A look back at the 2021 WIDA Focus Schools

Each month, we have the honor of featuring a WIDA International member school as a WIDA Focus School. Read about the 2021 WIDA Focus Schools and what their stories tell us about how engagement with WIDA impacts teaching and learning across the WIDA International School Consortium.

In 2021, we featured 11 WIDA Focus Schools representing various geographic regions, including the Americas, Asia and Europe. These schools were also diverse across a number of other characteristics, such as school demographics, curricula and languages of instruction. Schools followed several curricula including IB Curriculum, U.S. Common Core, AP and Cambridge. The schools also ranged in student population from approximately 200 students to more than 1,600.

As we look back on 2021, we want to take a moment to highlight our Focus Schools and consider what their collaborative story tells us about what brings schools to the WIDA network and how engagement with WIDA impacts teaching and learning around the globe.

Many schools begin their relationship with WIDA through the lens of WIDA’s suite of assessments. They prefer WIDA assessments over other assessments for multilingual learners based on their understanding that it will provide helpful data to support ongoing language development.

"WIDA has brought us a deeper level of understanding about our students, their progress and their needs in their learning journey with us. The data that the WIDA testing provides us, within the context of our curriculum and our school, ensures that we are targeting student learning at the appropriate level." - administrator at Beijing City International School

While data and assessments play an important role in the impact of WIDA on schools, many WIDA members also indicate how our commitment to an asset-based view of multilingual learners, often referred to by schools as the can do approach, lines up with their commitment to equity. For example, the profile for International School Saigon Pearl states: “We are a part of the WIDA global network because of the asset-based perspective toward multilingual learners.” 

Finally, many Focus Schools mentioned their engagement with WIDA professional learning, including participating in new virtual opportunities WIDA has developed in response to the pandemic. During the past year, many of our Focus Schools participated in the WIDA Virtual Institute, the Stretching Your Co-teaching course on collaboration or the WIDA Global Community of Practice. For example, in the past year, 10 faculty members at the American School of Guatemala joined the WIDA Virtual Institute as a cohort. When reflecting on their experience in their Focus School profile, they wrote,“The cohort process was a wonderful way to participate in the WIDA Virtual Institute. It was not only well-supported through WIDA but also helped facilitate rich discussion and planning. This occurred throughout, both within and across program languages with a resulting initial action plan created by each team.”

Through reflecting on the stories of our 2021 Focus Schools, we are again reminded of our commitment to serve the needs of multilingual students and families and their school communities. We look forward to featuring more partner schools in 2022 and learning more about how their relationship with WIDA impacts teaching and learning in their context.

Thank you to all our 2021 Focus Schools!

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WIDA in Global Contexts

Learn how WIDA serves multilingual students, and how educators around the world use WIDA to improve teaching and learning.