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Best Practices to Support Emergent Bilingual Students This School Year—and Beyond

Tuesday, August 30, 2022 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm EDT

Emergent Bilinguals in the Public Education System

Presented by Maha Abdelkader, Education Program Specialist, U.S. Department of Education, Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA); Ester de Jong, Ed.D., Professor, University of Colorado Denver; Alice García, Ed.S., Title III Director/EL Coordinator, Louisiana Department of Education; Ignacio Ruiz, M.Ed., Assistant Superintendent, Clark County School District (NV); and José Viana, Ed.D., Senior Education Advisor, Lexia Learning

Sponsored by Lexia Learning

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Back to school is a time of excitement and new beginnings, but it often brings challenges. Many of our nation’s multilingual learners are anxious about performing well during the upcoming school year, and many of their teachers aren’t sure how to best help them succeed.

Watch Dr. José Viana, former Director of the Office of English Language Acquisition, as he hosts a panel of educational leaders from across the nation to discuss strategies to better support our emergent bilingual learners’ academic and linguistic growth.

With the school year just beginning, now is the time to ensure effective student support is in place. Dr. Viana and the panelists share best practices and examples that can be implemented in your classrooms to improve the student learning experience, as well as student academic success. Viewers learn how to:

  • Create a welcoming classroom environment
  • Use asset-based approaches to learning
  • Engage families
  • Improve outcomes through differentiated lessons
  • Communicate expectations and language goals
  • Maintain a positive learning experience

This recorded edLeader Panel is of interest to K-6 teachers, school and district leaders, and ELL/ESOL specialists. 


Maha AbdelkaderAbout the Presenters

Maha Abdelkader is an Education Program Specialist in the US Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA). A native speaker of Arabic, she has great appreciation for the diversity, and funds of knowledge that students and their families bring to the nation’s schools. Maha has a master’s degree in Instructional System Design and ESOL from the University of Maryland-Baltimore County and has been working in the field of education for nearly 20 years. She began working with English learners as an EL teacher in Title I schools, then as a resource teacher providing professional learning and mentoring for teachers, before becoming the EL program supervisor for the Howard County Public School District in Maryland. As the program coordinator, supervising EL teachers, managing the program budget and Title III grants, Maha developed and led the implementation of the ESOL program improvement plan in the district before joining OELA in 2020.


Ester de JongEster de Jong, Ed.D. is currently a professor in the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education program area in the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Colorado Denver. Prior to coming to UC Denver, she served as the director of the School of Teaching and Learning and was a professor in ESOL/Bilingual Education at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. Her research focuses on equity and integration in the context of dual language education and preparing teachers to work with bilingual learners in K-12 schools. Dr. de Jong also served as the president of TESOL International Association from 2017-2018.


Alice GarciaAlice García has worked in education and been an advocate for over 20 years. She has taught English at all levels often with a special focus on English learners and is now the Title III director/EL coordinator for the state of Louisiana. She is presently working on her Ph.D. in English education at Louisiana State University where she is studying EL graduation rates. Alice enjoys reading, movies, running, and cycling when not researching EL strategies and trends.


Ignacio RuizIgnacio Ruiz serves as assistant superintendent of the English Language Learner Division for the Clark County School District in Nevada. He previously held the position of Director of the Language Acquisition Department in Tucson Unified School District in Tucson, Arizona. He holds a master’s degree from Northern Arizona University and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Prescott College. He brings broad experience in educational leadership where he has held leadership positions including assistant principal, principal, director, and his current role as assistant superintendent.

Ignacio is biliterate in English and Spanish and believes in providing equitable learning experiences for all students. In 2014, he was recognized by Luz Social Services as Administrator of the Year. Ignacio is the president and founder of the Nevada Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents, which began in 2019. He completed the McCourt School of Public Policy in Educational Leadership and Management from Georgetown University.


Jose VianaJosé Viana, Ed.D. joined Lexia Learning as a senior education advisor, bringing 30 years of experience in education. A former English learner himself, his career began in Miami, Florida where he taught English to speakers of other languages. During his time in the classroom, Dr. Viana strategically incorporated technology through blended learning in order for emergent bilingual students to fully participate and thus accelerate their proficiency in English and ability to meet academic goals.

Dr. Viana was most recently the assistant deputy secretary and director of the office of English language acquisition at the United States Department of Education. In this role, he was responsible for the overall leadership, management, and direction of education for English language learners nationwide. He also oversaw the development and dissemination of discretionary grants, research studies, and resources that guide education practice and policy to meet the needs of our country’s emergent bilingual students.


Learn more about viewing the live presentation and the recording, earning your CE certificate, and using our new accessibility features.

Join the Supporting Emergent Bilingual Students community to network with educators, participate in online discussions, receive invitations to upcoming edWebinars, and view recordings of previous programs to earn CE certificates.


Lexia® Learning, a Cambium® company, is one of the most impactful and highly respected reading-technology companies in the world. Founded over 35 years ago, Lexia’s research-proven programs help educators deliver personalized reading and language instruction for millions of K–12 students across the world.



Tuesday, August 30, 2022
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm EDT
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