In this episode of the Early Link Podcast, we speak with Dr. Anya Hurwitz, the executive director of SEAL (Sobrato Early Academic Language). Rooted at the intersection of research and educational equity, the program is an English learner-focused approach to education. The model includes curriculum, professional development, and technical assistance so that schools and teachers can better meet the needs of English language learners.

Dr. Hurwitz has been a teacher, school leader, and district administrator. She has a doctorate in educational leadership from University of California Berkeley and has been on the SEAL team since 2014.

Learn More About SEAL

SEAL is a powerful English Learner-focused approach to education rooted at the intersection of research and educational equity. The bedrock values are a commitment to further developing the intellectual and linguistic genius of young children’s brains, honoring the value and role of a family’s culture and language in students’ lives, and helping teachers cultivate the skills and mindset they need to become powerfully effective educators.

A 5-year evaluation of SEAL found that despite starting school with language and academic skills behind their peers, SEAL students catch up or surpass peers on all measures, from language and literacy to math and science. Major findings show statistically significant gains in language, literacy and cognition, as well as a significant impact on family literacy.

SEAL partners with educational leaders across California. The program is already in over 100 elementary schools across 21 districts, and in over 130 preschool classrooms within 24 preschool local education agencies state-wide, working to transform the system by providing professional development, curriculum support, and technical assistance for educators. SEAL is helping English Learners turn their home language into an asset.

SEAL provides a clear pathway for California to meet the vision set out by the comprehensive English Learner Roadmap policy. With 10 years of practice and research that demonstrates an effective model, SEAL fosters systems change in two ways: by continuing to transform more classrooms, schools, and districts, and by advocating for state-level changes that focus on English Learners’ needs.

Visit SEAL’s website for more information. 

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