To provide customized high quality, high impact professional development and coaching to those who teach EL students, by providing the necessary skills and proven pedagogical techniques that will ensure academic growth in all subject areas.
To see every K-12 English Language Learner engaged every day with high levels of learning and resources while acquiring the needed English language skills for personal growth and academic success in every classroom.
Who We Are
ELL Made Simple began in 2016 to enhance the learning and academic success of EL students. The main focus is to help teachers better understand the learning needs of EL students while increasing rigor and expectations. After researching and curating the best practices and strategies, ELL Made Simple has simplified lesson planning for educators. Through interactive professional development and intensive coaching, teachers will learn how to address the unique needs of EL students for academic success.
The ELL Made Simple co-founders, Desiree Arias and Chris Moersch, started working together in 2009 to develop the ELL Levers to boost student performance for a Texas middle school with a large EL student population. The 6 ELL Levers were simple to implement and, better yet, made an impact on teaching and student performance.
As more teachers started to implement the ELL Levers, it became clear that the framework was not only making a strong academic impact but it was also aligned to the English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS) and was reminding teachers that supporting ELs was about scaffolding and not using language as a barrier. By utilizing the 6 ELL Levers, teachers started to see even more success with their students.
Desirée Marks-Arias, Ph.D.
Dr. Desirée Marks-Arias, an advocate for all students, is committed to the design and delivery of instruction that will serve the needs and interests of all learners. Passionate about innovation and achievement for teaching and learning, she is focused on maximizing performance and academic potential for English Language Learners.
Dr. Marks-Arias is an educator who has served as a teacher, principal, and central administrator with expertise in instructional leadership and development, school improvement, strategic planning, and reflective coaching. In her role as Assistant Superintendent in a large urban district, she developed and led systems and processes emphasizing strategic support and achievement which resulted in 90% of assigned schools meeting or exceeding standards with over half of them earning distinctions on the state assessment. As an administrator, Dr. Marks-Arias became keenly aware of the challenges that faced ELs. Expectations for ELs were low, resources for this population were limited, and support and professional development for teachers was very minimal. As a national executive and leadership coach for district and campus administrators, she supports the work that will impact the learning experiences for all students. Too often the strategies for educating ELL students were limited to tutoring and parent engagement.
Growing up in Brownsville, Texas, she saw firsthand how language separated students in the classroom and through course tracking—which had an even greater impact in secondary classrooms. She noted that EL policies and practices were strongly rooted in language acquisition and proficiency. Albeit important, she also realized when these policies make assumptions about cognitive ability or requisites for critical thinking and advanced learning (e.g. Pre-AP, AP, gifted) ELs lose an opportunity to do both. Thus, by partnering with Dr. Chris Moersh, to design and deliver educator professional development, she could address these concerns.
Notable accomplishments and recognition for her work and commitment to education include the DISD Superintendent’s Award of Commendation; TMEA Distinguished Educator Award; Education Policy Summit participant—28th Congressional District in Washington, DC; Cooperative Superintendency Fellow at UT Austin; and recipient of the Teachers, Leaders, and Explorers Award of Excellence from the Aerospace Education Foundation. Dr. Marks-Arias earned a doctorate in Education Policy at the University of Texas, Austin.
Christopher Moersch, Ed.D.
Dr. Chris Moersch has worked with school districts across the country with high populations of English Language Learners from border cities such as Douglas, AZ, and Pharr, TX, to coastal cities including New York City, NY, and Atlantic City, NJ, for over 25 years. Through his research, he realized that the level of engagement or intellectual involvement is the primary factor to authentic language acquisition as well as deep thinking processes.
He is passionate about creating learning environments utilizing the 6 ELL Levers to promote academic success. As the author of the LoTi® Framework for innovative teaching and the H.E.A.T.® Framework for student learning, he is an expert in the field of digital learning, school improvement, and using data to drive instructional practices. His specialization includes implementing school improvement initiatives, creating 21st Century learning environments, and facilitating organizational change. His latest book available from Corwin Press, Improving Student Achievement with Digital Age Best Practices, highlights how implementing twenty-first century-based best practices can elevate student achievement and teacher innovation among low socio-economic populations.
As a consultant, focusing exclusively on language development among ELs, he recognizes that without the elements of H.E.A.T.® (Higher-order thinking, Engaged learning, Authentic connections, and Technology use) a student’s growth is hampered. Without incorporating the H.E.A.T.® framework, the ability to handle progressively more complex and challenging tasks as students matriculate to the next grade level, becomes more challenging.
In addition, Dr. Moersch’s LoTi® (Levels of Teaching Innovation) Framework is currently used worldwide to assess effective digital teaching practices and has been the topic for action research in over 300 doctoral dissertations and 500 publications over the past 25 years. His primary work targets ways of leveraging existing resources to elevate student academic progress among historically low-achieving, at-risk populations. Dr. Moersch earned his doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Southern California.