Imagine Learning schools in Washington receive ELA Award

Christensen Elementary is one of seven Imagine Learning schools to receive the Washington State Board of Education Language Acquisition Award.

The Washington State Board of Education recently awarded seven Imagine Learning schools with the first-ever English Language Acquisition Award. The schools to receive the award are Abraham Lincoln Elementary, Sheridan Elementary, Northeast Elementary, Central Ave Elementary, Christensen Elementary, Elmhurst Elementary, and Cascadia Elementary.

The board created the new award because they recognized a need for an English language learner (ELL) focus, and they wanted to recognize schools whose ELL students are making the greatest progress toward the goal of becoming proficient in English, which is a major factor for students becoming college-ready. Award winning schools were selected based on the assessment of ELL students using the Washington English Language Proficiency Assessment (WELPA). The top five percent of achieving schools were recognized for their achievement.

Students in Washington schools speak 187 languages. And Washington is not alone—the English language learner (ELL) population is the fastest growing subgroup nationwide. “Language acquisition is an indicator of school success and deserves to be acknowledged,” explained Board Chair Dr. Kristina Mayer. “We want to shine the light on what is working so it can be replicated across the state. The board will work with OSPI and other partners to support award-winning schools in sharing their strategies and best practices.”

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Somali first-language support added

Imagine Learning recently introduced Somali first-language support. The new addition makes it easier for even more students to gain language and literacy fluency.

As students use Imagine Learning and become more proficient in English, the language support gradually fades, preparing students for English-only environments.

Imagine Learning now offers first-language support in 15 languages: Spanish, Portuguese, French, Haitian Creole, Korean, Vietnamese, Mandarin, Japanese, Arabic, Russian, Marshallese, Tagalog, Cantonese, Hmong, and Somali.

Somali language support is just one of the many features included in the latest update, Imagine Learning version 13. Packed with new curriculum, iPad delivery, and the new Action Areas tool, version 13 provides language and literacy instruction better than ever.

Watch the v13 video.


Putting English learners on the map recently featured a fascinating interactive map that lets you explore the country by numbers. Specifically, the map focuses on population density.

However, there’s more. The map lets you focus on different demographics. For example, you can see where the highest concentration of Native Americans are located, or Pacific Islanders. Even more interesting, you can see how the racial/ethnic makeup of our country has changed in the last ten years, using 2010 census data. For example, which areas of the country have seen the biggest change in the population of African Americans? Hispanics?

So how does this apply to us as educators?

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The difference a year makes: Christian’s story

Last year I traveled to Miami as part of the video team. We were there to visit schools and meet the great administrators, teachers, and students who were using Imagine Learning English.

During our visit to Southside Elementary School, I met a first-grader named Christian. Christian had moved to the United States from Brazil only four months previously, but he was already beginning to speak English really well. Christian loved the Imagine Learning English program, and my jaw dropped as I watched him read stories on the computer that were beyond his grade level.

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