[semester equivalent = 2.00 credits]



Stacey Shaw



Educators of English language learners (ELLs) are important advocates for their students. Whether you are a regular classroom teacher with ELL students in your class, or an ELL specialist, you have an important role in understanding the needs of English language learners and in helping to create a school environment that supports their academic and social success. This course will illustrate the unique needs and common challenges for ELL’s and offer concise strategies for becoming an advocate for ELL’s at both the classroom and school building level.  This course is appropriate for personnel at all grades, K-12 including teachers, para-educators, counselors, and other support people.

Required Text: Advocating for English Learners: A Guide for Educators, 2014, by Diane Staehr Fenner. Corwin, ISBN: 978-1-4522-5769-3.  Available for approximately $23.00 from

LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon completion of this course, participants will have:

  1. Understand the need for advocacy for English Language Learners.
  2. Learn how teachers can collaborate to expand advocacy for ELL’s.
  3. Learn how to increase family involvement for ELL success.
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of specific strategies for ELL advocacy.
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of current research in ELL education.
  6. Evaluate assessment, instruction, and educational environments for ELL success.

Completion of all specified assignments is required for issuance of hours or credit.  The Heritage Institute does not award partial credit. 


Completing the basic assignments (Section A. Information Acquisition) for this course automatically earns participant’s their choice of CEUs (Continuing Education Units), or Washington State Clock Hours or Oregon PDUs. The Heritage Institute offers CEUs and is an approved provider of Washington State Clock Hours and Oregon PDUs.



Continuing Education Quarter credits are awarded by Antioch University Seattle (AUS). AUS requires 75% or better for credit at the 400 level and 85% or better to issue credit at the 500 level. These criteria refer both to the amount and quality of work submitted.

  1. Completion of Information Acquisition assignments 30%
  2. Completion of Learning Application assignments 40%
  3. Completion of Integration Paper assignment 30%


CREDIT/NO CREDIT (No Letter Grades or Numeric Equivalents on Transcripts)
Antioch University Seattle (AUS) Continuing Education Quarter credit is offered on a Credit/No Credit basis; neither letter grades nor numeric equivalents are on a transcript. 400 level credit is equal to a "C" or better, 500 level credit is equal to a "B" or better. This information is on the back of the transcript.

AUS Continuing Education quarter credits may or may not be accepted into degree programs. Prior to registering determine with your district personnel, department head or state education office the acceptability of these credits for your purpose.



Advocating for English Learners: A Guide for Educators, 2014, by Diane Staehr Fenner. Corwin, ISBN: 978-1-4522-5769-3.  Approximately $23 from

None. All reading is online.


Text, Advocating for English Learners: A Guide for Educators, is approximately $23 from



Assignment #1: Introduce Yourself

  • Introduce yourself in 1-2 page (250-500) words paper.
  • Include a brief description of your experience in education and interest in taking this course.
    Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Advocacy #1’

Assignment #2: Read Preface & Introduction

  • Read the preface and introduction (p. xiii & 1-4).
  • In a 2-3 page essay, briefly describe your prior experience with ELL students and two specific reasons why you are taking this course.
    Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Advocacy #2’

Assignment #3: Read Chapter 1

  • Read Chapter 1 (pgs. 5-24).
  • Write a reflection paper of 2-4 pages on this chapter that responds to these two questions:
  • What are some of the reasons that ELL’s may need advocacy in the school environment?
  • What are two areas that can be thought of as a strength of ELL students, rather than a deficit?  
    Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Advocacy #3’

Assignment #4: Read Chapter 2

  • Read Chapter 2 (pgs. 27-54).  
  • If you are currently teaching, reflect on the culture of your school in regard to a sense of shared responsibility for the success of ELL’s.  
  • Does the staff work together on a shared vision for ELL students?
  • What activities and suggestions from this chapter could be useful for advocating for the ELL’s in your school?
  • If you are not currently teaching, reflect upon a prior teaching experience with these questions in mind. Write 3-5 page paper.
    Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Advocacy #4’

Assignment #5: Read Chapter 3

  • Read Chapter 3 (pgs. 55-80).  
  • This chapter discusses advocacy from the perspective of ELL teachers, but it is very useful for all teachers for building understanding and empathy for both ELL students and teachers.
  • Have you ever been exposed to the bias of a colleague toward ELL students?
  • Have you discovered areas of your own bias or beliefs about ELL’s that may hinder the success of English language learners in your school?
  • Reflect on these questions and write a 2-4 page pager.
    Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Advocacy #5’

Assignment #6: Read Chapter 4

  • Read Chapter 4 (pgs. 81-107).
  • What are three specific ways that administrators can help to create a school culture that supports ELL’s and advocacy?  
  • Write 2-4 page paper.
    Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Advocacy #6’



In this section you will apply your learning to your professional situation.  This course assumes that most participants are classroom teachers who have access to students.  If you are not teaching in a classroom, please contact the instructor for course modifications.  If you are a classroom teacher and start or need to complete this course during the summer, please try to apply your ideas when possible with youth from your neighborhood, at a local public library or parks department facility,  (they will often be glad to sponsor community-based learning), or with students in another teacher’s summer classroom in session.

Assignment #7: Read Chapter 5

  • Read Chapter 5 (pgs. 109 -137)
  • What are four ways that you could increase ELL parent involvement (or encourage your school to do so)? Describe each strategy you choose and why it may have a positive impact on ELL family involvement. Write 2-3 pages.
    Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Advocacy #7’.

Assignment #8: Read Chapter 6

  • Read Chapter 6 (pgs. 139-167)
  • Use The Heritage Institute lesson template or one from your district.
  • Prepare a lesson that you can and/or will deliver in your classroom that addresses the needs of ELL students using one of the tools or suggestions provided in this chapter.
    Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Advocacy #8’

Assignment #9: Read Chapter 7

  • Read Chapter 7 (pgs. 169- 197)
  • Choose one of the two students described in the ‘case studies’ section from pages 191 -193 and answer all the reflection questions that are asked regarding that student.
  • Write a one-page summary of how you would advocate for that student.
    Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Advocacy #9’

Assignment #10: Implement Your Lesson

Assignment #10-A:    

  • Implement your lesson with students in your classroom. (If you are not teaching or it is summer, find youth in your community or another classroom to work with.)
  • Submit your lesson along with a 2-page description of what worked well and what could be improved.
  • Indicate your permission to THI by pasting one of these statements into your email:
  • "I do give The Heritage Institute permission to publish this Lesson Plan in The Heritage Institute Lesson Plan Library,, a feature available only to active Learners taking THI courses.”
  • “I do not give THI permission to publish this Lesson Plan to the THI Lesson Plan Library."
    Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Advocacy #10-A’

Assignment #10-B:
Write a 2-page article concerning an educational area of interest to you.

  • The article could be an opinion piece, a call-to-action, a personal story or combination of all of these.
  • When sending your lesson and your article, paste one of these statements into your email:
  • "I do give The Heritage Institute permission to publish this Article on The Heritage Institute Blog, a feature available to the public who access the THI website.”
  • “I do NOT give permission to THI to publish this Article on the THI Blog"
    Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Advocacy #10-B’

Assignment #11: (500 Level ONLY)

Option A)

  • Create a lesson plan and a simple assessment to evaluate a learning objective that is appropriate to use with ELL students.
    Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘#11-A’

Option B)

  • Create a short PowerPoint presentation (5 to 10 slides) that you could use with the staff and administration in your school building to help them to learn more about the importance of advocating for ELL students.
    Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Advocacy #11-B’

Option C)

  • Another assignment of your own design with the instructor’s prior approval.
    Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Advocacy #11-C’


Assignment #12: (Required for 400 and 500 Level)

(Please do not write this paper until you've completed all of your other assignments)

  1. What did you learn vs. what you expected to learn from this course?
  2. What aspects of the course were most helpful and why?
  3. What further knowledge and skills in this general area do you feel you need?
  4. How, when and where will you use what you have learned?
  5. How and with what other school or community members might you share what you learned?

Send to your instructor at their email address. Subject line to read  "(put course name here) Integration Paper"


Please indicate by email to the instructor if you would like to receive comments on your assignments.


Stacey Shaw, M.Ed. has years of experience as an instructor at the middle school and elementary school levels. She has taught all ages, from kindergarten through college in subjects ranging from English Language Arts and Social Studies to English as a Second Language and Spanish. 

Stacey learned a second language as an adult and understands first-hand the processes involved in second language acquisition. She has a passion for language and a track-record of developing highly successful ELL and Spanish literacy programs for second language learners.

Stacey received her Bachelor of Arts from The Evergreen State College in 1992. Her undergraduate studies focused on bilingual education, Spanish language, and Latin American Studies. She received her Master of Arts in Education from Prescott College in 2003. Stacey is currently working on her Doctorate of Education at Lewis and Clark College.



Goldenberg, Claude, Promoting Academic Achievement Among English Learners: A Guide to the Research, 2010, paperback 192 pages, ISBN 978-1-4129-5549-2
This comprehensive resource examines the research on promoting success among students who come to school knowing little or no English and translates current findings into specific recommendations for developing policies and programs for English learners. With illustrative scenarios throughout, this book gives educators and policy makers solid, research-based information about: 

  1. Using students’ home language in academic programming
  2. Teaching English and academic content simultaneously 
  3. School and district factors that affect achievement for English learners
  4. Socio-cultural factors in success, including the influence of parents and families

Colorin Colorado
A bilingual site for families and educators of English language learners. Colorín Colorado is the premier national website serving educators and families of English language learners (ELLs) in Grades PreK-12. Colorín Colorado has been providing free research-based information, activities, and advice to schools and communities around the country for more than a decade.

TESOL International Association’s mission is to advance professional expertise in English language teaching and learning for speakers of other languages worldwide.

The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations with promoting and protecting the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States. Through advocacy and outreach to targeted constituencies, The Leadership Conference works toward the goal of a more open and just society – an America as good as its ideals.

National Education Association
The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. The NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.

DSF Consulting
DSF Consulting strongly believes that all English learners, who currently number more than four million students in the United States, bring multiple strengths and talents to their classrooms. The nation’s growing English learner population must be an integral part of policy and practice conversations in education.