Calling secondary teachers of emergent bilingual students

Secondary teachers who teach sheltered or English-as-a-second-language courses will have the opportunity to participate in a paid teacher leadership cohort offered through the Dual Language ESL Department over the 2023-2024 fall and spring semester. 

The 2023-2024 ESL Teacher Leadership Cohort has space for approximately 10 to 15 teachers selected from a pool of districtwide candidates who meet the selection criteria. 

The purpose of the ESL Teacher Leadership Cohort is two-fold—to assist teachers in developing action research projects in their classroom and to build instructional capacity to support the academic, linguistic and social needs of emergent bilingual learners, said Stephen Button, instructional specialist in the Dual Language ESL Department.  

The ESL Teacher Leadership Cohort will meet virtually on a monthly basis on Saturday mornings. Daren Stark, supervisor in the Dual Language ESL Department, said cohort members will be approaching professional development from a different perspective.

“Rather than teachers coming in and being given information, teachers are coming in and using their expertise and their professional knowledge and skills to create information and share it with their campuses,” he said. 

According to Stark, the initial session will focus on what teacher action research is. Cohort participants will identify a focus area where their students are struggling, and over several meetings, they will try different approaches and strategies to address it. The ESL Leadership Cohort members will later share their findings with a districtwide audience as part of the 2024 ESL Summer Institute.

Stark said learning to identify problems and solutions is an empowering process.  

“It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, and everything can seem out of your control, especially if you are a new or less experienced teacher,” he said. 

Walt Shields, a coordinator in the Dual Language ESL Department and ESL Leadership Cohort lead, is a former teacher who participated in the cohort the last couple of years and said it helped him in the daily practice in the classroom. 

“It strengthened my presentation skills and gave me an opportunity to network across schools with people who were in the same line of work, who were facing the same kind of challenges,” Shields said. “We were able to continue to grow together even after the training was over.”

Teachers interested in finding out more about the cohort can attend a virtual information session at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 5. To learn more about the ESL Leadership Cohort and to express interest about the Oct. 5 information session, fill out this form or send an email to You can also scan the QR code that directs you to the form. 

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