New School Improvement System to Support Leadership for Teaching English Learners

June 19, 2019 | Categories: Updates , Wida

Before diving into this article on a new school improvement system that develops leadership for teaching English Learners (ELs), please keep in mind the following:

  1. You may be familiar with the WIDA Consortium. Please note that your state does not need to a member of the WIDA Consortium in order to use this new school improvement system for teaching and supporting ELs.
  2. This article introduces a new school improvement tool (that contains the WIDA name and brand) that measures key leadership practices to support instruction for ELs.
  3. WIDA is a world-wide leader in developing standards and assessments for ELs in K-12 education.

Where is Help Needed?

As student populations across the country become increasingly diverse both culturally and linguistically, we know that: 

  • Many teachers are not fully prepared to teach and serve these students even if they strive to do so. 
  • School leaders, as much as they would want to, are also not adequately prepared to support their teachers in teaching ELs in the most effective manner possible. 
  • Many school leaders do not know where to begin for engaging in a school improvement process focused on success for ELs. 
  • Even many district-level ESL Directors may need guidance on where to begin to support their schools and school leaders given the wide range of instructional leadership practices to consider. 

Ideally, schools should conduct a needs assessment of school-wide leadership practices that support teaching of ELs. And we are happy to introduce such a system: The WIDA School Improvement System (WIDA SIS).

Introducing a New School Improvement System for Supporting English Learners

WIDA SIS is an online leadership assessment and feedback system that supports leadership for teaching  English Learners (ELs). This system was developed in collaboration with the Comprehensive Assessment of Leadership for Learning (CALL). Developed and validated at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, CALL is a school-wide leadership and assessment system that measures and supports instructional leadership. Please take the opportunity to learn more about CALL. 

WIDA SIS (the "EL version of CALL") focuses more specifically on school-wide leadership practices that affect teaching ELs. While the project to develop WIDA SIS was in conjunction with the CALL Team and WIDA, schools do not need to be in WIDA Consortium states in order to use WIDA SIS. Other than the name of the system, the survey and feedback system do not refer to WIDA or WIDA products. Any school that is interested in enhancing leadership for teaching ELs is eligible and welcome to use WIDA SIS.

How Does It Work?

The WIDA SIS assessment focuses on foundational principles of good instruction for ELs and takes an asset-based approach to teaching and serving ELs. In addition, WIDA SIS utilizes a distributed leadership approach to measuring and supporting leadership in schools. Therefore, rather than focus on an individual school leader,  WIDA SIS utilizes a multi-source comprehensive survey to assess core leadership practices that are distributed across the school building. In a given school, teachers, administrators, and instructional support staff are eligible to take the survey. Upon completion of the survey, users receive immediate targeted data and feedback designed to support school improvement and professional growth focused on teaching and supporting ELs.

Sample survey item from WIDA School Improvement System (WIDA SIS)School and district leaders use WIDA SIS for school improvement planning and professional growth plans. The WIDA SIS online reporting system provides users with Areas of Strength and Improvement Needs which provides guidance for next steps in their school improvement work. And users refer to the item-level data for specific guidance on next steps in their school improvement planning:

Sample item-level data & feedback on the WIDA SIS Online Reporting System

Please take the opportunity to learn more about the WIDA School Improvement System (WIDA SIS) and the research-validated instrument from which it was derived: the Comprehensive Assessment of Leadership for Learning (CALL). And please contact the WIDA SIS and CALL Team to schedule a one-to-one live demo of the system.