ESEA Distinguished Schools

Maples Elementary School was recognized by the National Association of ESEA State Program Administrators (NAESPA) as a National ESEA Distinguished School.  Maples Elementary is one of up to 100 schools throughout the country that is being nationally recognized for exceptional student achievement in 2018.  Congratulations students, teachers and administrators for representing Dearborn and Michigan!


District Parent Meeting

January 29, 2018

The EL Department hosted another district parent meeting.  Language and Literacy Trainers facilitated segments on strategies that integrated reading, writing, listening and speaking.  Parents were engaged and were excited to try the same strategies with their children at home.


Language and Literacy

A 3-day Language and Literacy workshop for NEW teachers in the EF Feeder Track was launched on Wednesday, January 16.  Teachers from Geer, Miller, Salina Intermediate and Snow attended.

The workshop provides a seven step process that creates a language-rich interactive classroom environment in which all students can thrive. Topics include instructional practices for students at a variety of language proficiency levels, keeping all students engaged, and creating powerful learning supports.  Strategies also focus on structured opportunities for listening, speaking, reading and writing.

Day 1 Handouts and Materials

Here’s what some teachers had to share:
“The most valuable part of today’s workshop was the part on deciphering WIDA scores for appropriate levels to get a visual on where students are with their language proficiency.  This will allow me to better my instruction for students.”
“Everything I learned today was so valuable!  If I had to choose one, it would have to be the accommodations I can do for ELs based on their WIDA scores…and how to pair AB partners.  Thank you!”
“The most valuable part of today’s workshop was making sure to include all students during every activity and making it imperative that everyone is involved in listening, writing, speaking and reading.  I will focus on the strategies provided and include them in my lessons.”
“It was a very informative workshop.  I was able to make connections to my classroom and how I would be able to optimize instruction.”  
“The most valuable part of today’s workshop was the sharing of strategies and practices that I can immediately use in my classroom.  I loved it!  I feel empowered to help ELs!”

District Parent Meeting

The EL Department hosted the first District Parent Meeting of 2018-2019 on Monday, October 22nd.   The goal is to continue supporting our district vision of establishing partnerships with parents and addressing our families’ needs.  Our focus this year is on instructional strategies that make connections between the expectations of school and learning at home. Our ELD Specialists recruited parents that were willing to bring back information learned to share with other parents at their child’s school.

The parents were actively engaged in four rounds of small group instruction led by the EL Trainers.  The EL Trainers focused on Reading Foundational skills that are closely aligned to the Michigan Department of Education Essential Practices for Early Literacy.

Oral Language Development – Visual Thinking Strategy

Phonics and/or Word Work – Frayer model supporting Academic Language

Guided Reading – Echo Reading and Dyad Reading to emphasize fluency

Writing – Expanding sentences with a focus on Parts of Speech

New Teacher PD- Culturally Responsive Teaching

Ameena Elder and Nadra Shami facilitated an hour long presentation titled “Culturally Responsive Teaching: Getting to Know Your Arab Students” to 55 new teachers across the district.  This presentation examined the mismatch between Arab home culture and US school culture in order to support the advancement of educational equity in the classroom. Participants developed an understanding of the cultural capital students bring and how implementation of culturally responsive practices can impact social and academic success.  Our department received positive feedback following the presentation.


ELD & Title 1 Meeting: Focus on Essential Practice 3

October ELD & Title I Meetings

Our monthly day of professional learning with the ELD specialists and Title 1 teachers was a success.  For targeted professional learning secondary and elementary are divided into separate groups.  The focus was on the Literacy Essential Practice #3 – Small Group Instruction. Some of the topics addressed included explicit instruction, fluency techniques and comprehension strategies.  We also discussed the importance of giving ALL students an opportunity to grapple with grade level text as some of our best instructional moments are in small groups.


Starting the School Year with Teaching and Learning

New Teachers PD

The EL Department welcomed newly hired teachers on August 14th with a full day professional development.  The professional development included planning with the standards in mind and writing content and language objectives.

Teachers engaged in a strategy

Essential Practices in Literacy

The EL Department welcomed ELD Specialists back by rolling out Michigan’s Essential Instructional Practices in Early Literacy.  The purpose is to “increase Michigan’s capacity to improve children’s literacy by identifying a small set of research supported literacy instructional practices that could be a focus of professional development throughout the state.”

ELD Specialists collaborating together ELD Specialists collaborating together ELD Specialists collaborating together

SIOP in the Secondary Content Areas

New secondary teachers actively engaged in an overview of Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) and Language & Literacy in a session designed for their specific content—SIOP for Science, SIOP for Social Studies, SIOP for Math, and SIOP for English Language Arts .

Teachers engaged in a strategyteachers engaged in a strategyTeachers engaged in a strategy

District Keynote – A Focus on PLCs

The district was fortunate to have Eric Twadell, Ph.D., Superintendent of Adlai E. Stevenson High School from Lincolnshire, Illinois as the Keynote speaker on August 23, 2018.  Dr. Twadell had an engaging presentation to support the PLC Process which will help us move from “Good To Great.”

selfie with Superintendent Maleyko

“Summer-Full” Learning

A Collective Statewide Coaching Collaborative

The EL Department Team attended the Collective Statewide Coaching Collaborative in Lansing in June.  The overarching goal is to provide ongoing professional learning and opportunities for collaboration for Early Literacy Coaches and Leaders.  Participants were supported to utilize the Essential Practices in Literacy and the Essential Coaching Practices to plan effective supports.   The intended outcomes also included developing skills for helping educators meet the literacy needs of every child in every classroom every day.

WIDA LEA Advisory Committee

The WIDA LEA Advisory is made up of two representatives from each of the four regions that make up the WIDA member states (Northeast, South, Midwest, and West).  Nominated representatives serve on the LEA Advisory for a two-year term.  Educators serving on the LEA Advisory Committee have opportunities to directly share input with WIDA.  I have had the opportunity to serve on the committee since 2017, when I was nominated by the Michigan Department of Education.  During the most recent  meeting attended on June 26-27, 2018, a range of topics were discussed.  The eight LEA Advisory members were presented with information from WIDA leaders followed by the opportunity to share their input in order to inform and support the consortium’s work.

AFT – ELL Educator Cadre

On June 28, 2018, Ameena Elder, one of our EL Trainers traveled to Washington D.C. to attend the ELL Educator Cadre.  The ELL Educator Cadre is made up of twenty representatives from across the nation.  Educators serving on the Cadre have the opportunity to provide expertise, guidance and raise awareness about the growing EL population across the country.  The Cadre members review AFT policy on the education of ELs, advice the AFT on special projects such as Colorin Colorado and help develop materials on professional development for educators who work with ELs in various educational settings.


Professional Learning Communities

The EL department attended the Professional Learning  Communities at Work Institute in  Lincolnshire, Illinois on July 30-August 1, 2018. We attend many engaging sessions such as:

  • Overcoming the Achievement Gap Trap: Liberating Mindsets to Effect Change We are excited to bring back our knowledge from the institute to the district.
  • English Learners and PLCs
  • Raising the Bar and Closing the Gap:  Whatever IT Takes in Elementary Schools
  • Protocols for Results Turning Data Into Information
  • Bringing the Four PLC Questions to Life:  Systems That Ensure ALL Students Learn
  • Unpack and Make Yourself Comfortable Answering Critical Question One
  • Living a Fully Engaged, High Energy, Well-Balanced Professional Life!
  • Getting Started: Building Consensus and Responding to Resisters

We are excited to use the gains from this learning experience to help build our schools and district into a results-oriented professional learning community!

Parent Meeting: Things to Do with Kids this Summer

The EL Department hosted another New Parent Meeting on Monday, May 14, 2018 to continue supporting our district vision of establishing a partnership with parents and addressing their families’ needs through school and community outreach.

The purpose of the meeting was to invite representatives from several community outreach organizations to share resources and support with a focus on Things to Do with Kids this Summer.  The information provided included:

Hype – Camps and Program offerings, Fadia Farhat

Hype Athletics Community supports the development of diverse athletic participation and competition, educational tutoring and literacy development, and social awareness including mentoring, counseling, life skills training and substance abuse education and prevention.  The facility includes a swimming pool, basketball courts, and a female-only gym. Flyers were given to parents that describe the variety of programs offered at the two Hype locations.  In addition, information about the SMART bus system that can provide transportation to and from each location was discussed.



Henry Ford Centennial Library Library Card Applications and Resources, Daniel Sczomak and Kristen Bussell


The library representatives discussed free resources available and what is needed to obtain a free library card at the three libraries in Dearborn.  Parents were given applications to complete and return to the library. Daniel and Kristen discussed the free programs and resources the library offers for all ages including;

  • Summer reading programs
  • Collections of books in Arabic and English
  • Monday and Thursday evenings ESL Conversation Circles for adults
  • Audio CDs for loans
  • Books that help prepare for the citizenship test
  • Magazine and newspapers in Arabic
  • Website Resources

Dearborn Parks and Recreation – Camps and parks with recreational playground programs, Erica Lyght



The City of Dearborn has seven community parks that offer vast recreational opportunities like organized sports, scheduled picnics and gatherings, and community playscapes.  The summer programs are taught by counselors who are certified teachers and certified college students.  Erica shared flyers and the website,, that list the various summer programs including; outdoor activities, arts academy, outdoor aquatic programs and a variety of sports programs.  She also explained the membership options that are available.



Dearborn Police – Community Safety and National Night, Corporal Daniel Bartok


Corporal Bartok encouraged parents to be engaged within the community.  He discussed how police officers in the community are there to ensure students are safe in schools, that they are highly  visible during significant community events, and to create an open dialogue with the community and their children regarding seeking help when needed.

The Annual National night is being held on Tuesday, August 27, 2018 from 5-8 pm.  This free event will feature fun activities like a bounce house for kids, a dunk tank, music, police equipment on display and a chance for residents to see various police and fire vehicles up close.  The purpose of National Night Out is to send a message to criminals that “neighborhoods are organized, working with police and are fighting back against crime.” Increasing awareness of crime prevention programs is another key element of the program.

Presenters share information with parents.

Summer STAND – Students Taking a New Direction, Hassan Ozeir

Dearborn will hold their annual summer STAND program.  Supervised fun,

transportation, and lunch will be provided at NO CHARGE.  Students are selected on a first come, first serve basis and fosters leadership skills, participation in community service, includes character building activities while having fun this summer.  The students will enjoy structured arts and crafts activities and then donate products to charities, team sports and activities, and performances such as art and talent shows. Hassan shared with parents the details such as;

  • Register on online and/or call number on website
  • Applications are turned in to Student Services office by May 31, 2018
  • Program runs 9-3 p.m., June 26 – August 2nd
  • Upcoming 3rd grade – 8th grade are eligible to attend



Colorin Colorado! Resources – Summer Reading Tips


We provided Summer Reading Tips for parents translated in Arabic. These one-page parent tips offer easy ways for parents to help kids become successful readers.


Dearborn Hosts MDE-Sponsored Workshop

The EL team engaged in a two-day WIDA workshop at ASC sponsored by MDE.  The workshop titled Scaffolding Learning Through Language  supports WIDA’s core mission to provide equitable learning opportunities for multilingual children and youth with diverse cultural and linguistic experiences.  Scaffolding UP signifies a shift from understanding scaffolding as being the routine supports that students use to seeing scaffolding as a set of dynamic practices in the classroom.

EL Team members working collaboratively to complete a task.

PPT Slide from workshop