ENLACE Events

Families gather in a circle

ENLACE recently held its first Café con ENLACE of the 2018-19 school year. Café con ENLACE started last year as an alternative model to a traditional PTO in order to foster deeper and more culturally responsive family engagement and leadership within the school community. At this first event, we welcomed more than 30 family members as well as students and teachers to build relationships, engage in discussion and collaboration, and set a vision for our work together this year. Students helped ENLACE staff introduce families to Restorative Justice circles, which they use during the school day on a regular basis, and we conducted the meeting in a circle format. Families shared their hopes and dreams for their children and their vision for collaboration with the school this year, and the group decided that their next meeting would take place during the school day so they can come visit classrooms and learn more about instruction. We can't wait for the next Café con ENLACE!

Students collaborate to design a flag

This week all ENLACE students collaborated with their Advisory groups to design an Advisory name, motto, and flag that reflects their identity as a community. Some groups chose to intertwine the flags of their home countries, while others chose new symbols to reflect the values their new community shares. Now, each group is preparing to present their flag to other groups in school-wide Community Circle. This is just one of many activities that ENLACE students do during the first quarter in Advisory. Students start their day with 30 minutes of Advisory each morning, which is a time to build community, engage in social-emotional learning, practice language, set goals, and reflect on academic progress. Each quarter, students engage in Advisory activities that connect to ENLACE's school wide curricular themes. During the first quarter, for example, students are exploring essential questions about IDENTITY across Advisory and all of their classes.

Students playing team-building game outside

ENLACE students were outside last week doing some team-building activities as part of their new Yoga & Wellness class launched this year. Designed and led by ENLACE teacher and Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Lead, Samantha Curtis, the Yoga & Wellness class is one component of ENLACE's SEL initiatives. For the past two years, Ms. Curtis has applied for and received an SEL Innovation Award for Teachers. This award is a partnership between the NoVo Foundation, Education First and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors with the goal of supporting the spread of innovative social and emotional learning (SEL) practices in schools and districts nationwide. They received over 1,000 applications from more than 45 states, and only 12% of applicants were accepted. This award will provide Ms. Curtis and the ENLACE team with a $5,000 grant to build on the foundation of SEL practices started last year. It will help fund teacher stipends to form an SEL Committee that will strengthen ENLACE’s advisory curriculum and restorative justice practices and continue integrating SEL competencies into academics, purchase materials for the new Yoga & Wellness course, and establish a partnership with Panorama Education in order to conduct student surveys and gather data on social-emotional growth and development.

Students debate at Model UN

On June 4th and 5th, first-year ENLACE students traveled to UMass Lowell to participate in their final Model United Nations simulation of the school year, which is the culmination of a full semester's work in their World Studies class and a partnership with the United Nations Association of Greater Boston (UNAGB). The second semester of the ENLACE World Studies curriculum is built around Model UN. With the support of their teachers Mr. Donahue and Mr. Casey, students researched their countries, studied global issues, wrote speeches, and learned debate techniques as they prepared to tackle pressing issues as world leaders, including global pandemic response and climate change. For their final simulation of the year, they were hosted by Jason Carter - political science professor and Model UN faculty advisory at UMass Lowell. They got to debate in college classrooms and took a tour of the campus.

Screenshot of Teaching Channel video

This spring, videos of ENLACE classrooms were featured on The Teaching Channel. A camera crew from The Teaching Channel visited ENLACE last May to film classes as part of their “ELL Deep Dive” project, which features examples from schools across the country that are providing strong instructional supports for English Learners. The videos were released in two sets along with an accompanying blog post for each. 

 

The first set of videos focuses on how ENLACE teaches academic language to newcomers through engaging, rigorous content. It features the Leadership Seminar of US History Teacher Matt Clements and a World Studies classroom where students are preparing for a Model United Nations simulation on climate change. You can read the blog post, "Engaging Newcomers in Language & Content," and see the videos here.

 

The second set of videos focuses on how ENLACE builds a strong learning community for ELLs and a collaborative professional community for teachers. It features the Algebra 1 classroom of Keila Colon, an instructional coaching cycle with Ms. Colon and principal Allison Balter, and a cohort-wide Community Circle, where students presented their work to a packed room of peers and teachers. You can read the blog post, "Building a Strong Learning Community for Newcomer ELLs," and see the videos here.