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Laurie Olsen was the founding Director and now Strategic Advisor to the Sobrato Early Academic Language (SEAL) PreK-3 initiative. She has spent the last five decades researching, writing, advocating, and providing leadership development and technical assistance on educational equity with an emphasis on immigrant and English Learner education, language access, and rights. Working with hundreds of school districts across the nation, Dr. Olsen has designed, demonstrated, evaluated, and implemented powerful PreK-12th grade English Learner programs and services that support effective school-change strategies.
Dr. Olsen’s research interests include: the history and dynamics of movements in the United States for language minority education, effective practices in English Learner and immigrant education in preschool through high school, and equity-focused school reform. She has published dozens of books, videos, and articles on English Learner education, including the award-winning Made in America: Immigrants in U.S. Schools and Reparable Harm: Fulfilling the Unkept Promise of Educational Opportunity for California’s Long Term English Learners. Her research and publications on long-term English Learners have affected policies and practices throughout the country.
She was a founding board member and currently serves on the Executive Board of Californians Together, a coalition to protect the rights of English Learners. Dr. Olsen has also served on the California Public Schools Accountability Advisory Committee and is Co-Chair of California’s English Learner Road Map. For 23 years, she directed California Tomorrow’s work in K-12 education with a focus on immigrant and English Learner education.
Dr. Olsen holds a PhD in social and cultural studies in education from University of California, Berkeley.
In early education and care programs where children come from a variety of cultural and linguistic backgrounds, superdiversity is challenging providers to look beyond traditional approaches to supporting Dual Language Learners. This report examines a well-regarded model for preK-3 professional development. The report highlights promising practices and key adaptations of the model for use in in multilingual, multicultural classrooms.