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What is the SEALED project?

The Supporting Educators’ Academic Literacies and Enhanced Discourse (SEALED) project is federally-funded ($6,148,903.00 U.S. Department of Education) project that provides professional development to local teachers. Participants are core subject secondary school teachers with Miami-Dade County Public Schools, and they are enrolled in an M.S.Ed. program at the University of Miami (Education and Social Change, Special Education, or Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). Participants complete their respective graduate program, with half of the participants also receiving job-embedded supports from an instructional coach.

Avalos, M. A. (Principal Investigator), Cavendish, W., & de Oliveira, L. C. (Co-PIs). (2017-2020). Supporting Educators’ Academic Literacies and Enhanced Discourse(SEALED). The U.S. Department of Education, Supporting Effective Educator Development [SEED], $6,148,903.00.



Article accepted for publication: Cavendish, W., Barrenechea, I., Young, A., Diaz, E., & Avalos, M. A. Urban teachers’ perspectives of strengths and needs: The promise of teacher-centered professional development.Urban Review.



Core Subject

Number of teachers teaching secondary core subject in Miami-Dade Public School.


Number of schools we're teaching in Miami-Dade County Public Schools.


Number of teachers enrolled in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.

Education & Social Change

Number of teachers enrolled in Education and Social Change program.

Special Education

Number of teachers enrolled in Special Education program.

SEALED Research Presentations

Avalos, M.A., & Blair,A. (2019,July). Infusing SFL and a language-oriented pedagogical cycle within M.S.Ed. secondary methods and reading courses: Curriculum model and lessons learned. Paper presented at the International Systemic Linguistics Conference (ISLC) Santiago,Chile.

Avalos, M. A., & Blair, A. (2020, April). Investigating graduate-level courses as an avenue develop secondary content teachers’ knowledge and pedagogical practices for academic language instruction. Paper accepted to American Educational Research Association (AERA) San Francisco, CA.

Avalos, M. A., Blair, A., Díaz, E., & Wadhwa, K. (2019, December). Supporting in-service teachers’ sense-making and implementation of academic literacies by design: Lessons from a research-practice partnership. Literacy Research Association (LRA) Tampa, FL.

Blair, A., Avalos M. A., Barrenechea, I., & Wadhwa, K. (2019, July). Secondary content area teachers' evolving understandings of academic language. International Systemic Linguistics Conference (ISLC) Santiago, Chile.

Blair, A., Avalos, M. A., & Wadhwa, K. (2019, December). The role of analyzing student writing in secondary content area teachers' evolving understandings of academic language. American Reading Forum (ARF) Sanibel Island, FL.

Cavendish, W., Barrenechea, I., & Young, A. (November 2019). Teacher Perceptions of the Role of Culture in their Classrooms.National Association of Multicultural Education, Tucson, AZ

Cavendish, W. & Krawec, J. (June 2019). Special Education Teachers’ Knowledge and Use ofAssessment Data to Inform Instruction for Secondary Students with Learning Disabilities(LD).International Academy of Research on Learning Disabilities, Crete, Greece.

Cavendish, W. Young, A., Diaz, E., & Barrenchea, I. (February 2019). Perceptions of Strengths and Needs of Urban Teachers.Eastern Educational Research Association, Myrtle Beach, SC,

de Oliveira, L. (2019, July). Systemic Functional Linguistics and graduate teacher education: Background and context for the SEALED project.Paper presented at the International Systemic Linguistics Conference (ISLC) Santiago, Chile.

Krawec, J., Cavendish, W.,Young, A., & Crocco, C. (October 2019). Teachers Use of Assessment Data for Instructional Decision-making.Council for Learning Disabilities, San Antonio, TX


Dr. Mary Avalos


Principal Investigator

Dr. Wendy Cavendish-Morrison


Principal Investigator

Dr. Luciana de Oliveira

Principal Investigator

Dr. Christina Crocco


Program Manager

Wandarece Ruan

Administrative Director
M-DCPS Office of Professional Development and Evaluation

Ana M. Gutierrez

Administrative Director
M-DCPS Division of Academics and Transformation

Data Manager:

Dolores Romero Aldana

Curriculum Support Specialists:

Nancy Valdes
Janice Fleurantin

Visiting Asst. Professor:

Dr. Alissa Blair

Graduate Assistants:

Ayanna Young
Edgar Diaz
Kanushri Wadhwa
Ignacio Barranechea
Sharon Smith


  • Sonia Lazzereschi
    I have been learning various methodologies and strategies that I have been able to put to the test in my classroom. I have learned what multicultural education is, the importance of respecting individual differences, and how to recognize and value these differences in the classroom. After each class I attend and each article I read, I become more confident in my ability to guide and support my emergent bilingual students.
    Sonia Lazzereschi
    TESOL student
  • Michael Sakowicz
    I am far more culturally responsive with all students within not only my class lab, but with all students in the school. I have learned how to far better plan for all levels of learners day in and out, when thinking of the gifted student to the emerging bilingual student. I am learning that pedagogy is a practice that can be mastered over time, but is best thought of as an ongoing gift of knowledge.
    Michael Sakowicz
    Special Education
  • Jennifer Silveira
    The Education and Social Change program at UM has provided me an opportunity to reflect on my positionality in the education system and encouraged me to be intentional in my participation. Although the current architecture of the system provides many challenges for students and teachers alike, my colleagues and professors have worked together to find a means to exercise our agency to make positive changes for our students and ourselves.
    Jennifer Silveira
    Education & Social Change


  • DJ Moreau, Education and Social Change
    – Rookie Teacher of the Year 2019
  • Ashley Gonzalez, Education & Social Change
    – Rookie Teacher of the Year 2019
  • Kelsey Major, Education & Social Change
    – Started an after school club where middle school students work on magazine editions designed to persuade federal lawmakers to pass legislation to help prevent mass shootings.
    Read the article here




    Dr. Christina Crocco, Program Manager

    For General Inquiries

    +1 305-284-9188