices that embody our longstanding commitment to equity in schools—practices that work to close the opportunity gap for historically underserved learners. These include equity-boosting practices such as choosing grade-level complex text for all students, close reading instruction, character practices that bolster growth mindset, and using data to identify and address achievement gaps.
  • The core practice Planning for and Supporting High-Quality Student Work has been moved to the Instruction domain and is frequently cross referenced from other practices that support this dimension of student achievement (e.g., Checking for Understanding in Daily instruction).
  • We have added a core practice in the Instruction domain entitled “Teaching English Language Learners” in recognition that strategies to differentiate for and support ELLs are not the same as those teachers use for students with disabilities.
  • The Culture and Character domain now highlights character education as a key strand in the Dimensions of Student Achievement. The Core Practices within this domain clarify the relationship between Habits of Character and Habits of Scholarship and ground these habits in the spirit of crew that pervades EL Education schools.
  • The practices of student-engaged assessment that are an entry point for so many EL Education partners are fully fleshed out and aligned with our book Leaders of Their Own Learning, as well as our professional learning bundles that support these practices.
  • Revised leadership core practices underscore our commitment to shared leadership structures that lift up teachers, parents, and other thought leaders in the learning community. At the same time, these revisions clarify the responsibilities and impact of administrative leaders who guide the vision and culture of a school community.

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