Supporting Multilingual Learners and English Language Learners during COVID-19 Shutdown

As districts and schools take the difficult but necessary step of closing schools to slow the spread of COVID-19, supporting student learning at home is a top priority. When it comes to slowed academic progress, multilingual learners (MLLs)/English language learners (ELLs) are among the most vulnerable of our students during this critical time. Supporting our MLLs/ELLs requires that we consider their unique challenges to accessing distance learning, both in the technological and comprehensible sense. For MLLs/ELLs, especially those who are at the beginning proficiency levels, it is crucial that they have continued access to materials in their home language(s) to continue their literacy and language development. The recommendations below offer general guidance on what to consider as you determine how to best continue your students’ language and literacy development.  


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Karla Fernandez

Communications Manager

Karla Fernandez (she/her/hers) joins Ed Trust–West as a Communications Manager with over 11 years of experience advancing social impact initiatives.

Karla started her career as a teacher at Chicago Public Schools and UIC College Prep. After teaching, Karla joined United Friends of the Children to support LA County’s youth in foster care as a college counselor. Through Leadership for Educational Equity, Karla also served as a Policy Advisor Fellow for the office of a Los Angeles Unified School Board Member. She solidified her interests in policy analysis and quantitative research during her time with the Price Center for Social Innovation, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, and the USC Presidential Working Group on Sustainability. Before joining The Education Trust–West, Karla was the Associate Director for the Southeast Los Angeles (SELA) Collaborative, a network of nonprofits advocating for communities in SELA.

Karla holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, a Master of Public Policy from the USC Price School of Public Policy, and a Graduate Certificate in Policy Advocacy from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Karla is based out of southern California and is passionate about using data analysis, communications, and digital strategies for policy advocacy and social justice efforts.