This excerpt from English Language Learners at School: A Guide for Administrators, 2nd Edition (Caslon, 2012) explores the question, "Regarding ELLs, whom do we advocate with, and about what?" Author Maria Josefina Yanguas provides a brief introduction to a chart that outlines the key issues that are appropriate for different stakeholders and audiences — all the way from PTA groups to the state governor, as well as key questions that will help guide preparation for these conversations.
With all the different stakeholder groups, one of the most important elements of advocacy begins with putting forth positive and accurate information about programs for English language learners (ELLs) in your school and district. All too often there are negative perceptions regarding programs for ELLs that can be countered with a school visit or a school report. Therefore, whenever there is an opportunity to showcase ELL students in a school, not only should notices be sent to the parents, school officials, and school board members, they should also go to other groups in the community, including the media, local elected officials, and local business and community groups.
Any follow-up reports about such events or additional documents that describe the academic progress and other accomplishments of ELL students (including those accomplishments not easily measured by standardized tests but that may be socio-affective in nature, e.g., outstanding parental involvement at different events, former ELLs becoming teachers in the school district,) should also be sent to these different stakeholder groups. Such reports need not be long and elaborate but rather brief and to the point.
Table 8.1 lists the various stakeholders and the most crucial information administrators need to obtain about them, as well as the information stakeholders might be most interested in.