English Language Learners

In this Institute, school leaders learn how to use the latest research to meet the learning needs of their student populations at every stage of English language development.

Explore English Language Learners

The three-day English Language Learners Institute helps school leaders understand the latest research on language acquisition, conduct gap analyses of programs for English language learners (ELLs) in their schools and develop action plans based on the needs of their student populations. The Institute also includes an Action Learning Project, which deepens understanding through hands-on research and reflection while ensuring an immediate impact in their schools.

Knowledge and Skills to Make an Immediate Impact

The Institute’s course content is broken down into specific units supported by readings, discussions and hands-on learning activities targeted to the needs of busy school leaders. Teaching methods include case studies, role-playing exercises and interactive computer-based activities to complement lectures and group discussions. The Institute equips school leaders with solutions to the major challenges they face in improving the performance of English language learners in their schools.

Learning Objectives

  • Assess the school’s English language learning context: population, capacity, instructional program and plan for improved student achievement.
  • Promote the incorporation of well-researched instructional best practices into ELL curricula.
  • Match ways and means with ends that will improve English language learning.
  • Lead educators in creating effective language and content classrooms for all ELLs.
  • Design leadership strategies to promote fair assessment for ELLs.
  • Develop strategies to increase teacher capacity for the instruction of ELLs.
  • Begin action planning for professional development and overall English language learning excellence in the school or district.

Key Questions

  1. How should my school or district provide appropriate and differentiated instructional services to all ELLs?
  2. What program models support ELLs?
  3. What does fair assessment for ELLs look like?
  4. How does an instructional leader analyze and evaluate the ELL classroom, and how does a leader know what effective instructor practices and student behaviors to look for?
  5. What strategies should an instructional leader promote to create collaborative learning teams among teachers?
  6. What are the central features of action plans for ELL excellence?


This Institute comes complete with a rich set of learning materials that address key aspects of ELL oversight and improvement. In addition to an interactive CD-ROM, course handbook and handouts developed by NISL, participants receive:

  • English Language Learners: A Resource Guide for School Leaders, a NISL publication
  • Educating English Language Learners: Understanding and Using Assessment, a publication by the National Council of La Raza
  • Double the Work: Challenges and Solutions to Acquiring Language and Academic Literacy for Adolescent English Language Learners, a publication by the Alliance for Excellent Education


Day One

  • Welcome to Leadership for English Language Learners
  • Demographics and Equity
  • Language and Culture
  • Family Engagement
Day Two
  • Standards-Based Instructional Systems for ELLs
  • Instructional Practices
  • Assessment: What’s Fair for ELLs
  • Program Models and Approaches
  • Revisit of Action Learning Project for ELL Excellence
Day Three
  • School Culture and Climate
  • Professional Development
  • Revisit ELL Leadership Diagnostic
  • Report of Action Learning Project for ELL Excellence

Delivery Models to Fit Your District’s Needs

NISL Faculty can train participants directly, or, for districts or states that want to train multiple cohorts, NISL can train several district leaders to become certified NISL facilitators. This method allows organizations to build internal capacity while reducing the cost of training.

NISL can conduct the Institute at a school district facility or work with you to find a suitable off-site venue. The Institute costs do not include facility rental fees, lunch or refreshments, IT services, or travel or lodging expenses for participants.

The cost of the three-day program is $25,000 for up to 25 participants to receive training directly from NISL faculty. Additional participants can be added for $600 each.

For districts that wish to develop their internal capacity to deliver the training, NISL will train and certify their staff for $1,100 per trainer. Certification requires that candidates spend several extra hours with NISL Faculty before, during and after the Institute. A NISL Faculty member then attends the candidate’s first session as facilitator to observe and coach the trainer candidate. Once certified, the trainer can train other principals for just $425 per participant. This covers the cost of materials plus a license to use the training materials.