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ESL and ELL Success Stories

Agencies and programs across the country are using CASAS to establish comprehensive performance accountability systems, address core indicators of performance, integrate literacy and occupational skill instruction, and evaluate the effectiveness of ESL/ELL, EL Civics, and Citizenship programs.

ESL Communities of Practice (CoP)

Promising Practice

The purpose of the Communities of Practice at Napa Valley Adult Education is to bring teachers together to engage in collective learning, in order to improve student learning outcomes. These professional development communities target specific needs within the agency, and come up with practical strategies to improve the agency as a whole.

Agency Awarded: Napa Valley Adult School, 2011

Summary Description of Project:

There are three ESL Communities of Practice (COP) at Napa Valley Adult School, which are based on learner levels. The COP meet four times each year to discuss specific learning goals and effective teaching strategies. Goals for COP include improving CASAS scores, increasing learner transitions, and expanding reading strategies. Between meetings teachers read and review research, view relevant videos, chat with colleagues, practice techniques shared at COP meetings, and review student gains and outcomes. The program participants work in a collaborative environment that encourages sharing of expertise and a commitment to continuous improvement.

Evaluation Process/Results:

Since the COP were established in 2008-09, test scores have improved across all instructional levels, student persistence has increased, and teachers have greatly benefitted from the professional development. Performance levels at Napa Valley Adult Education have significantly improved over the last two program years, and both students and instructors report that the COP are successful in targeting the specific needs of the student population.

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