Managing Multilingual Growth with Robert Gouthro

In this episode of the ML Chat Podcast, hosts Justin Hewett and Mandi Morris speak with Robert Gouthro, ML Coordinator for Berkeley County School District. Gouthro discusses managing the rise of multilingual learners, effective programs, and supporting teachers. He stresses the need for systemic changes, better data tools, teacher development, and professional learning communities.

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Robert Gouthro: [00:00:00] From a program administration perspective, both at the district and the school level, asking what’s the best programmed service delivery model isn’t the right question. The right question is what’s the best program model that I can deliver at my school and how do I leverage that program model to maximum effect?

Justin Hewett: Hey everybody, welcome to the ML chat podcast. My name is Justin Hewett. I’ll be your host today. I’ve got my cohost here, Mandi Morris. Hi Mandi. How you doing today? 

Mandi Morris: Hey Justin. I’m doing great. Excited to be here. 

Justin Hewett: We sure had a great conversation with Robert Gouthro today. Robert comes from us from South Carolina.

He’s in Berkeley County school district, which is just outside Charleston. And that is a large district. They’re serving almost 6, 000 multilingual students there. And he brought a lot of just great ideas, great strategies. We talked a lot about the challenges of changing [00:01:00] demographics and their English learner population has just grown so much over the last five years.

Mandi Morris: And it’s really interesting to hear him talk about the way they’ve handled the shift in population in different levels throughout the school district. And I think it’s something that other teachers and admin will resonate when hearing this podcast. 

Justin Hewett: I did. I think so too. He talked a little bit about how our systems and the tools and the way that maybe we approach serving English learners and giving those students the supports and scaffolding that they need when it’s lower incident is very different.

When we start having a lot, when we reach a point where we, 20 percent of our students are English learners. And I just, I love that practical thinking, working through that, because so often when we’re talking about different ideas, it’s in a vacuum, if you will, it’s very theoretical. And today we got real when we got down to it and we talked a lot about it.

And anyways, we’re grateful you’re here with us today. I think you’re going to [00:02:00] really enjoy. This conversation with Robert Gouthro. Robert has been in public education for 15 years. He is passionate about working with special populations and applying high leverage strategies and lesson design to maximize learning for unconventional students.

He spent 10 years in the classroom teaching sheltered social studies for high school newcomers, gifted and talented, intervention ELA reading and writing at the middle school level, and various ML learner models. in K five before moving to district level program management, where he currently serves as the ML coordinator for the Berkeley County school district in South Carolina.

He has a master’s in TESOL from the university of Delaware, a master’s in history from Norwich university and a bachelor’s in history from Gettysburg college. Robert, welcome to the ML chat podcast. We are thrilled to have you here today. 

Robert Gouthro: Justin and Mandi, thank you so much. It is my absolute pleasure to be here.

So thank you for the invitation. [00:03:00] 

Justin Hewett: Oh man, we have been looking forward to this. I guess you and Mandi had a chance to get dinner as a part of our dinner that we hosted recently. Was that in New Orleans? 

Robert Gouthro: It was actually in Tampa, Florida. We were at the TESOL international convention, and it was just so much fun to be there surrounded by other passionate ML professionals from all over the country, from secondary, from elementary schools, from the university setting, just from all over the world to be there and sharing our knowledge and passion.

Mandi Morris: Absolutely. It was a great time. 

Justin Hewett: We’re excited to dive in. You’re currently the ML director in Berkeley County School District. If you don’t mind, tell us a little bit about your students, your department that you’re working with. And then after that, we’ll dive in and learn more about you and about your journey, if that’s all right.

Robert Gouthro: Absolutely. Berkeley County School District is a large school district outside of Charleston, South Carolina. We have 50 [00:04:00] schools and we’re pushing up on 40, 000 students total. We’re about 13 percent multilingual learners, so Don’t do the math on me, but that’s around 5, 000 students, depending which metric you are counting whether or not you count our recently exited or monitored or our bilingual students who tested proficient.

And we are a quickly growing school district. When I took the position at the district level five years ago, we only had 50 teachers on staff and we’re getting ready to have about a hundred teachers on staff. And that’s. Within about five year growth. And so we have students coming to us from all over the world.

Right now, Honduras and Guatemala are our large feeder countries as well as Brazil. But we do have 43 countries at last count or languages that were represented in our student ML subgroup. So it’s really a diverse, diverse group. [00:05:00] And it’s just a pleasure because you get to work with teachers and students in all different stages of their journey of both learning to acquire English and learning to work with ML students.

Justin Hewett: Wow. That is fantastic. I cannot believe you’ve doubled the amount of teachers serving your multilingual students in the last five years, 50 to 100. That is a astronomical growth. That’s crazy. We’ll have to dive into that some more. One thing that you had mentioned earlier is that the Berkeley County school district covers more geography or more landmass than the whole state of Rhode Island, which I loved.

I thought that was fantastic, but it gives people a perspective on kind of the size and some of the challenges you might face. I want to know who did the calculation to figure out that you guys covered more territory than the state of Rhode Island. 

Robert Gouthro: Yeah. I’d love to see that too. I’ve never done the math and pulled out the geographic information system at myself and done the math.

So maybe I’m spreading some anecdotal information that is maybe not a hundred percent [00:06:00] correct, but if you drive from one side of the county to the other, and you’ve driven across Rhode Island and I’ve done both frequently the comparison holds up pretty well, at least anecdotally. 

Justin Hewett: Oh, that’s fantastic.

I love that. That’s so fun. Now, I know that you’ve moved around a fair amount through the years and sounds like Berkeley County School District is your seventh school district that you’ve worked in. Tell us a little bit about that. What’s that like moving from one school district to the next? What brought you from one school district to the next?

And maybe some of your learnings, if you don’t mind. 

Robert Gouthro: It’s been a journey, and I tell anybody that’s a teacher out there, if you’re in education and it doesn’t feel like a journey, you take a look at what you’re doing, because there’s so many paths and so many opportunities in education, and I know some people are maybe satisfied, and they’ve been in one school and one classroom for 15 years, and And that’s amazing to me because I’ve never been able to do [00:07:00] that.

And I know some people who are quite happy with that. And I know a lot of teachers also who are maybe burnt out having been in the same environment, in the same context. And so part of my journey, so to speak, has been intentional. And part of it was just the fortune of circumstance. My wife. Is also an amazing woman and intellectual and leader.

And so we went to the university of Delaware together as well as did undergraduate together at Gettysburg. And she was actually about 30 years old doing a postdoctoral research in biomedical at Johns Hopkins university. When she decided, Oh, I’m going to join the Navy and go into their nuclear engineering power program as an unrestricted line officer.

So at 30, she gave up the academics. Life went into the Navy, went to OCS for bootcamp and a year later was driving destroyers and hunting submarines in the Atlantic. And so as a [00:08:00] result of that, I was a military husband. So we were a little bit like reversed on our roles. She was the military officer and I was the teacher going up and down the East coast and teaching in different contexts.

So that’s a little bit how that happened. So I guess that was the first part of your question. The second part of your question is what that has maybe taught me over the years, or what perspective have I gained from that? First thing I would say is that every school district and every school is unique.

And we imagine education as as this, maybe this undifferentiated or this monolithic thing, and we’re going to quote, fix education in the United States. We’re going to solve this educational problem. And the, even going from one school district to another on different parts of the East coast that were theoretically similar, the culture in the local community was different.

The culture and the leadership style of the [00:09:00] administration at the district level is different. The experiences and the pedagogical approaches that the local universities are pushing out and the styles of programming, it’s different in a lot of interesting ways and they’re subtle things. That you notice about distributed management of a school district versus a really strong central system.

So an example of that maybe is in school district X that I was at, we, we utilized imagine learning as a software program, and you had to do X number of minutes. And as a teacher, if your kids didn’t have X number of minutes in a week, the assistant superintendent was calling you personally to ask why you didn’t meet your minute target for that program.

Yeah. And in other school districts, every school is picking a different program that they’re going to use to support their MLs. And there’s a tremendous degree of freedom. And both of those have advantages and disadvantages, but it’s a drastically different context that you’re trying to work in [00:10:00] when you’re doing something like implementing a pedagogical program we’re trying to teach teachers to support MLS in district X.

If you can talk to that one administrator and get them on board for support, that every teacher is going to be lined up and going through whatever program you agreed with in district Y, you are very much going to be playing the role of salesmen and negotiator and having to go in and capture those key stakeholders.

One bill. thing at a time in order to create that change or that momentum. And I’ve seen both of those in the course of my career. And that’s really helped me understand from a, the perspective of a program coordinator, how to approach different circumstances. Cause I’ve been a teacher under a variety of different systems like that.

Mandi Morris: Yeah, Robert, thinking about having that different perspective. And I think that. Is I love that part of your story is going to the different school districts up and down the East Coast and seeing different systems and learning from those systems. And I wonder when you think about your [00:11:00] own system going from 50 teachers and M.

L. education specifically to 100, how are you connecting those life experiences? How are you implementing your learnings? And what does that look like for you now as a leader in a school district that’s growing so rapidly with M. L. students? 

Robert Gouthro: That’s a great question. Let me start off with an answer that’s not the answer to your question, which is maybe just a shout out to my people, is I love working with ML teachers or ESOL teachers, depending on your terminology.

They’re some of the most skillfully diverse people you work with in education, running the gamut from people who’ve lived overseas to people who are bilingual or were ML students themselves, to people like myself that went into education with this as a goal field. But they’re all interesting and they all have a unique journey that brought them to that place.

And so the first thing I go to when I’m growing a staff is I look for people who [00:12:00] love working with MLS in particular, and who have something in their, Background or their skill set that they’re going to bring to the team or bring to those students because it’s not your typical cookie cutter teacher position.

You can’t just open up an intervention program, no matter how well written or how well scripted and use it out of the box with your ML students. There’s nothing that you’re going to do that’s out of the box. And so you have to be out of the box as a teacher when you come into this role. And so we look for that.

So that’s the first thing. In regards to having traveled and worked in a number of different school districts, I think it’s really helpful to understand the perspective that teachers have when they come to school. The field of ML or ESOL, and I’m still going to use those interchangeably. We know that the WIDA consortium has gone to multilingual learner and our state terminology as well.

But a lot of our federal legislation and state legislation is still ESOL and these [00:13:00] other terms. So I’ll keep using those. Having been in a variety of. Teaching circumstances up and down the East Coast, our teachers come to us largely from different areas of education. For example, we don’t have a single undergraduate program in South Carolina that is an undergraduate program in teaching English as a second language.

And we also don’t even have what’s called an initial certificate in our state program. So like when you become a teacher in a teaching college in South Carolina, you have to go for a different field and. Add it to, and then add ESOL to that certificate. And so, all of our teachers are coming to this field having started with something else.

We, a few people, maybe New York has a different system in California and some of our high ML states, you can get a direct initial certificate like I did. Now where perspective is important on that [00:14:00] is that these teachers. are largely stepping into waters that they don’t know. And so you get a first grade teacher who’s used to running a first grade classroom, and maybe she’s had five or 10 multilingual students in her class last year, or, or sees the numbers growing up and has just realized how fun it is to work with these students and their families.

Or you have a special education teacher and they’re really good at differentiating instruction and working with some language barriers. based instruction but they’re tired of maybe the really compliance driven, focused environment of special education. And they’re looking for a place where they can be more creative with their instruction and their teaching.

And so they’re coming to ML. We have a lot of teachers who are older. So coaches, then they’ve been instructional coaches, they’re learning coaches, and they’ve basically finished off a full career. And now they’ve gotten ready to retire and they realized. I’m not ready. I don’t want to retire yet. And instead of coming back [00:15:00] into just the regular classroom, they bring their wonderful skillset in reading and intervention and building level coaching to an ML position.

And so all of these teachers have a slightly different starting point or focus when they step into an ML position. And It’s really helpful to be able to talk to a special education teacher. That’s coming from a big high school. I’ve taught a big high school. I know the program that you’re used to, or you’re working with a first grade teacher that’s coming from a small rural school.

I’ve taught in small rural schools. I know where you’re coming from. And it helps to make that both personal connection with the teacher, but also the professional connection, say, look, this. Journey that you’re about to do is different than the one you were on. And it’s expected to be different in these ways.

And it’s really helpful if you can make those connections with the teacher to help support them. Now that’s an ideal world. When you double the size of your staff in five, five years, you really can only be in so many places, but it’s still helpful to let them know that I see you and understand what you’re going through.

Justin Hewett: And [00:16:00] I can tell you’re a master recruiter, Rob. Like you just went through and connected everybody and how they can get into the ML profession. Like I, I love that. And I can tell that you do a really good job of being able to relate with all of these different educators because of your varied experiences, right?

That’s amazing. At the time, we don’t realize what our journey is preparing us for, but now as we look back and we think about all these different stops that you’ve had and the different experiences you’ve had, it seems like it has really prepared you well to be in this role. Where you’re seeing a growing, a growing demographic, a lot of change in your school district.

You’re having to go recruit a bunch of teachers. Like you’re used to change. You understand change and you understand how to go drive it and go put people in place to do that. Tell me a little bit or tell us a little bit, if you don’t mind about, about that demographic change that you’re experiencing.

What does that feel like? What does that look like? What are the [00:17:00] challenges that creates and what’s driving it? 

Robert Gouthro: So South Carolina is one of the states That has seen the largest percentage increase in its ML population in the United States over the past 20 years. I believe that the number is it’s gone from one the year 2000 to 2024.

We’ve had 2000 percent growth in the ML subgroup or demographic in South Carolina. And so that’s just been a visible impact, a noticeable change in the schools. I gave you the example of our staffing. Five years when I came to the district, there were still schools in our district that had not had a multilingual learner in their building before.

Because the size of Rhode Island, and we have a school all the way up in the northern part of the district that is a wonderful little school, but it’s almost like a one room schoolhouse. There is [00:18:00] one teacher per grade level in that school. And the principal, I swear, if they’re not doing double duty as the receptionist and three other things, it’s just a very small local school.

They have an ML, a couple of MLs at their school now. With the change, everybody is being impacted now. And that’s different than it was before. Five years ago, there were still schools that weren’t impacted by this. This growth 20 years ago the district had, I took over a position here from one of the ladies who was one of the original multilingual teachers in the district, when they started and there was a group of four or five that they hired as intervention set the district and they were traveling around to all the schools in the district and doing itinerant services to MLs.

I took over from that lady and now we have a staff of almost a hundred teachers. So in terms of the state. Berkeley County is not unique in this. We have several counties in the state, maybe five, that have just been absolutely [00:19:00] transformed by our multilingual learner population coming in. Now you ask, why are they coming?

I’m not sure. I’m sure the answer is a variety of jobs. We also know that family networks play a large role. And so just within our subgroup, we’ve changed from being almost. 100 percent Hispanic, Spanish speaking students to having a significant Brazilian Portuguese speaking minority within our subgroup.

And this change has occurred within about the past five years. Five years ago, when I took over the role, we had less than 100, maybe about 50, uh, Families or students that were Portuguese speaking, and now we’re pushing up on 800 and moving towards a thousand and that is, I think, just largely been driven by those family connections network.

So you can drive up Red Bank Road in Goose Creek right now, and you see the Brazilian churches and the Brazilian grocery stores and the steakhouses. And all of that work is attracting the families, but that [00:20:00] change hasn’t been simple. Even within our subgroup previously, the schools could just, if they were lucky enough to get a bilingual ML teacher, and then they just had that person working with families and doing double duty on the side because they were bilingual and they could just speak to the families.

Those teachers are now calling me in a panic saying, Robert, the, I can’t speak to my students the way I used to. What do I do? And. I have to say the answer is tools and strategies. It’s the same answer I give to all the other teachers in the school district is you have to know your tools and you have to know your strategies.

Even within our subgroup, the supports and the systems that we once had in place in certain places aren’t functioning that way anymore because the change is changing. 

Mandi Morris: So when you think about those shifts that are happening and you speak about them happening, even for your ML educators or your bilingual staff that before didn’t feel quite as overwhelmed or unsure about what to do because if the language was Spanish and they spoke Spanish, they felt like, okay, I can [00:21:00] do this.

What does that feel like for your programming? And how does that look different for you thinking about your elementary school through your high school? You have growing numbers that you’ve spoken to, growing staff. What does the programming look like for you and has that also needed to shift to keep up with the other changes that you’ve talked about?

Robert Gouthro: That’s such a good question on a couple of different levels. And when we talk about programming that hits so many elements, right? So we’ve got ML staff training, we’ve got program service delivery models, we’ve got curriculum choices, we’ve got interventions and supports. It really hits all of those areas.

So let me start. Step back and just start with the impact that that the diversity in this size of the district has in terms of just like program models and staffing. That’s a good place to start. There’s a lot of research out there on what are the most effective. Program [00:22:00] models for working with MLs.

And when I say program models, are we doing a dual language immersion program? Are we doing bilingual transition program? Are we doing home language maintenance? Are we doing sheltered instruction or specially designed academic instruction in English, push in, pull out others, all these different methodologies.

And, of course, there’s a lot of research out there about what program service delivery models are the best for working with multilingual learners. And, by, by and large, that research says that any program that strongly leverages students home language, growth, culture, and assets achieves better long term results.

So those are your your bilingual transitional programs, for example, or your home language maintenance programs, or your dual language. But in the real world, not every school district has the resources to implement those models. They require certain training by the staff, certain linguistic skills and resources and it’s just not practical.[00:23:00] 

From a program administration perspective, both at the district and the school level, asking what’s the best program service delivery model isn’t the right question. The right question is, what’s the best program model that I can deliver at my school, and how do I leverage that program model to maximum effect?

And I haven’t seen a lot of research out there to help schools and districts ask and answer that specific question. 

Justin Hewett: I want to jump in there and just say, I love that question, and I love that thinking, because, yes, in a vacuum, Maybe this is the very best model, or this is the best program to implement, or whatever it might be.

But what you’re saying, what I think I hear you’re saying is, when you look at your resources, when you look at the teachers you have, the students you’re serving, where they’re coming from, the strengths, the opportunities you have to account for all of that as you’re thinking about this, and figure out which one can you actually go execute the best.

[00:24:00] Cause that will effectively drive that change. Am I understanding that right? 

Robert Gouthro: Yes, absolutely. And I can give you a pseudo research based answer to that. So I’ve been pulling a lot of data from our state report cards and looking at different schools of different sizes and asking the question, how does the percentage of the school.

As a percentage of ML affect achievement or correlate with achievement in, in that school. So for example, there’s a school in South Carolina and they are only about 3 percent of the total school population is multilingual learners. And here’s another very similar school in a different split space that is only about 5 percent or 6 percent multilingual learner.

Okay. So on, on the lower side, if you will. And I know Through speaking with staff at that school that they’re implementing [00:25:00] a itinerant pull out model. The teacher rolls into the school twice per week and pulls the students out, does a little lesson with them in a nearby classroom or a little office, chats with the teacher on the way out, and then goes on and does that with the next group of students and then leaves and goes to a different school.

On the face of it, that doesn’t seem like that should be a very effective service model compared to all the different ranges of supports that are available. And yet, those two schools have some of the highest student growth metrics in the region. The students in that are showing better growth on their Access for L scores than other schools that have Eight ML teachers in the building and just a whole raft of what on the face of it looks like, but effective programming and supports.

And so the question is why, and that’s what we have to think about is why are those students doing so well? And so I’ve looked at that and [00:26:00] it seems like you, you can take schools and you can And I’ve done this. I’ve taken their school population, I’ve sorted them by percentage of ML, and I’ve sorted their student growth.

In South Carolina, on a report card we measure on access for L’s, did the student meet a value added growth target from year one to year two? For example, this is a very round number, but they’re expected to make 0. 7 on their English proficiency score on the WIDA exam. Access test growth per year. So if I was a 1.

0 this year, next year, I should be a 1. 7 the next year. I should be a two point whatever. And for all of the students that meet that metric, they check that students say yes, they made growth. And that’s the percentage of students that made growth. And that’s how we track our accountability in South Carolina on the school report card schools that have very low ML populations, let’s say zero to 10 percent on average are succeeding there.

They’re having higher than average [00:27:00] growth compared to other schools in the state. Schools that have between 10 and 20 percent ML population are all over the place, up and down, right? And by and large, our schools that are 20 plus ML. percentage of students in the school are not doing well. Those students are doing significantly below the state average in terms of student growth and achievement on the school report card.

That’s counterintuitive because I’m going to come back to that example of Mr. Fred pushing into a school two days per week and pulling some students out. Why is that effective? 

Mandi Morris: Robert, this reminds me of a really interesting model that we tried at a middle school that I worked at in the mid 2000s. And we had at this school at the time, the classes were gifted classes, gen ed classes and special education.

And this school had new administration and we were really playing around with the co teaching for special [00:28:00] ed. What does co teaching look like? What does an integrated model look like? And we also at the school was a predominantly free and reduced lunch school. We were having a lot of behavior issues, like a lot of fighting and bullying.

We started taking our students that were having the most challenges, both academically and socially in the classroom. Like I’m talking about students who were like throwing desks in the classroom, fights in the classroom, like really severe behaviors at the middle school level and putting them into the gifted classrooms.

And we had a one teacher in particular who had one like teacher of the year for the entire school district She was phenomenal Like when you talk earlier about like thinking outside the box and teachers that work outside the box That’s this teacher right and she was like, let’s try this model and the school Was it was fascinating these students that have been struggling so much in an isolated special needs classroom or even in mixed gen ed [00:29:00] classrooms when they were put into the gifted classrooms, they started finding academic success.

And that’s the only school I have ever worked at over the years who has tried that model. But it was this concept of if the larger majority of students are focused and on task and academically high achieving, can it bring up the whole? And I wonder if that same concept is somehow in play at what you’re noticing when you’re combing through the statistics in your own county.

Robert Gouthro: I think it is in some ways. And the key word that stood out to me in your story right there is that they had this wonderful teacher. That was really interested in working with the students and then trying this new approach. And I think that’s the key element in that formula is it’s not so much the approach as it was that wonderful teacher and their ability to control the culture and the instruction in the classroom.

And so this kind of correlates with what I’ve seen. So in those schools that are [00:30:00] low percentage ML schools, how many teachers and what percentage of the staff is going to be interacting with the couple dozen ML students. And it really comes down to one teacher per grade level. You can pick a classroom and say, Okay, Mrs.

Joy is our best first grade teacher, and she loves working with MLs. We’ll put the MLs in her classroom. And now the ML teacher, when they do their pullout or their push in, is working with one teacher, maybe five teachers in the whole building. Right. And all of those students are in with a teacher that really wants to work with MLs and has probably been selected by the administration because they have great strengths in teaching.

And that to me is, as far as I can tell, is why those students are being so successful in those low ML schools is because there’s a really close collaborative relationship. between the one ML teacher and the couple of really good teachers on each grade level. And even if they don’t have the exact curriculum, the exact program and X number of ML minutes or support, they’re still receiving [00:31:00] fantastic instruction in that classroom.

And the ML teacher is able to. to suggest strategies to those really effective teachers, and guess what? They do them, and they can implement them. And so the program model, would these students theoretically be doing better if they were in a dual language immersion classroom? Absolutely, they’d be doing better than if they were in that same model, but dual language immersion isn’t effective in that model.

And so those students are still outperforming the state average because they have good supports. Now, what does that look like when you move up a level? So now we’ve gone from five to 10 percent of the population is ML students. Now we move up and now we’ve got 15 percent of the school is ML students.

What does that look like in terms of the impact of the students on the school? Now you can’t have just one teacher being itinerant. You’ve got a full time teacher, maybe a couple teachers at the school, and you can’t just put the ML students [00:32:00] In one classroom on each grade level, you’re going to have multiple teachers on every grade level that are working with them.

And maybe you’re going to have first year teachers working with them. Maybe you’re going to have teachers that don’t want to work with MLs, or they’re still resistant to change. Because remember, these are schools that are going through change. A few years ago, they, there was only, there was one teacher, they were the ML teacher on the grade level.

Why are you giving these kids to me now? This is a change for the school. At that level, we see a huge degree of variability in whether or not schools are successful with their MLs, whether their students are over or underachieving the state average. And the answer comes down to is how well that school is managing its demographic change in their systems.

Because. What used to work, our old way of doing ML in South Carolina, that, that pull out model with one teacher on grade level, it’s super successful for what it does. But when the schools change, they don’t always manage that change effectively. So maybe now, instead of [00:33:00] cluster grouping MLs by level, so I’m gonna give Miss Joy all the newcomers, and I’m gonna, or a lot of the newcomers, I’m gonna give Mr.

Fred all of the advanced students, and And the ML teacher is going to have a point of contact on the grade level and they’re going to help that person. That person is going to serve as a grade level expert. And we have a cohesive approach to managing these students. There’s just a handful of randomly MLs in every classroom in this, in the building now.

And. There’s no cohesive planning for that. They don’t necessarily have a model in their PLC or their planning to address the MLs as a subgroup, because now every teacher in the class has three or four MLS and they’re all have different needs. So what happens in that situation is they just become invisible.

They get scattered out and lost in the noise behind the IEPs and the 504s and the behavior problems, because our ML students by large are, what’s the phrase for it, they’re pumpkins, right? They sit there. And they look nice and they smile [00:34:00] and the teachers think they’re cute and they nod their head and they’re not learning a thing.

That’s a result of the way that the school managed the systems change. 

Justin Hewett: It’s really interesting to think about a system that is great until it breaks, right? Until it, you, it’s gone too far. And now, and so then it’s a scramble to try and figure out, gosh, how do we handle this? How do we put the supports in place?

What are the different tools and resources we can use? And frankly, that’s one of the things that we’ve been really impressed with as far as Flashlight 360 is now a lot of times teachers come to their PLC and they’re able to listen to student recordings as students speaking, they can talk about the growth or the lack of growth.

They can talk about different strategies they’re doing, and now they have a common language around this. And because really you can’t have, I think today. And I think what you’ve really illustrated really is you can’t just have a system that is, we have a really [00:35:00] great teacher and it funnels through that teacher.

I think today everybody is an ELD teacher. I don’t care if you’re in middle school or high school or elementary. If you have multilingual learners in your classroom, you are also an ELD teacher. 

Mandi Morris: I really appreciate you, Justin, rounding that out, that our teachers, it’s making a connection to what Robert was saying.

Our teachers are a vital piece of this puzzle, is having teachers that can implement the strategies effectively, as you pointed out, Robert, and teachers that can make moves with students. is built on a teacher or really difficult to expan you’re pointing out about and changing to that. I w advice for other school d observations and your lea really clearly spent time combing through this data, understanding the data.

You’ve made some really interesting [00:36:00] conclusions. What are some observations you have that might be helpful for others in this having, if you will, some growing pains and how to address that when schools need to make that shift. And I’ve heard from other educators. They say we don’t have time on our hands because every year that goes by, that’s a story.

the student that we weren’t able to serve properly because fill in the blank. We didn’t have the resources. We didn’t have the personnel. We didn’t have teachers who were trained properly. How have you been negotiating that with your staff and in your role? 

Robert Gouthro: The best advice I could give to schools that are in the midst of this kind of transition is to really think about your supports and to understand that 85 percent of teachers in public education when they went through their teacher training received almost no support on how to work with ML students.

For example, in [00:37:00] South Carolina, most of our schools, our teacher education programs require a diversity course and it’s going to cram together. Probably 75 to 80 percent of the course is going to be about special education, and then there’ll be a couple chapters in a book about working with ML students.

And that’s the sum total of training that the teachers are receiving before they arrived in the classroom. A couple of chapters out of a book in one course. And that’s of course not nearly enough. And when you’re undergoing your systems change, how do you support teachers that don’t have the training?

And the answer is that. You can’t give them that training all at once. There are so many initiatives going on and so much in public education that unfortunately just pulling the whole staff aside for an ML professional development on the first day of of your teachers back after the summer is not going to be sufficient.

And so you have to give them the tools. [00:38:00] And one of the things that’s filled my heart with joy over the last couple of years is seeing actually folks just like yourself. Are we’re working on tools that are purpose built and custom made that there are mission driven by supporting ML students and from top to bottom there.

There’s something that we can implement. Progress monitoring is a big gap in multilingual education in South Carolina and in a lot of states. We use I ready. In our district, but we’ve also used whether it’s that whether it’s the reading inventory used to be scholastic reading inventory, whether you’re doing it doesn’t matter whether it’s star or what your metric is, none of those tools were really built or normed from M.

L. students were they and none of them really correlate to the main Metric that we use for student growth, which is their English language proficiency. And so thinking [00:39:00] back to my other example, if we get to our high tier ML schools, where 30 to 50 percent or more of the school is ML. My previous example was just like staffing and how you need to work with the teachers and the number of teachers in the building.

Now let’s move over to intervention and MTSS and tiered intervention. And now we’re, we’ve got a. population that’s 50 percent ML students. And these kids, when they’re struggling, we take them to the data support team. What data do we have? On these students to say, Hey, I need to differentiate whether or not Susie is showing normal growth for a multilingual learner, or if this growth is atypical and I need to differentiate that from Jose and.

The tools, to be honest, don’t really exist for that at this time. I think Flashlight is stepping up to be a great tool and we haven’t had a chance to fully implement that in our district, but I’ve looked [00:40:00] at it and worked with a few teachers on my team and being able to take an ML and say, Hey, based on their background, this is what they’ve made in terms of their speaking growth in the last six months.

And this is correlates with their reading growth. In the last six months. And what we’ve seen is that they are flatline on their reading growth. They’ve made no, no growth. Okay. That could just be them being an, a multilingual learner, right? Say we’re working with a sixth grade student and they’re taking the RI.

Well, they’re going to show, or the iReady, they’re going to show two to three grade levels below on that report for the entire year because they’re five grade levels below in their English learning skills, right? And even if they move from a WIDA 1 to a WIDA 2, they’re a sixth grade student, their English reading level is not going to go from minus three grade levels to minus one grade level in the course of that one [00:41:00] year.

So the iReady metric doesn’t tell us anything about those students. It really isn’t. nuanced enough at the lowest level for us to differentiate between the ML students and the growth that they’re making. So what we have to do is we need to correlate their reading with their speaking scores. All right.

If Susie, and I test her at the beginning of the year, and then I give her a WIDA aligned test around December, and I’m seeing that she’s made great growth on her speaking. And then Jose hasn’t. Now I look at those two scores. They’re both a flat line on the reading metric. because of the way that the metric is, not because of the way that the students are performing.

But now I understand that one of them needs some kind of more rigorous intervention, right? And that perhaps their lack of overall language growth is indicative of a larger need. Teachers aren’t going to be able to do that, though, unless they have the tools. That’s a really nuanced thing. 

Mandi Morris: Robert, I love how you’re [00:42:00] also pointing out and what I’m hearing from you and have experienced as a teacher is that a lot of those progress monitoring tools that show us reading data, they can sometimes show us accurate data for experienced MLS.

Like when we think about at the secondary level, you’re talking about an eighth grade student who’s been in ML education since kindergarten. Sometimes those data points can, in reading can make sense, but I love that you’re pulling out the nuance of when you have newcomers at the secondary level that those data points that we have baked into our tier one education aren’t showing us the data that we need and how we really, especially for our newcomer students at all levels, but significantly at the secondary level, need the nuanced data in order to be able to effectively create and implement meaningful instruction.

And I wonder if you could talk a little bit about the PLC models that you’ve implemented in your school district or are growing in your school district. And how is this [00:43:00] data part of that? 

Robert Gouthro: I’m glad that you mentioned PLCs because of. All the district models I’ve seen for change and transformation, effective PLCs, I think, is one of the most powerful tools that we can give our teachers.

I mentioned a minute ago that most of our teachers haven’t received formal training in MLs, in working with MLs, in ESOL pedagogy. And so, we can’t give them that. That one big PD at the beginning of the year, I have schools. Oh, Robert, can you come in for a half day on Wednesday before the start of the school year?

And we’ll give the teachers a shot in the arm of ML pedagogy and really buff them up. The answer is yeah, of course I’ll come on. I’ll never turn down an opportunity to work with teachers. It’s one of my favorite things, but what are your goals in doing that? Is your goal that when I walk away at the end of that day that your teachers and staff will have all the tools and knowledge and not only that will apply it in their professional teaching practice [00:44:00] in December based on that one meeting?

And the answer is of course not. That’s ridiculous. That’s not going to happen. We know years of research on professional development tells us that for it to be effective, it needs to be ongoing and embedded. It has to be a part of the teacher’s daily job so that they have, they see a problem. They discuss it, they come up with a solution, they implement the solution, they see how it worked, they iterate, they get some help if it didn’t work, and then they keep going through that process over and over again, not as a separate thing, but as a part of their daily teaching.

Justin Hewett: This sounds a lot like the, like formative assessment. 

Robert Gouthro: It’s a lot like formative assessment. It’s funny that the parallels between our students learning and our teachers learning are really profound, right? So we have to be students of our own teaching and we have to be students of our students learning.

And it’s really hard to do that in isolation. And again, through no fault of their own, I’m never going to rag on teachers. They have one of the toughest jobs in the world. [00:45:00] Through no fault of their own, they came through a system that didn’t prepare them to work with the students they currently have. And they need a professional development model that’s going to help them with that.

And it’s PLCs, Professional Learning Communities, I think, are one of the answers. When I come in at the beginning of the year on that Wednesday, and I’m at the elementary school, my goal isn’t going to be to impart knowledge. All of my technical knowledge about MLs and grading practices to those teachers.

My goal in that mission is going to be to pump those teachers up, to make them excited about working with ML students to give them a couple of big, simple concepts that really open their eyes to the kinds of questions that they should be asking during the course of the school year. And then, also to sell the fact that, uh, Anytime that you spend with me or some of my staff members in professional development or settings is going to be high value, high leverage time.

I’m not going to walk in and say, Oh, have you used a KWL chart? [00:46:00] You’ve used that tool for years. It’s not the answer that you need. And so that’s going to be my goal. The real learning is going to happen when you, we’re two weeks in and you’re planning unit three for the MLs, and you’ve finally realized that Jose has been sitting there for three weeks, and he’s smiling, and he’s cute, and he seems to be really happy to be there, but he hasn’t learned a thing yet this year.

And you go, okay, I’m mandated by our district or state program to use this particular. Text and this particular literacy block model, how do I meet Jose’s needs in that situation? And really you need to sit down with the teachers in that planning and say, okay, let’s look at what reading are you going to do?

Okay, let’s look, here’s what strategy you’re going to use and give them a simple strategy. And that’s where the learning happens. 

Justin Hewett: And I think you’re right. I think you’re exactly right, Rob. And it makes me think about Simon Sinek has written a number of books. One of them is Start With Why. And I think there’s just a tremendous amount of value.

In the title of that [00:47:00] book, you don’t even have to read it. You just need the title, right? Just start with why, but that’s what you’re doing in that situation on that Wednesday, before the school year starts, you’re starting with the why you’re helping teachers see that perspective of the impact that they can have in the life of this multilingual learner, right?

And what that might look like and the cascading compounding effect of driving that change so that two or three weeks in, and they’re having that experience with Jose, as you were describing now. Because they started with why, and they want to make that difference. They care and they want to do that. Now they’re going to figure out the tools.

They’re going to talk in that PLC and figure out some of the resources, or they’re going to work through some of those pieces. But I think as you described really well, I think starting with Y plays a really important role there. 

Robert Gouthro: Huge. And you have to also make sure that you’re giving the teachers something to work with or a tool in that circumstance.

I’ve seen a lot of teachers who maybe appear to be jaded [00:48:00] about working with ML students or resistant. And. I think from their perspective, that’s actually fair, because remember, they didn’t receive any training on working with ML students in their teacher preparation program, and they’ve been teaching their hearts out for 15 or 20 years, and they’ve learned a skill set and developed a skill set over that time, and now all of a sudden, that skill set’s not sufficient to meet the needs.

And they’re in the hot seat and it doesn’t seem or feel fair. And the answer really is life isn’t fair. And our truly great teachers are the ones who have stayed flexible over the years and are willing to retool to take the ax back out of the shop. To sharpen it again, to maybe reach out and grab some new tools, but we can’t expect them to go through this journey alone.

And you can’t even expect schools to go through this journey alone. So what are we going to use to support those teachers? And again, I always, I’m a systems thinker in a lot of ways. And I come back to that. If you’ve got one teacher in every grade level, [00:49:00] you can just sit down and meet with them. And they’re already great teachers.

And you can have a couple of books and a couple of resources. But when it’s every teacher in the building, including your first year teachers, including your teachers who are tired, including your teachers that the whole range of challenges that working adult professionals have in the course of their careers and they meet in that PLC.

Does the coach have ML strategies? Chances are a lot of our coaches who were hired 10 years ago before this demographic wave happened, they haven’t received formal training on MLs. And so they’re also desperate for direction. And what tools are we going to give them? And if you’re in a district administration or a school administration, you have to be asking that question.

Staffing is great. You can hire Rob Gouthro. I’m happy to work with your teachers. I love it. I love the professional development. You can hire three of me. You can hire 10 of me. Okay. But the fact of the matter is that we’ve got 40, 000 students. We’ve got 50 schools. These teachers are meeting in PLCs every single day, and you can only spread a district staff so [00:50:00] thin.

So when they meet and they’re pulling data. Do they have data that they understand? Do they have data that reflects the MLs when they’re looking for strategies? I’m going to give a shot, a shout out to another tool here. I hope you don’t mind, which is elevation strategies, a fantastic asynchronous professional development platform for MLS.

Is there a formative tool? Do they have a flashlight that their students are being monitored on that gives them that support? And most answer. In cases, the answer is no. And when you look at our schools in South Carolina that are 30 to 50%, the answer isn’t just to hire three more ML teachers. That’s the biggest question I get from my schools.

Hey, Rob, they’ll pull me aside. Are we going to get another ML teacher next year? What are the allocations look like? What’s the ratio? What do 

Justin Hewett: we have to do to get another ML teacher over here? Another 

Robert Gouthro: ML teacher. And I understand that because that’s the simple solution. All right. I grab another specialist.

I can pull more kids. They can give them more service minutes, and I’m hoping that can make the difference, but truly what’s going to make the differences. Is your [00:51:00] coach proficient in ML strategies? Are you proficient in ML strategies? When your data team meets and they’re looking at tiered interventions, do they know how to intuit that data?

When you assign that intervention, is the interventionist capable of implementing a UFLY or a Hagerty program that’s phonics based and And to provide the ML accommodations and supports in the context of that intervention, it’s systemic. 

Justin Hewett: Oh, so well said. So well said. I love that. And I think that’s one of the things that we found is, as we talk to people really around the country, they’ll talk with us about how their multilingual students are just not growing.

On access or on ELPA with, in regards to their speaking is how are you progress monitoring speaking? How are you looking at that and assessing it? And they just go, we just try to monitor it in the classroom and observe in the classroom. And they just don’t have a tool. They don’t have a resource and they don’t have a way that they’re doing that.

If you’re not, If you’re not looking at something consistently [00:52:00] and trying to figure out how to grow it, it’s probably not going to grow, right? It’s probably not going. It’s when we’re intentional about this work is when things really grow and get better. I am loving this conversation.

Honestly, Rob, like I think we could go for probably three more hours. Cause I am like this change in demographics in a school district and in a community. I think there’s a lot there. That we can learn about that and a lot we can talk about that. So we, I think we’re going to have you back for the part two with Rob Gouthro.

Let’s go. So we’re going to have to do that. But I, there’s a few things that we want to dive into before we wrap up over here. And one more question, maybe before we get to our lightning round I’ve just got a couple, we’ve got a couple of questions we want to ask you just quickly a new experiment here.

But maybe if you can think back, I know that you’ve got some amazing experience in a number of different districts in a number of different settings. What is one thing that you’ve learned along the way that you wish you could share with other people who are in your shoes? And maybe it’s with someone [00:53:00] that was, that’s a new EL director, or maybe it’s somebody that’s early on as a serving multilingual students as a teacher.

Robert Gouthro: I started my journey at the high school level, and then I did that for a number of years, and then I moved down to the middle school level, and I did that great, I did that for a couple of years, and there’s an old, in the old Arthurian legend the wizard Merlin is actually aging backwards through time, so he started, and that’s why he’s so knowledgeable and prescient, is that he started at the end and went, he’s going to the beginning, and so having done the middle school level, then I went down to the elementary school level.

I can tell you that as a teacher. Teacher in a lot of ways, I really wish or that I had done that journey the other way around and instead of starting at the end of the journey and moving to the beginning. I wish I’d started at the elementary level and gone to the high school level. And the reason I say that is because the learning that happens.

With students that are the kinder, first grade, [00:54:00] second grade level is really transparent. You can really see a immediate impact or effect to your actions and or interventions. And. It’s transparent. You notice the growth happens in days or weeks or months, right? I’m doing X. It’s not working. I do Y. All of a sudden it’s working and we see this tremendous growth.

And I don’t think that when I was a teacher at the high school level or the middle school level, I truly understood the power that I had as an educator. Because that change is still possible. With students at the high school level, a 19 year old student can still undergo that kind of change and that kind of growth and transformation, but it’s hidden.

It’s hidden behind the facade of adult needs, adult fears. Teenagers are great at putting on faces and masks and they only get better at it and adults get better at [00:55:00] as we go up. And so you can’t see that impact. But to know that it’s there is so empowering to you as a professional. So that’s one reason I wish that I had a chance to start at that level.

Not that, and again, that every teacher needs to be an elementary teacher to be an effective teacher. But. Every teacher needs to be able to see and feel their impact, and I don’t think that all of our teachers who are in the profession right now, and especially our teachers that came in during COVID, and they were teaching through a screen, and they weren’t even face to face in the room with their students.

I don’t believe that they truly believe in their impact or understand the impact on the students. And so that’s something I wish that everybody knew. Something else that I really wish that I had known was just the basic teaching of phonics and the power that phonics and literacy strategies have.

And [00:56:00] when I was in high school, obviously I would get some SLIFE students and they would come to me and we would do ML strategies. And I think I was fantastic at growing their oral language and their verbal language skills and connecting to background experiences, but I was really subpar, I think, in teaching them to read.

Looking back on it, I think I don’t think I did that particularly well because I didn’t know how to, how would I have? And that same thing, even when I was doing remedial intervention level, I say remedial, but I don’t mean that in a negative way. Working with the neediest students in the seventh grade and the students that had just done a 90 minute read 180 like intervention block, and now they’re coming to me for their regular standard ELA course.

Those students. Obviously I tried to use like content based reading instructions and all these different tools, but a lot of them just had foundational gaps in their phonics and phonological awareness, basic literacy processing skills, and those had never been filled in. And so I think Every teacher needs to have a basic understanding of what it means to learn how to [00:57:00] read just because that knowledge is so powerful and it can be embedded.

I can be in a social studies class in the 10th grade and we put up the word transcontinental and I can start for a moment and say, here’s a vowel cluster, T R N, it makes the sound tur, right? Here’s a, a, it makes the sounds a. So, it’s like the N in front of it, nasalized it, and it makes it go, and.

Transcontinental. That’s why it sounds that way instead of transcontinental or something different. Just we have to play with letters and sounds as we’re picking apart words and word parts. Any teacher could be doing that in any content area. And if R, All of the teachers in every content area were playing with words and sounds and letters in that way as we were learning our Tier 3 content based vocabulary, we’d be solving our literacy crisis in this country because we’d be meeting truly the needs of all of our students.

And that’s just the power of basic phonics and literary skills integrated and embedded into instruction. And that’s not even ML perspective, that would [00:58:00] support our MLs powerfully as well, it would support everybody. So those are two things that, that I wish I had known when I’d started. And I would have learned both of those had I started with a literacy based elementary position and gone the other way.

Justin Hewett: So good. So good. I love it. That is fantastic. Thanks for sharing. It’s those little pieces that can make a huge difference for somebody, right? As they’re listening here and depending on where they are in their career. Just real quick, Mandi, I know you have you, and we’ll have you wrap up, maybe just real quick, like a lightning round.

What is a book or a resource that you typically recommend to teachers in the ML space or to other leaders in the ML space? 

Robert Gouthro: Great question. I love all the titles by Silates Publishing. I think they’re doing a lot of really great work. One that I would recommend is Seven Steps for a Language Rich Interactive Classroom.

And again, this is a title that’s not specifically for ML teachers. It’s one of those golden titles that thinks about [00:59:00] language in a classroom. And the effect of students growing their language and how that’s going to help, not just MLs, but kids from lower socioeconomic settings, kids that didn’t have print rich environments, kids that don’t come to school with a lot of background experiences.

And it’s just seven simple strategies that any teacher could do. It just happens that if you do all of them together as a program, really intentionally, it’s Also going to line up with ML Pedagogy. I do a lot of martial arts in my side job and my wife and I are also, we train judo and have a couple of martial arts gyms and do some things like that.

There’s a saying in the martial arts world though, that all paths on the mountain eventually lead to the peak. And it’s this idea of like wherever you start your journey with basics and fundamentals as you proceed higher and higher through your skill in a field of profession, eventually, you may have started on the west side of the mountain and climbed straight up the rock face, and I started on the east side of the mountain and took a scenic trail that was five times as [01:00:00] long.

But when we get to the peak, we’re at the same place. And I truly believe that educational pedagogy is the same, whether you’re a first grade literacy teacher, or a special education teacher, or an ML teacher, or a high school social studies teacher. There’s only one human brain, and the human brain, despite all its diversity, only processes knowledge and information in a certain range of ways.

And, When I am teaching and using strategies to my best effect, and you’re doing the same thing, and the first grade teacher is doing the same thing, I wager that it looks very similar, even though the context is different. We’re using the same underlying set of approaches and strategies to motivate students.

To get them involved, to get them using language, to get them to connect to background experiences, to process and practice that language, to internalize and express it, and then transfer [01:01:00] it to their further learning. Whether you’re teaching a first grader to read or an AP social studies class, that set of strategies is actually Isn’t that different?

It just feels different because of the context. And I really like a book like seven steps because I feel like it’s a really simple way to, for a teacher to stand on that peak and to be doing some simple things across any context that are just powerful and are going to activate the needs of all students.

Mandi Morris: Robert, in our last minute here closing I was going to ask you about your martial arts, and I’m so glad that you brought that up. I would just curious to hear in the last year or so I’ve been hearing more about secondary trauma and the impact that it has on teachers and the students that teachers serve.

And I think having something in your life to rejuvenate that joy and the passion and the excitement about the work that we do and into what you spoke to earlier, um, Really understanding and feeling that the work does have an impact. I wonder if you could just briefly speak to like, how has having a passion outside of [01:02:00] education, um, rejuvenated your joy and energy in the work that you do yours is martial arts, but I just wonder how that connection has worked for you professionally and personally.

Robert Gouthro: I love martial arts and judo, and I love having something that is in my life that is very different than what I do at my day job. It really adds an element of balance. And so for me, it’s judo. It’s not just martial arts, it’s specifically judo, which is a wonderful martial art and Olympic sport. And, yeah.

It’s fun because it’s a grappling based thing. So we put on white pajamas and then we literally throw each other around onto these big padded mats and you can wrestle and fight. It’s very different than sitting in a chair with a tie on and you dealing with really complex problems and really high stakes all day long.

The only thing that you have to worry about is having one other person that’s directly across from you. They’re really engaged in throwing you hard onto that ground and you don’t want to be thrown down. It [01:03:00] forces you to forget and it forces you to focus and it forces you to brain to go into a different kind of zone.

And that difference in the way that your brain is processing is refreshing. Having been in different times, be whether because of illness or injury and not being able to go out and do something that’s intense in that way, I can tell you that Coming home and sitting on the couch is not relaxing. It’s not stress relieving.

Turning on the TV doesn’t reduce the stress. That’s escapism in some ways, and it only makes it harder for you to go back after that escapist moment into a high stakes field like teaching. Rather than that, if you find something that is highly absorbing and engaging in a very different way than teaching, it’s going to refresh and energize the brain and you’re used to staying at a high performance level but you’re not stressed, right?

And choose something with ancillary benefits, something that is going to get your weight down, that’s going to increase your cardio. [01:04:00] Again, I love judo and martial arts, and I would tell anybody to go give that a shot. But whether it’s jogging, whether it’s running, whether it’s pickleball, whether it’s bicycling, whether it’s long walks on the beach, something that you can do that is a passion for yours is absolutely critical.

Because our students come with baggage, and our schools exist right now in a context where we’re under a microscope. And you look at the different bills regarding Book choice and literacy and what’s going on in our, a lot of school board meetings. And it’s a highly stressful environment for teachers.

And that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do it. And that doesn’t mean that it can’t be rewarding, but you need a way to process that stress and you need a way to rejuvenate yourself so that you can persist and endure through the challenges that are a career in teaching and go overcome those challenges.

In addition to enjoying the benefits and the joys of working with students and changing lives. Gosh, 

Justin Hewett: I love that. I really appreciate that and that it [01:05:00] really resonates with me and I think it will with a lot of people that listen. I think it’s something that we probably don’t talk about enough is how do you process stress?

What is it that you do to work through that to make sure that the next day you show up as your best? Because that stress can really compound in a negative way. Unless we have a way to process it and work through. And I think you’re right. I think doing physical things, getting out and sweating, moving your body something, finding a way to do that, I think is really helpful and allows us to show up and be our best self the next day.

It’s definitely something I try to incorporate myself. And anyways, in part two when we do this again, Rob, we’re gonna have to learn a little bit more about your your judo. It sounds like you guys, you and your wife have a few. Businesses doing judo but Rob, I just want to say thank you for being here with us.

Really appreciate the amazing work that you’re doing, serving thousands and thousands of multilingual students, obviously a lot of teachers in all of these schools in Berkeley County School District, where you’re doing the work today, but [01:06:00] really appreciate you sharing this message, sharing your expertise and all of these things that you’ve learned through the years.

Thank you for being here on the ML chat podcast. 

Robert Gouthro: Thank you for inviting me. Talking to two teachers and about teaching is my favorite thing. And so I’ve had a wonderful time this afternoon. I’ve also learned a lot. And hopefully if anything, I’ve said it is at all helpful to anybody out there. I’d be really pleased by that.

And I’m also, uh, looking Would love to work with anybody that has questions about any of this and help them along their journey in education because I think it’s one of the best journeys a human being can be on. 

Justin Hewett: Fantastic. What’s the best way for people to reach out to you? Are you on LinkedIn or X or you know something along those lines or is it best to you know find you on the School district website and send you an email.

Robert Gouthro: I’m going to say right now, the best way is to find me on the school district website and send me an email. I lay really low in social media. I’m still old school on that. So it’s really hard to find me on social media. I can give a play out. You can find me at my gym, which is [01:07:00] charlestonselfdefense. com.

That’s my martial arts gym and separate than that. But then other than that, just still in Berkeley County school district in South Carolina. And I’d love to work with anybody that has a heart and passion for multilingual learners. Fantastic. 

Justin Hewett: Thanks for being here, Rob.


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