The current pandemic has highlighted the opportunity gaps experienced by English Learners as well as students from families experiencing economic hardship and other minoritized groups. In addition, the crisis has established the need for schools to reinvent education in a format that takes full advantage of virtual and online resources as well as focusing on a personal touch and services tailored to the needs of all students. How do educators navigate the current demands? What needs to be prioritized in order for all students to thrive in the new global paradigm? What to keep? What to toss? This presentation will address the changes that need to be considered when educating English Learners in the new reality that American education faces. Three focus areas will be discussed: Access, Assets, and Agency. Exploring these topics and reflecting on how each informs and enhances the other will provide a workable framework where English learners will reach their potential.
Dr. Margarita P. Pinkos currently serves as Assistant Superintendent - Global Education and Community Outreach for the School District of Palm Beach County, where she focuses on supporting district partnerships and building relationships that support the District’s mission to develop globally competent students equipped to succeed in the 21st Century. She is an educational leader whose remarkable 30-year career has been dedicated to building the capacity of students and families, and the educators who serve them. Her professional journey started in 1984 as an elementary school ESOL teacher and includes service as a school principal and district level executive in the School District of Palm Beach County, Florida- the 11th largest public school system in the United States. Pinkos’ path as an educator has taken her from principal of a small agricultural community’s elementary school to traveling nationally and internationally to share exemplary practices and research-based strategies with other educators. In 1993, at Gove Elementary School in Belle Glade, Florida, she implemented the district’s first Dual Language program, transforming the school’s linguistically diverse and previously failing student population into a high-performing, bilingual, bi-literate school within two years. That program has mushroomed throughout more than 20 schools in the South Florida school district, replicating academic success everywhere the program is being conducted with fidelity to the frameworks. One career distinction is Dr. Pinkos’ White House appointment as assistant deputy secretary and director of the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) in the United States Department of Education (USDOE) where she worked with state and local education systems across the country to support high quality instructional programs for linguistically and culturally diverse students. In 2009, she returned to Palm Beach County from Washington, D.C. resuming her leadership as executive director of the Multicultural Education Department. She continues to be active in National and State organizations, currently serving as President of the National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE).