Supporting English Learners: Resources for Leaders


Stanford Graduate School of Education



This course provides a set of resources designed to support educational leaders in driving educational change for English Learners. These resources guide educational leaders through a process of examining existing systemic thinking and structures around the education of English Learners, using organized tools to look more deeply at practices for ELs, and developing or refining a plan to propel systemic change and shift practices. The overall goal is for participating educators to better understand ELs in their context, including their schooling experiences, needs, and successes, and use what they learn to design and implement higher quality educational experiences that build disciplinary knowledge and skills.

Educators in the course will have access to videos, readings, and activities that help them to understand the EL context in their setting, create guiding frameworks such as a vision statement and language development framework, and craft a plan to improve teaching and learning for ELs.

Where appropriate, the course will address state-specific frameworks related to ELs, such as the New York State Blueprint for ELL Success, or the California EL Roadmap, and how participants can use guidance from these frameworks to shape their efforts.



This course is intended for district, state, or school-site leaders, EL administrators, or teachers of ELs. There are no prerequisites for the course. However, we encourage you to take the course along with a team of other educators from your district or school so that you can collaboratively engage with these resources.


Course Authors

Maria Santos is the co-chair and Senior Advisor for Leadership at Understanding Language. She is the former Deputy Superintendent for Instruction, Leadership and Equity-in-Action at the Oakland Unified School District. She has also been a Mathematics & Science Supervisor at San Francisco Unified School District, and Executive Director of the Office of English Learners at the New York City Department of Education. Santos was recently named one of EdWeek's Leaders to Learn from in 2014.


Steven Weiss is the Project Manager for the Stanford ELL Leadership Network, a collaboration between seven small to medium sized school districts in Northern California focused on developing leadership capacity around English Language Learners. Prior to joining Understanding Language, he worked at the Quality Teaching for English Learners (QTEL) program at WestEd, where he was a professional developer and instructional coach for secondary teachers and administrators in urban school districts such as New York City, Austin, San Diego and San Jose. He has also worked as a K-8 school administrator, a bilingual/ESL resource teacher, and a high school Spanish/History/ESL teacher. Steven is bilingual in Spanish. He holds an M.Ed. from U.C.L.A., an M.A. in Educational Administration from San Francisco State University, and an M.A. in Spanish from Middlebury College.


Annie Camey Kuo is a Postdoctoral Scholar at Understanding Language/Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity (UL/SCALE). Prior to joining the team, she worked with pre-service and in-service teachers and international school leaders in supporting culturally and linguistically diverse students at the University of Washington, where she received her Ph.D. in Language, Literacy, and Culture. Her dissertation focused on the adolescent English learner experience with problem-based learning across mainstream content areas. Annie also holds an M.A. from New York University in TESOL and Foreign Language Education and a B.A. in Mandarin Chinese and English from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is a 1.5- generation immigrant from Taiwan and has taught ESOL at the secondary and college level in Los Angeles and New York. Annie's research interest is broadly around English learners and currently focuses on the student experience and problem- and project-based learning.

Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the timeline for this course?

This is a self-paced course, meaning that once you enroll and the course opens, you will be able to navigate through the course resources at your own pace.

Will Statements of Accomplishment be issued in the course?

We will not be issuing Statements of Accomplishment in this course. Future versions of this course may offer the opportunity to obtain a Statement of Accomplishment.

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