English Language Learner


Published: Published: February 14th, 2019

Superintendent Hoffman Applauds Passing of English Learner Bill

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman today praised the signing of SB 1014 into law, which eliminated the stringent 4-hour state-mandated block of English-language instruction. The law also provides schools and teachers of English Learner (EL) students more flexibility to develop instructional models that best fit their individual needs.

“For the past two decades, Arizona’s multilingual students have suffered from a misguided policy that has left them isolated, undereducated and unprepared to enter the workforce,” Superintendent Hoffman said. “The passage of this legislation will give tens of thousands of EL students a greater chance at success in school and in life, and their success will benefit all Arizonans. I applaud the governor and legislature for supporting this bill, as well as the advocates who fought so hard to make this happen.”

During Superintendent Hoffman’s campaign for office, eliminating the 4-hour block was one of her foundational issues. The Superintendent’s research into bilingualism, as well as the unlimited feedback she has received from educators and students, consistently cited the 4-hour EL block as the biggest hindrance of academic success.

SB 1014, which was sponsored by Senator Paul Boyer and Representative Michelle Udall, was passed with unanimous support by the legislature. The increased flexibility of the law will allow public schools and teachers to develop their own research-based models, which will be determined by the individual needs of their students.

The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) is currently working with EL stakeholders throughout the state to develop guidance that will enable a seamless transition to this less-restrictive approach. In addition, ADE will be charged with collecting data and analyzing the effectiveness of how schools implement their language instruction programming so best practices can be shared among educators throughout the state.

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Published: Published: December 3rd, 2018

EL Teacher of the Year Announced

Miriam Romero

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas announced that the 2018 Arizona English Language Learner (EL) Teacher of the Year is Miriam Romero of Carrillo K-5 Magnet School in the Tucson Unified School District.

“It is an honor to recognize Miriam Romero as an outstanding teacher,” Superintendent Douglas said. “Her passion and commitment to educating Arizona’s EL students were evident by the way her school and students reacted to the news that she was selected the 2018 Arizona EL Teacher of the Year.”

Romero will be honored at a banquet on Wednesday, December 5, 2018 at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort in Tucson. This event is being held in conjunction with the Arizona Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition Services (OELAS) 2018 Conference, “The Art of Language.”

The process for choosing the 2018 Arizona EL Teacher of the Year began with the call for applications in May of 2018. In October, judging by a panel of peers was facilitated by OELAS, and the honoree was chosen.

On November 13, 2018, Superintendent Douglas and officials from OELAS made a surprise visit to Carrillo K-5 Magnet School in Tucson to inform Mrs. Romero that she had been selected the 2018 Arizona EL Teacher of the Year.

When asked about her educational philosophy, Mrs. Romero stated, “I feel privileged to teach and learn with the children in my ELD [English Language Development] Resource classes. As a teacher, I help my students bridge this divide between home and school, two worlds which traditionally have been at odds with each other for many generations of EL students in the United States. Throughout the year I use my SEI [Structured English Immersion] lessons to instill a sense of purpose and pride behind all the English learning we do at school. I want my students to see themselves as academics who hold an integral part in the school and their communities at large. It is my job to teach my students the skills they need to continue their growth as scholars, learning, evolving and thinking critically about their role in society, long after they leave my classroom.”

Mrs. Romero continued, “It is essential that instructors make school a safe and accepting place for their students. An instructor must take their varied students’ life experiences, cultures, histories and languages as source of inspiration for student learning. Achieving this high level of participation can be challenging. For EL teachers, involving students who may have very limited English or are unsure of their academic voice can be a constant struggle. It is essential you learn about and recognize who your students are beyond their traditional classroom identity, which is usually based on test scores and very antiquated notions of what makes a good scholar.”

Miriam Romero was born in Tucson, Arizona and began her teaching career in the Tucson Unified School District, where she has taught for 12 years. For the last 11 years, she has been teaching at Carrillo K-5 Magnet School, the school she attended as a student. Over the course of her teaching career, Mrs. Romero has taught first through fifth grade English learners. Miriam received dual degrees from the University of Arizona in 2007. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Education concentrated in Bilingual Education as well as a Bachelor of Arts concentrated in Spanish and Portuguese Literature. Her endorsements include English as a Second Language and Library/Educational Media. Miriam is married and has four amazing children.

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