The Blueprint Fuels ELL Programs with Funding and Structure

The Blueprint states that the Accountability and Implementation Board (known as the AIB)—the body charged with overseeing the implementation of the Blueprint—“shall strive to provide equal access to a high-quality education with equitable outcomes for each Maryland student” and requires that principals and members of local boards of education have training that includes “an overview of ethical leadership directly tied to the school leaders’ responsibility to drive equitable learning in their schools.”

With its commitment to equity and billions in new funding, the Blueprint helps communities that have long suffered from under-investment and systemic and racial injustice by promising more equitable access to resources for English language learners (ELL) and for students who receive special education services. Over the next dozen years, hundreds of new family support centers, early education centers, and community schools will open across the state to provide earlier interventions and continuous, holistic pre-k–12 student, family, and community support. To do this, the Blueprint supplies additional per pupil funding for special education, English language learners, and students living in poverty.

The Blueprint is committed to recruiting and retaining more high-quality and diverse pre-k–12 educators across the board, including hiring more bilingual teachers, counselors, paraeducators, and support staff who can effectively support and assist ELL students and their families. The expansion of community schools means educators, health and behavioral health professionals, community programs, and other wrap-around services can more deeply address barriers to learning and engagement for ELL and other students.

The new law also provides transitional supplemental instruction (TSI) for K–3 students who score a 1, 2, or 3 on the English language arts or reading portions of the MCAP. This academic support comes through one-to-one and small–group (not more than four students) tutoring with a certified teacher, a teaching assistant, or any other trained professional and includes cross-age peer tutoring, screening, and identifying and addressing literacy deficits. TSI funding is in place until the end of the 2027-2028 school year.

To improve services and access to learning, the Blueprint creates the Workgroup on English Language Learners in Public Schools to collect data on the English language learner student population in Maryland public schools by school and details the services available to those students and their effectiveness. The workgroup must also determine the availability and effectiveness of school staff at every level—front office, school counselors, teachers and instructional assistants, and security (if present), and study the teaching of ELL and successful recruiting and retaining of bilingual educators in other states and countries. The workgroup is made up of State Superintendent Mohammed Choudhury or his designee, legislators, a multilingual educator/leader, an advocate for ELLs, and others appointed by the superintendent. The workgroup must submit an interim report by December 1, 2021 and its final report by December 1, 2022.

Finally: Data to Support the Needs of ELL learners and Educators

The Workgroup on English Language Learners in Public Schools must collect data on ELL students and their equitable access to learning. The workgroup will collect data on:

The Workgroup must also:

A Fight for Equity and Opportunity

The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future is a multi-billion dollar investment in Maryland schools that gives opportunity, hope, and promise to all Maryland students, no matter what they look like, where they come from, or who their family is. The Blueprint is an education plan for the benefit of all Marylanders—it will lift families in marginalized communities, build a stronger workforce with more diverse skills, and keep Maryland thriving as a place to live and work.

This historic investment brings to students, educators, and schools changes educators have long advocated for and
expands opportunities at every grade level with new resources, programs, and staffing. It all comes with an accountability system, the Accountability and Implementation Board, to ensure the funding and implementation upholds the intent of the Kirwan Commission’s four-year study and report, which is the foundation of the Blueprint legislation.