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Past Event

English Learners with Disabilities Winter Virtual Summit Series


This three-week online summit series is designed to help educators support English learners with disabilities. Participants will gain an understanding of how to implement evidence-based instructional strategies using supportive frameworks appropriate for remote and site-based learning environments. Drawing on WestEd’s longstanding expertise in this interdisciplinary area of work, participants will learn how to apply knowledge and skills needed to improve student outcomes.

You will learn: 

  • Evidence-based instructional practices to support the language acquisition and learning needs of English learners and students with disabilities, including Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles, the Six Principles of ELL Instruction, and structured academic discourse.
  • The role of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) in providing instruction and intervention for English learners and students who may have a disability, along with tools and processes for distinguishing between learning disabilities and challenges related to language acquisition.
  • Effective and culturally sensitive processes to support appropriate referrals of English learners for special education assessment.
  • Effective instructional lesson tuning protocols to support English learners and students with disabilities in classroom and distance learning contexts.
  • Tools and strategies for distance learning aimed to support English learners and students with disabilities in virtual settings.

Who should attend?

  • English language teachers and specialists
  • Special educators and special education directors
  • General education teachers
  • Administrators
  • Related service providers
  • District or site teams of special educators, EL educators, and general education teachers

Dates & Times: Tuesday and Thursday afternoons for three consecutive weeks in January and February 2021 (January 19, 21, 26, 28 & February 2, 4). Sessions begin at 1:00 pm PT on each date, and all sessions are 75 minutes long.

Registration Fees: $199 for six content sessions, which includes access to Padlet Wall resources, and all ELSWD Winter Summit 2021 session recordings. The registration deadline is January 8.

Register for the English Learners with Disabilities Virtual Summit

If you have questions or would like more information about registration, please contact Silvia DeRuvo at

ELSWD Virtual Summit Series 2021 Sessions

January 19, 2021

Session 1: Distinguishing between Language Acquisition and Learning Disability
In this session participants will examine how both language and learning disabilities can affect learning behaviors and what tools are available to help distinguish between the two in both a virtual and classroom environment.
Time: 1:00 pm PT


  • Considerations of influence of language differences and disability on learning behaviors
  • Tools available to help with determining differences (WIDA, CA Guidance Document Tools, USDOE checklist, NCLD SLD Checklist)

January 21, 2021

Session 2: The Role of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support in Identification of English Learners with Suspected Learning Disabilities and the Pre-Referral Process
The role of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support in identification of ELs with suspected learning disabilities and the pre-referral process.
Time: 1:00 pm PT


  • Overview of MTSS framework
  • Tier I–Core instruction
  • Academic interventions– Tiers II and III
  • Behavior interventions– Tiers II and III
  • Considerations for referral of ELSWD
  • Culturally responsive principles
  • Role of student’s home language
  • Pre-referral data reviews

January 26, 2021

Session 3: Appropriate Special Education Referrals for English Learners
Explore examples, tools and resources for pre-referral processes to determine appropriate culturally sensitive referrals for English learners based on multiple data sources.
Time: 1:00 pm PT


  • Pre-referral processes
  • Cumulative file review
  • Extrinsic factors review
  • Classroom-level data (CBM)
  • Longitudinal intervention data
  • English language development data
  • Observations in multiple settings
  • Family interviews

January 28, 2021

Session 4: Implementing Evidenced-Based Practices for ELSWD: Universal Design for Learning and English Learners and Students with Disabilities
An overview of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) will be provided and a discussion of how UDL is the foundation for instructional planning for EL students with disabilities and dual- identified students in both the classroom and online learning environment.
Time: 1:00 pm PT


  • Introduction
  • Three elements of UDL
  • Strategies for face-to-face and virtual support
  • Instructional planning
  • Strategies for UDL
  • Resources and tools

February 2, 2021

Session 5: Implementing Evidenced-Based Practices for ELSWD: Academic Discussion
Learn about the critical role of academic discussion for ELSWD and how to utilize intentional academic discussion supports in the online and site-based classroom environment.
Time: 1:00 pm PT


  • Introduce the Critical Role of Academic Discussion
  • Research
  • Structuring student conversations in the classroom and online
  • Practices to engage English learners in academic discussion in the classroom and online

February 4, 2021

Session 6: Implementing Evidenced-Based Practices for ELSWD: Lesson Tuning Protocol
Participants will learn how to use a lesson tuning protocol to collaboratively “tune” a lesson to support language acquisition for English learners and adaptations for students with disabilities. Tools for virtual and site-based PLC practices will be shared.
Time: 1:00 pm PT


  • Introduce lesson tuning for ELSWD
  • Language objectives aligned to standards
  • Adaptations and supports
  • Protocols for collaborative professional practices
  • Video-tuning in action

Register Now

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Event Type

Professional Development


January 19–February 4th, 2021


Virtual Event


Administrators, Teacher Educators, Teachers