Summer Academy for Integrated Language Learning (SAILL)

What is SAILL?

The Summer Academy for Integrated Language Learning (SAILL) is a five-week summer program dedicated to providing newcomer multilingual students an opportunity to earn additional high school credits, continue developing their English language skills, and access socio-emotional supports during the  summer. Throughout the summer, educators with diverse backgrounds and experience collaborate and refine their instructional practices in service of multilingual learners.  Students are eligible to enroll in SAILL if they have entered the U.S. school system within the past 5 years (newcomer and developing English Learners) and have demonstrated emerging or expanding levels of English proficiency on the English Language Proficiency Assessment of California (ELPAC).  The program accepts rising 9th-12th graders. While students share the experience of being recent immigrants, their language backgrounds, ethnicities, years in the U.S. country of origin, and experience with formal schooling vary.  The SAILL program is an opportunity that allows students’ language skills and confidence to grow while earning credits in core humanities, math, and science towards graduation, and also provides teachers with a learning lab to hone their craft of integrating language and content instruction. 

Learn more about SAILL (Information about SAILL 2022, coming soon!)

Learn more about SAILL's principles, curriculum, student outcomes, how SAILL has adapted throughout the pandemic, and how students and teachers can apply to join our program.

SAILL's Five Core Principles

SAILL was launched nine years ago as EL Village and has evolved over time; however, five core principles have anchored the design of the program each year.  


  1. Collaboration through meaningful student to student interaction: Students learn language best when they have frequent, scaffolded opportunities to use language (Castellón et al., 2015; Garcia et al., 2011).
  2. Strategic language and content integration: Students learn language most effectively when it is placed in a rich context which they can explore with their teacher and classmates  (Castellón et al., 2015; Garcia et al., 2011). In the SAILL curriculum, language development work is not separate from the content work of the class, but rather a part of it. Language goals are included along with content goals, and teachers will be supported with curriculum to help the students reach these goals.
  3. Curriculum that is grounded in real-world application of learning: Educators work to empower students to see language weaving across content to gain a deeper understanding across subject areas and in turn apply that knowledge to understand their own lives and power.
  4. Supporting the whole child with wellness supports and counseling: SAILL acts as  a bridge between wellness providers in the previous school year to the next school year. In addition, in-depth analysis of students’ transcripts takes place over the summer by experienced counselors who then meet with each student individually to review and explain needed coursework.
  5. Educators strengthen and practice their instructional leadership skills through regular opportunities for collaboration within a distributed leadership framework: Recruitment and retention of an effective teaching cadre in service of multilingual learners has many challenges: teachers’ lack of experience integrating language and content, lack of formal training in bilingual education methodologies or SLA theoretical frameworks, etc. (Banegas, 2012; Fillmore & Snow, 2000; Gandara et al, 2005. Over the summer teachers take on leadership roles to lead collaboration and inquiry in these design principles to then be able to share their discoveries with their teams in the regular school year.


SAILL Outcomes

The major outcome of the SAILL program is the improvement of EL students’ on-track status towards graduation. This is achieved by their earning of up to 10 credits towards graduation. SAILL also aims to improve students’ English language proficiency, reading and writing skills. All students will demonstrate grade-level proficiency on an interdisciplinary project, as well as a coded video game. 

Based on research conducted in 2017 by Angela Sun through a partnership with Stanford University, EL summer programming demonstrated an impact on improved graduation outcomes for English Learners district-wide after several years of implementation. Prior to EL Village, the graduation rate for English learners was 69.1% and three years later it climbed to 74.1% (Gottesfeld & Fong, 2018). This initial research suggested a significant impact on student learning; however, the program will be examined with a more rigorous analysis over the next 4 years through an early phase grant funded by the Education Innovation and Research grant. This study will evaluate the implementation and one-year impacts of SAILL and document the program for replicability.

SAILL During the Pandemic

The global pandemic resulted in the city and county of San Francisco to enact shelter-in-place orders and the closure of schools. In mid-April, San Francisco schools began distance learning which continued throughout the summer and fall. As a result, SAILL was not implemented in the summer of 2020. Anticipating that summer 2021 would again be conducted virtually, a SAILL redesign team was formed consisting of veteran SAILL teachers, counselors, and program leaders to redesign  SAILL for the virtual distance learning environment. 

SAILL Redesign for Summer 2021

The SFUSD design process utilizes tools developed by the SFUSD’s iLab to engage diverse stakeholders in a process that is human-centered, creative, and collaborative in order to develop new solutions to equity challenges. To begin, the design team explores and commits to embracing liberatory design mindsets.

  1. Practice Empathy
  2. Practice Self Awareness
  3. Recognize Oppression
  4. Build Relational Trust
  5. Grow from Feedback and Failure
  6. Act to Learn
  7. Share power
  8. Cultivate Creativity

Next, the design team defined the redesign challenge, “How might we redesign SAILL for distance learning while maintaining SAILL design principles?” Central to the design process is holding the user experience at the center of the design. Therefore, it was essential to begin with a discovery phase that focused on the experiences of those for whom we were designing. To this end, design team members interviewed students and teachers to learn more about their experiences during distance learning. Designers also learned from analogous research and the limited research available on distance education. The insights synthesized from the discovery research developed four components needed in the new program design.  These components were developed as prototypes of a daily and weekly schedule, a wellness plan, a curricular framework and instructional leadership model, and a coherent and strategic approach to uniform technology integration. These prototypes were then pitched to a larger stakeholder audience for feedback. Further iteration and feedback was collected and a new model for virtual SAILL was established.



Five Virtual SAILL Redesigned Components

1. Daily Schedule

Over the course of five weeks, students will begin their day checking in with their advisory teacher and preparing themselves for the day of synchronous and asynchronous learning. The advisory period is followed by an  interdisciplinary first block of either humanities and science or math and computer science that co-taught by two teachers. The schedule includes a block of time in for drop-in Wellness where they participate in a guided activity, one-one counseling in breakout rooms, and a study hall option where they can collaborate with peers in a breakout room. After a ½ hour lunch break, students have their second interdisciplinary co-taught class. At the end of the day, teachers are available for office hours where any student needing support can log on with their teacher. Students will access all their courses and teachers through one google classroom that has fixed zoom links for their cohort and Wellness hangout.  Through the Google Classroom, the student experience will be streamlined as much as possible to ensure the cognitive load is focused on engaging in the academics or engaging socially. 

SAILL proposed student schedule

2. Staffing & Teacher Collaboration

In order to provide SAILL students with a robust program that serves them both academically and socio-emotionally, SAILL is staffed by 20 credentialed classroom teachers, two school counselors, a Program Administrator, two instructional coaches, a school social worker and a community health outreach worker. Funding for summer positions is drawn from multiple resources and shared by multiple departments including the College and Career Readiness Department, which supports all credit-recovery summer programs, Student, Family, and Community Support Department and the Multilingual Pathways in the Division of Curriculum and Instruction. It takes a village to grow a robust program that serves the whole child. 

During the SAILL redesign discovery process, we learned that teachers struggle with the isolation and challenges of distance learning on their own. The SAILL teacher schedule is designed to support teacher collaboration and professional development. SAILL teachers will have one hour of co-planning time immediately following each block of co-taught classes supported by an instructional coach to ensure that co-teachers are able to calibrate expectations, adjust lessons, and plan for the next day based on assessments of student learning. The ability of teachers to make instructional shifts and to collaborate around strategies that differentiate curriculum and instruction based on the learning needs of students is a sophisticated teacher skill that requires coaching, practice, and time. 

In addition to co-teacher planning time, SAILL has adapted the model of the Internationals Network for Public Schools (INPS) for distributed teacher leadership.  The interdisciplinary teacher team of each cohort  collectively plans for students' success. Like the collaborative group work model of instruction with students, the strengths and assets of each member of a four-teacher team are critical to the success of the team. These teams of teachers will meet weekly after school around three different priorities: student socio-emotional supports, instructional practices focused on writing and collaboration, and curriculum. Each member of the team selects a strand to lead facilitation of these meetings. As a result, the teachers experience reciprocal learning, and new educators of emergent bilinguals learn from more experienced teachers on the team. In the past 3 years of SAILL (excluding the Covid-19 interruption in 2020) ⅓ of the SAILL team is returning SAILL veterans. Some veterans, have moved into coaching positions at SAILL and in the district.  An outcome for teachers by the end of the program is increased confidence in collaborative planning, collaboration leadership and meeting facilitation. 

Teacher leadership opportunities and professional development and collaboration are two important workplace factors that emerged on a teacher working conditions survey. Researchers  have explored the impact of working conditions on teacher retention and found these to have significant impact on teacher retention and school performance. (Berry et al, 2021

SAILL proposed teacher schedule

3. Curriculum Design

The summer curriculum will be designed around students identifying the assets of their communities and advocating for the needs of their communities through persuasive writing, presenting, and data analysis. Students will write for and present to an authentic audience of community stakeholders at an interdisciplinary showcase event at the end of the summer. While in previous years, SAILL has integrated themes across content area courses, during distance SAILL, educators will co-teach an interdisciplinary block of either humanities and science or math and computer science. 

Students will engage in content designed to build their language skills while also reflecting on their own identities and their communities in the content. Math and computer science educators will collaborate to teach newcomers to code their own video game that integrates mathematical concepts and the logic of coding, which will reinforce learning of Common Core Algebra standards, such as creating equations that describe relationships, Common Core Function standards, such as interpreting functions that arise in applications in terms of the context, and the Common Core Practice of modeling with mathematics. A departure from the SFUSD curriculum used during the regular school year, students will engage in an integrated math curriculum that will build their knowledge of algebra and geometry.  This also provides newcomer students access to computer science that many students do not get to experience. In a shared block with humanities and science educators will guide newcomers to explore the history of their communities, analyze scientific data, and communicate claims supported by reasoning and evidence. While focusing on common core literacy standards: reading for information and expository writing, students will be able to apply scientific skills called out by the next generation science standards: identifying and researching a problem and designing solutions.

To support implementation of the curriculum and co-teaching pedagogy the virtual SAILL schedule prioritizes teacher planning and collaboration time immediately after each block instead of one period of common planning time a day.  Co-teachers will engage in routines around assessing student learning and calibrate on instructional practices that support strategic scaffolding. An inquiry lens grounded in regularly reflecting on student work will help students and educators know how student language skills are growing and allow them to use appropriate scaffolds.

Virtual SAILL Curriculum Coming Soon

4. Socio-Emotional Wellness and Counseling

Participation in SAILL over the summer provides students with a bridge that keeps them connected to school, continuity of wellness and support, and increases awareness of their journey  towards graduation. The bridge to summer begins in the spring, when school counselors receive their list of students that qualify to attend SAILL and begin recruitment.  The enrollment process is intensive and often requires one-on-one outreach and counseling.  The spring is an essential time for communication between the home school and SAILL. To ensure students stay connected to services through the summer, site-based Coordinated Care Teams (CCTs) will review SAILL rosters and note students who are receiving services coordinated through our Wellness teams like individual counseling or social worker legal support. In turn, referrals and services provided over the summer will be communicated back to the home school’s coordinated care teams at the end of the summer. This clear line of communication is even more important now  in the challenges of finding resources for families in this pandemic. In addition to wellness referrals and home school communication, the wellness team provides opportunities for virtual hang-out drop-ins to play games and connect with peers. In brick and mortar SAILL, students were able to take ten-minute wellness breaks in a wellness room, grab snacks, and have an adult to talk to as needed. In the virtual space, it became important to schedule these opportunities for socializing and wellness as students report feeling loneliness and isolation. 

During SAILL, bilingual counselors ensure that students and families are kept abreast of student progress by conducting outreach and communicating with caregivers and students directly. Before the end of the summer, each student will have learned how to read their own transcript and identify the courses and credits that they need to complete to graduate. 

5. Technology Integration

While the COVID-19 pandemic has created many challenges in education, it has also helped get technology into the hands of each and every student. With the ready availability of chromebooks, all students have had the opportunity to develop computational skills like typing and email. They have also gained familiarity with the Google Suite and Zoom. These new aspects of learning require explicit teaching and pose unique challenges to newcomers ELs, especially those students who may not have had access to laptops or computers in the past. There continue to be challenges to full access including unstable internet connections and hotspots provided by the district that have weak signals. One way to mitigate the overwhelm and challenges of technology is the plan to have only one Google Classroom and one zoom link for each cohort. Each team of teachers will share two cohorts of students and manage their consistent Zoom rooms and google classrooms. In addition, SAILL will work in partnership with local tech distribution sites and community hubs to offer weekly tech assistance and support. Lastly, teachers will be provided with Chromebooks so that they can experience the student interface and help them problem-solve and understand the student experience.

Student Registration

Student registration is coordinated through the Extended Learning team. Students should speak with their home school counselor to register.

Teacher Recruitment

Teachers interested in teaching in SAILL should apply through the Empower SF portal or reach out to Program Administrator Jan Bautista for more information,