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Cross-District Collaboration: Curriculum and Professional Development



Secondary English as a second language (ESL) curricula that address four levels of ESL proficiency and prepare students for the English language arts (ELA) curricula and state-mandated ELA tests are not common. A curriculum jointly developed by two districts is even rarer. Yet two urban districts in Rhode Island undertook such a curriculum development effort that not only created and field-tested a four-level, standards-based ESL curriculum but also developed a four-subject newcomer curriculum for students with limited formal schooling. This article describes this innovative cross-district curriculum development project and offers the design process as a model for educators seeking to align ESL standards with ELA standards. It also explains how district administrators pooled resources to provide cross-district professional development to language and content teachers on effective academic literacy practices for English language learners.