English Learners Workforce Investment Initiative
By Savannah Lira, Program Officer
California is making a historic investment to offer transitional kindergarten (TK) to all four-year-olds by 2025. That means urgently hiring tens of thousands of new teachers and teacher assistants statewide in just a few years’ time to train and support an early educator workforce.
Early educators must reflect students’ backgrounds and be skilled in supporting students’ linguistic, cultural, and racial diversity. Six in ten California children under five live in a household where a language other than English is spoken. Multilingualism and multiculturalism are tremendous assets, and California history has taught us that if those assets are not centered, it will have devastating consequences for the young children who are the state’s future. Tackling these twin issues requires cross-division, cross-sector work at all levels of the system.
The English Learners Workforce Investment Initiative (EL-WIN) is working hard to tackles these issues in LA County and the small, rural communities within the Central Valley by providing philanthropic resources to California local education agencies and working in partnership to build pipelines of the very best universal pre-kindergarten (UPK) teachers. Administered by PVF, EL-WIN is a sponsored project of New Venture Fund, funded by the six funders that make up the Emerging Bilingual Collaborative (EBC): California Community Foundation, Heising-Simons Foundation, James B. McClatchy Foundation, Kenneth Rainin Foundation, Silver Giving Foundation, and Sobrato Philanthropies.
On November 14th, EL-WIN hosted its 2nd annual Central Valley Regional Convening at UC Merced to ask 3 questions:
- What does it mean to be a “multilingual learner-prepared (ML-prepared)” UPK educator, and what are the implications for our regional Central Valley partnerships as they think about recruitment, preparation, and early career support?
- How can we strengthen our UPK educator recruitment practices to attract and support UPK educators to become ML-prepared?
- How can we strengthen our UPK educator preparation and/or coaching to attract and support ML-prepared early educators?
The EL-WIN team brought together regional team members across six counties, funders, and thought leaders in multilingual early education to discuss, strengthening relationships and sharing best practices as they began to draft 2024 regional plans to recruit, prepare, and provide early support to multilingual learner (ML)-ready UPK educators, and identified supports and resources–both existing and those that the state or philanthropy might provide–needed to successfully implement those 2024 plans.
It was an inspiring day and made us hopeful for the early education of California’s young learners!
If you are interested in learning more about EL-WIN, please visit the Emerging Bilingual Collaborative’s website at https://emergingbilingualcollaborative.org/el-win.