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Partnering with EL Education

The EL Education model is unusually effective because it combines high quality curriculum and resources, expert coaching, and engaging professional learning.


- Teachers have long known what research is not telling us. Most professional development does very little to improve student achievement. My name’s Scott Hartl, and I’m the President of EL Education. We have a very different model of professional development. It is unusually effective because it combines three essential and connected parts. We join nationally acclaimed curriculum and resources with expert coaching and engaging in powerful professional learning. Our professional development addresses both the content and the pedagogy, the what and the how of great teaching. We established collaborative partnerships with schools and districts that transforms teacher practice and student achievement, bringing a model that combines rigor and joy in learning.

- By way of educational professional development, we came here expecting the usual, and what we experienced was the extraordinary.

- [Narrator] Formed over 20 years ago as expeditionary learning, EL Education has developed a national network of over 150 high achieving public schools. Students in EL schools that implement the model deeply consistently outscore their district counterparts in all subgroups at all age levels. Now we’re taking what we’ve learned from our schools to build partnerships across the country using our curriculum and resources, expert coaching, and professional learning. First, we bring unparalleled resources.

- Boston had to use this photograph as his model. This is called a tiger swallowtail.

- I knew it.

- [Narrator] EL resources include a nationally acclaimed literacy curriculum that empowers all students to meet the new standards, the world’s largest collection of exemplary student work, and bestselling books and videos of best practices viewed more than a million times. Our curriculum is unique in its ability to transform classrooms and schools.

- Now, we’re having genuine conversations about student learning. What are they understanding? How are they engaging with complex text? Moreso than the simple surface things of, okay, how many objectives do I see on the board? Are the students on task for this objective? All of those things are happening, but the reality is, now we’re talking about true student learning.

- [Narrator] The curriculum engages and motivates students, all students, beyond what they thought possible.

- My name is Robin Harman. I’ve been principal at Highlawn Elementary now for 11 years. And I consider myself a curriculum reader. What are you reading about? The reading materials themselves are fantastic. The students can see themselves in these stories. We see more children excited about learning, excited about reading, and I’ve just watched a lot of the students grow.

- That’s the big idea I see, the big new thing with EL. You really are pushing the children toward a harder text. They’re highlighting, they’re circling, they’re looking at the gist. They can write about it, they can answer any question about it, and they back it up with evidence.

- Curriculum is so adaptable that it allows you to meet the needs of the range of students that you have within your classroom, from the student who is struggling to the student who’s ready to excel and move past to the next grade. They’re all able to be taught, reached, and grow with this particular curriculum.

- I think that the curriculum has been very beneficial for my students. When they would go to their general ed classroom, they just started participating and raised their hand and, I mean, I had students actually say, I feel like a real fifth grader. I’m doing grade level work.

- [Narrator] By design, the curriculum is a key part of the professional development experience that improves teaching for both new and veteran teachers.

- I think that the EL program is a great curriculum and a great starting point for new teachers. Classroom management can be overwhelming, and so, with lessons that are already laid out for you with protocols in place, that helps a new teacher have the classroom management and have the structure that they need.

- Christina, could you read learning target number one, please?

- I can understand the literal and figurative meaning of Atticus--

- The curriculum as a whole and the program as a whole, it’s almost like this equal composition where you’re learning how to become a better teacher and you’re also watching your students become better learners.

- One of the things that happens is you’ll get someone or a program or a company that says, here’s this really great curriculum. Give this a shot. And the curriculum itself might be wonderful, but there’s no support around it.

- [Richard] Was Atticus confident?

- [Students] Yeah.

- So would you say that--

- And when we looked at EL, we found that not only was it a robust curriculum, the depth of questioning and the knowledge that’s required and the complexity of the text and the richness of the work is all there, with that came this coaching component.

- [Narrator] EL education coaches are expert educators with years of experience on the ground in schools as teachers and school leaders. They bring a deep respect for teachers and build trusting relationships through the partnership.

- Our teachers and our leaders engage in new professional learning directly tied to their implementation of the curriculum. At the same time, we’re in the classroom, side by side, working with teachers. Providing feedback, responding to their needs.

- Meeting with the coach from EL, reflecting on lessons that we’ve taught, looking at student data and seeing where they’re achieving, it feels completely different to me because when I think about teaching, I feel like this is the road map to be a good teacher.

- [Narrator] Finally, we bring a new style of professional learning to schools and districts. Active sessions were teachers and leaders grabble with the curriculum and collaborate to build a new vision of teaching, learning, and student success.

- When we launched the curriculum, we had a three day institute when we went through the modules and we used the protocols that we would soon be using in the classrooms. We left those institutes inspired, honestly.

- [Narrator] What is most important about our unique three part professional development partnerships is their impact on student achievement.

- I’ve been doing this for 22 years now. And I’ve had students in the past say, there’s no way I can read this. What are you giving me, I can’t do this. The students now have this routine where this, we can do this. There is no text I can’t break down. And the quality of student writing and the ease with which it’s being produced is unlike anything we’ve seen before. The students are able to not only retain information from a novel--

- I’m going to win, Atticus and he said--

- They’re able to synthesize it in a way that demonstrates they’ve understood it, internalized it, and then are using it to form their own opinions.

- [Narrator] Through our unique combination of curriculum and resources, expert coaching, and professional learning, we’re helping schools and districts across America transform teacher practice and lift student achievement. Join us in this work.

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