An iron-CLAD commitment to working with English learners

Candidates Reflect on a Highly Specialized Training at UC San Diego Extension

By Karen Schwanke and Jessica Ade, candidates, English Language Authorization Program and Morgan Appel, director, Education Department, UC San Diego Extension

English Language Authorization (ELA). Cross-cultural Language and Academic Development (CLAD). CLAD Through California Teachers of English Learners (CTEL). Many names for a type of highly specialized training that, according to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, addresses California statutes that ‘requires that every teacher who provides instructional services to an English Learner be authorized to provide specialized instruction for those learners. This instruction would either 1) help the learners to understand instruction that is taught only in English, 2) help the learners develop their ability to listen, speak, read and write in English, 3) be provided in the learners' primary language as English is acquired, or 4) be taught in a language other than English for those learners in a dual immersion program. These are more commonly referred to as English Language Development (ELD), Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English (SDAIE) and bilingual instruction (, 2013)’

The bottom line is that whatever name one bestows upon it, English Language Authorization may not only be required to renew a credential, but to maintain employment or to secure an interview for a teaching position in a public school district. In very real ways, practitioners have experienced increased pressures to complete the training and to do so in an expeditious manner. One might liken the experience to the annual physical—neither joyful nor dreadful, but mandatory and ultimately, quite useful. For the candidate facing the prospect of undertaking the training, quality and flexibility of delivery is as important as content. In other words, painless as possible, if you please.

In collaboration with the Education Studies Department at UC San Diego and sister campuses within the University of California system, Extension designed and continues to offer a cutting edge online program that is ultimately flexible for practitioners. The six-course, 18 quarter unit program is offered multiple times per quarter and can accommodate those candidates who wish to combine passing scores on the CTEL examinations with coursework. The long and short of it is that the Education Department works to meet the needs of busy professionals with lives outside of the classroom—and we in turn seek to allay their anxieties and scaffold upon their academic expertise and practical experiences. In real terms, this can prove a bit daunting—so how have we done? Two candidates speak to their experiences in the program. Ms. Jessica Ade offers:

My CLAD experience has been phenomenal. I really enjoyed my classes especially Culture and Inclusion. I strongly believe that it is very essential to acquire the clad certification and the main focus of my Culture and Inclusion class was incorporating students of varying backgrounds. I teach at Morningside High School—an inner-city school with a very diverse population. My Culture and Inclusion class opened my eyes to the various strategies that could be employed in a multicultural classroom. We as high school teachers in the inner city should be always better equipped with the right strategies to instruct students in a multicultural setting. I learned that awareness is the key. We as teachers have to be aware with what we are dealing with and be able to accept the changes that are undergoing in our classrooms. Our students need our time, our dedication and our devotion to be able to thrive in our multicultural institutions.

Ms. Karen Schwanke teaches physical education at Arcadia High School in Arcadia, California. Her extensive teaching career (35 years in the same district) includes science, physics, and health and also a class called Cross-age PE where 11th and 12th graders deliver a PE curriculum to 1st and 2nd graders 3 days a week. She presently teaches a class called Fit for Life that consists of weight training, video workouts and 10th grade curriculum activities, as well as a walking program.

Karen, could you tell us a bit about how you came to pursue CLAD at UC San Diego Extension and your experiences with the program?

My big motivation to seek out my CLAD certification was because my district was insisting that I get it, plus it will help my salary in my retirement which is coming up soon. I had been putting it off hoping that I could retire sooner but that didn't quite work out.

My main kudos go to this Extension program in how easy it was to sign up and get started. I signed up the day I called the director (who, by the way, answered the phone - a real person right away, a little unusual in this day and age). We talked about what I needed to do and he gave me the web site and I started the following Monday. No other school I contacted would let me do that. I could turn in my application and transcripts as soon as I could but I could get started right away - very nice! Also, the instructors were very accommodating in that I had to finish this program as soon as I could and they let me progress and finish, posted my grades right away - very helpful. Another great help were the program representatives at the Education Department - they were willing to go to bat for me in making special circumstances happen for me and I really appreciated that! Many, many thanks!

So many other teachers face having to take CLAD to secure or preserve employment. Any suggestions you have for them in hindsight?

My only word of advice is try not to take more than one class at a time, but if you need to do not pair Language and Language Development up with anything else. That class in my opinion was the most demanding. Good Luck and have no fear!

For more information about this article or online English Language Authorization programming available at UC San Diego Extension, please contact Morgan Appel, director, Education Department at or the Education Department webpage at


Posted: 7/19/2013 12:00:00 AM with 0 comments
Filed under: California, Clad, Ctel, Ela, English-learners, Sdaie, Teachers

Blog post currently doesn't have any comments.

What's your story?

Share your accomplishments, advice, and goals for a chance to be featured.