Project ELEVATE: Ensuring Learning for ELs by Valuing Family Engagement and Teacher Effectiveness


Project ELEVATE is a capacity-building initiative to improve the effectiveness of educators who serve English learners (ELs) in prekindergarten through grade 3. To meet the growing needs of ELs served by our partnering district, we will provide direct, job-embedded professional development (PD) for approximately 300 educators and leaders currently serving ELs, including support for practicing teachers in completing their bilingual or English as a second language certification exams. Project ELEVATE aims to build leadership capacity for educator effectiveness through a training-of-trainers program for instructional coaches. We will collaboratively build a family-school partnership framework that values family and community engagement in the education process.

Goals and Objectives

Project ELEVATE builds on the research team’s previous work as leaders of Project ELITE, a model demonstration project funded by the Office of Special Education Programs.

The goals of Project ELEVATE are to (1) improve EL educator effectiveness through the development and delivery of a PD program, (2) strengthen home-school literacy partnerships with families of ELs, and (3) build capacity for improved educator effectiveness for ELs through sustained district/school educator leadership.

Seven objectives align with the project goals: (1) develop the PD course curriculum and pilot practices with educators in year 1; (2) recruit three cohorts of teachers across project years 2–4, including educators completing certification; (3) test the ELEVATE PD model and intervention through a rigorous impact evaluation; (4) develop the home-school literacy component; (5) recruit a cadre of 26 instructional leaders across campuses to participate in a training-of-trainers program; (6) create demonstration classrooms for peer observation and video modeling; and (7) develop, share, and disseminate practices in the instruction and increased academic achievement of ELs for future replication.

Timeline and Major Activities

Project ELEVATE will work in partnership with Hays Consolidated Independent School District (CISD) to design and deliver PD to educators and instructional coaches who serve ELs in prekindergarten through grade 3. In Year 1, ELEVATE researchers will collaborate with practicing professionals in Hays CISD to develop, pilot, and refine components of the PD model. During years 2–4, three cohorts of teachers and instructional coaches will complete the PD program. Year 5 will focus on model sustainability. Through the 5 years of the project, ELEVATE researchers will work with Hays CISD leaders and educators, along with a community partner, to collaboratively develop and implement a family-school partnership framework.

For additional information and project updates, please visit