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Los Angeles Unified Leads Initiative To Provide High-Quality Math Instruction Materials to English-Learners (2-19-19)



LOS ANGELES (Feb. 19, 2019) - The Los Angeles Unified School District and the country’s second-largest school system, and the Council of the Great City Schools, the nation’s primary coalition of large city public school systems, announced today the establishment of a nationwide initiative to improve the quality of math materials for English-language learners in middle school.

EL Staff With its experience and expertise in educating English-learners, Los Angeles Unified took the lead in the rigorous development of math materials that drew interest from more than 100 publishing groups. Three publishers were selected to provide high-quality instructional materials: Curriculum Associates LLC; Imagine Learning Inc.; and Open Up Resources.

Any school district in the nation can now purchase these select materials, and 15 major city school systems have already expressed interest. There are no fees or conditions for school district to use these publishers.

"Los Angeles Unified remains committed to finding new ways to better support every student and to make sure they get the best possible education,” said Superintendent Austin Beutner. “L.A. Unified serves the largest number of English-language learners, and we’re pleased to join with the Council of Great City Schools in putting that experience to work.”

The effort began in 2012 when a survey revealed that urban school systems with large numbers of English-learners were frustrated with the overall quality and availability of instructional materials. The Council and its member districts then collaborated to devise criteria to ensure that materials in both mathematics and English language arts support the needs of English-learners and reflect rigorous new academic standards being implemented across the nation.

“Los Angeles Unified is proud to serve over 100,000 English-language learners and over 130,000 reclassified students who enrich our schools and communities with their home language and culture,” said Los Angeles Unified Board Member Kelly Gonez. “But we know that English-learners historically have not had access to the same educational opportunities as their peers. I am so proud that, thanks to the leadership of Los Angeles Unified and the Council, English-learners and their teachers in Los Angeles and across the nation can benefit from these high-quality and accessible instructional materials. We have shown not just through our words, but through our actions, that we believe in the potential of all kids. Through our collective power we are helping every child in our communities to achieve their dreams.”

Hilda Maldonado, Senior Executive Director of Diversity, Learning and Instruction for Los Angeles Unified, said the initiative underscores the District’s commitment to providing equitable opportunities for all students.

“Our excellent educators are challenged with closing achievement gaps and supporting students who many believe should be relegated to less-rigorous courses with less-rigorous materials because they lack English-language skills, but nothing could be further from the truth,” she said. “Many of our greatest mathematical minds spoke more than one language, and our schools are committed to ensuring that our dual-language learners can speak the universal language of mathematics. This groundbreaking project is a step forward in that commitment.”

Community partners said the initiative will help put valuable new resources in the hands of teachers.

“This is the first national effort that we know of where a consortium of major school systems has banded together to drive market demand for higher quality instructional materials,” said Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of Great City Schools. “Our school districts have sent a clear message that they will demand more for these students and more for their scarce educational funding.”

“In our work to build a movement of EL experts, educators, and publishers increasing the supply of high-quality instructional materials for English-learners, we have heard from teachers and educators that the traditional materials they often receive are insufficient to meet the needs of their English-learners, and often neglect the rich experiences and cultural assets that these students bring to the classroom,” said Crystal Gonzales, executive director of the English Learners Success Forum. “Los Angeles Unified’s decision to invest in high-quality instructional materials is a step in the right direction on how they prepare ELs to succeed in core academic subjects, as well as how they support teachers to help students thrive.”