RETELL Initiative in Massachusetts


Massachusetts RETELL: Rethinking Equity and Teaching for English Language Learners

Academic Year 2012/2013 will kick off the RETELL (Rethinking Equity and Teaching for English Language Learners) initiave in Massachuaetts.  The plan is a comprehensive blueprint for transforming ELL education in Massachusetts.

RETELL is designed to provide ELLs access to effective instruction and related supports. The training course leading to the "SEI Endorsement" is one essential component that will give educators a foundation of understanding, knowledge, and skills critical to effective SEI instruction. Ongoing professional development will also be required of all licensed educators during each license renewal cycle related to SEI and ESL instruction in order to sustain the focus on effective classroom practice. Beyond this coursework and professional development, SEI experts will provide supports such as coaching and professional learning communities to help teachers apply in their classrooms the knowledge and skills they acquire in these courses and trainings.  RETELL aims to improve instruction for ELLs through ongoing supervision, evaluation, and support for SEI teachers, and by the adoption of updated English language development standards and assessments through the WIDA (World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment) consortium.

Massachusetts formally joined the WIDA consortium in 2012. WIDA provides a rigorous system of standards and assessments to advance the language development and academic achievement of ELL students. The WIDA English proficiency standards and assessments were developed by national English language experts and are already in use in 27 other states. The WIDA standards promote academic language development for ELL students in four content areas-language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies-and thereby facilitate students' success in school. Of particular significance is that these standards align with the 2011 MA English language arts curriculum frameworks (which incorporate the Common Core State Standards) and have been embraced by professional associations such as TESOL and MATSOL.