Assets-Oriented and Needs Responsive Schools

Principle Description


Pre-schools and schools are responsive to different English learner (EL) strengths, needs, and identities and support the socio-emotional health and development of English learners. Programs value and build upon the cultural and linguistic assets students bring to their education in safe and affirming school climates. Educators value and build strong family, community, and school partnerships.

Resources Related to this Principle

Use these resources to help build your journey. Resource are specific to example element and example element.

This Self-Reflection Rubric can be used to evaluate practices at schools, districts, and county offices of education from preschool through higher education. Please use this rubric prior to submitting a practice to the EL Roadmap Example Survey. 

This report was written in collaboration with  Californians Together and Center for Equity for English Learners at Loyola Marymount University, The Appendix includes exemplary excerpts from LCAPs.

More Resources

Element Description

The languages and cultures English learners bring to their education are assets for their own learning and are important contributions to learning communities. These assets are valued and built upon in culturally responsive curriculum and instruction and in programs that support, wherever possible, the development of proficiency in multiple languages.

Explore This Element

Element Description

Recognizing that there is no single EL profile and no one-size-fits-all approach that works for all English learners, programs, curriculum, and instruction must be responsive to different EL student characteristics and experiences. EL students entering school at the beginning levels of English proficiency have different needs and capacities than do students entering at intermediate or advanced levels. Similarly, students entering in kindergarten versus in later grades. The needs of long-term English learners are vastly different from recently arrived students (who in turn vary in their prior formal education). Districts vary considerably in the distribution of these EL profiles, so no single program or instructional approach works for all EL students.

Element Description

School climates and campuses are affirming, inclusive, and safe.

Element Description

Schools value and build strong family and school partnerships.

Element Description

Schools and districts develop a collaborative framework for identifying English learners with disabilities and use valid assessment practices. Schools and districts develop appropriate individualized education programs (IEPs) that support culturally and linguistically inclusive practices and provide appropriate training to teachers, thus leveraging expertise specific to English learners. The IEP addresses academic goals that take into account student language development, as called for in state and national policy recommendations.

Start Your Improvement Journey


After exploring this principle, we suggest that LEAs select an element to improve in their system. Below is an example of an improvement journey focused on an element in this principle. Following the example is a link to a template for LEAs to begin their own improvement journey. This Needs Assessment can help LEAs select a principle or element to focus their efforts.

Illustrative Case Examples


The examples below were submitted by local educational agencies (LEAs) and demonstrate Principle One and its corresponding elements in action. The illustrative examples will be updated as new submissions become available.

Illustrative Example: Sobrato Early Academic Language Model
This example, from the Sobrato Family Foundation, demonstrates Principle 1, Elements 1.A, 1.B, 1.C, and 1.D; Principle Two, Elements 2.A, 2.B, 2.C, 2.D, 2.E, and 2.G; and Principle Four, Element 4.A, in action.

Illustrative Example: My Name, My Identity
This example, from the Santa Clara County Office of Education, demonstrates Principle 1, Elements 1.A, 1.C, and 1.D and Principle Three, Element 3.A, in action.

More Illustrative Examples