Building on the Cultural and Background Knowledge of English Learners in Classrooms and Counseling Groups

Professional Development


The emphasis of the course is on helping all school staff to learn about resources such as picture books, videos, and websites that reflect the cultures and build on the background knowledge of the English Learners (ELs) they serve (or may serve in the future). Participants will learn about a variety of strategies that can be used to engage your ELs (and all your students) so that they can build on what they already know, as they develop their language skills and participate in both academic and social/emotional learning. We will also discuss how these resources and strategies can be used to help your US-born students to learn about the cultures and lives of their EL classmates so that your school and classroom communities will be safe and stimulating environments for all your students.

*For those who have taken courses with Alice Levine before, you should know that this course draws heavily on material from past courses: Meeting the Needs of ELs within a General Education Setting, and Teaching ELs Using Culturally Meaningful Books.

Audience and Grade Level

Classroom Teachers, Arts Specialists, Counselors, Librarians, Nurses, Paraeducators, Speech/Language Therapists, and anyone else who works directly with students in Pre-K – 12.


15 PDPs will be awarded to participants upon completion of this training, in addition to outside reading and assignments (as per DESE regulations). Note that these 15 PDPs will satisfy the ELL-related requirement for recertification.

Date and Location

This workshop is fully online and will include a 3 hour final project. Virtual sessions will be held on the below dates:

  • August 8, 2022; 9:30am - 4:30pm
  • August 9, 2022; 9:30am - 4:30pm

Registration Deadline: Aug 1

Cost and Registration

The cost of the workshop is $365 for member districts, and $395 for non-member districts.


  • Photo of Alice Levine

    Alice Levine, M.Ed., is a consultant to programs interested in strengthening their engagement of families. For 25 years, she has taught math and literacy to adult learners, helped parents build their capacity to support children’s learning, developed new programs, and provided staff training.

For more information, contact:


A maximum class size is set for each course and registrations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. If the number of registrations for a course exceeds the maximum seats available or is too low to be able to conduct a quality learning experience, CES will inform you of available options.

Course Cancellation

If you wish to cancel your registration, please submit a request in writing (via mail, email or fax) no later than 7 business days before the workshop’s start date. After that, there are no refunds or billing adjustments.

In the event that a course is cancelled by the Collaborative for Educational Services, we will notify you as soon as possible. Please be sure to provide your best email address and phone number so we can contact you. Although every effort is made to avoid last minute cancellations, if an emergency arises, we will do our best to reach you at the phone number and email address you provide. 

Inclement Weather

Any delays or cancellations are posted online at You may also call 413.588.5979 after 6:30am for information about classes that day. Or for Early Childhood Professional Development information, please call 413.588.5570.