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Katherine Barko-Alva

Associate Professor of ESL/Bilingual Education

Office: 3071
Phone: (757) 221-6073
Email: [[kbarkoalva]]
Areas of Expertise: ESL/ Bilingual Education, Dual Language Education, Family Engagement, ESL/DLBE Teacher Preparation, Professional Development in CLD Contexts


Dr. Katherine Barko-Alva is an Associate Professor and Director of the ESL/Bilingual Education program at the William & Mary School of Education. A former McKnight Doctoral fellow at the University of Florida, she holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction in the area of ESL/Bilingual Education. As a bilingual scholar, her research agenda is rooted in classroom practices and explores how Dual Language Bilingual Education (DLBE) /English as a Second Language (ESL) educators make sense of language in culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) K12 contexts, how to promote equitable and inclusive practices in order to serve CLD students and their families, and how to create sustainable practices to prepare DLBE/ESL in-service and pre-service teachers. With more than fourteen years of professional experience teaching as well as designing and implementing job-embedded professional development practices at the national and international level, her lived experiences as an English learner/Emergent Bilingual in U.S. schools guide the nature of her work and commitment to families, teachers, and students.

Dr. Barko-Alva was awarded the Virginia Latino Advisory Board Latinx Leadership Award in Education and the Janet Brown Strafer Award (William & Mary School of Education) recognizing her efforts for promoting equitable and inclusive learning spaces in our classrooms and community. In 2021, she received the Jefferson Teaching Award at William & Mary. At the national level, she has been selected as a member of the iCivics ESL National Advisory Council to support making civics education accessible for English learners/Emergent Bilinguals using video game platforms. She is currently a Co-Director for W&M Scholars Undergraduate Research Experience (WMSURE/2020-2023) and served as a fellow for the Center for the Liberal Arts (CLA) at William & Mary in 2019-2021. Her latest book published by Teachers College Press Columbia University (Equity in school-parent partnerships: Cultivating community and family trust in culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms) examines fossilized practices within today’s educational system that marginalize and devalue the contributions and cultural biographies of families, particularly CLD families. This book creates opportunities for reflection and provides suggestions for school communities seeking to re-envision the meaning of family engagement.

Selected Publications

Barko-Alva, K. & Chang-Bacon, C. (2023) Over-framing: interrogating sentence frames as pedagogical support vs. language restriction. Language, Culture and Curriculum. Advance online publication

Barko-Alva, K. (2022). Enseñando en español: The need to support dual language bilingual education teachers’ pedagogical language knowledge. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 1–7.

Bickham-Mendez, J. & Barko-Alva, K. (2022). ‘Yo era la única rara:’ Recently Arrived Immigrant High School Students and Belonging in Eastern Virginia (ELs) sense of belonging within a high school-context. Journal of Latinos and Education

de Jong, E.J., Barko-Alva, K., & Yilmaz, T. (2022). Diversity and Integration: Reflecting on Two-Way Immersion Research. Journal: Journal of Content and Language immersion. Advance online publication. 

Barko-Alva, K. & Zúñiga, C. (2022). Nuevas metas: La importancia de posturas heteroglósicas y críticas en la capacitación de docentes bilingües (equal authorship) In Aquino-Sterling, Gort, & Bustos Flores. (Eds.). Innovative Curricular and Pedagogical Designs in Bilingual Teacher Education: Bridging the Distance with P-12 Contexts (pp.17-33). Information Age Publishing (IAP).

Porter, L., Barko-Alva, K., & Herrera, S. G. (2021). Plexiglass: How Power, Policy, and Politics Create a Mirage of Equitable Family Engagement. Journal for Multicultural Education,

Barko-Alva, K., Porter, L., & Herrera, S.G. (2020). Fearful No More: Teachers Amplifying CLD Familial Voices in Technological Spaces. MinneTESOL Journal, 36 (2).

Herrera, S. G., Porter, L. & Barko-Alva, K. (2020). Equity in school-parent partnerships: Cultivating community and family trust in culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms. New York, NY: Teachers College Press Columbia University.

Bryan, K., Barko-Alva, K., & Horrell, L. (2020). Going Against the Grain: Advocacy Through Representation, Inclusion, and Teacher Agency. Sunshine State TESOL Journal (SSTJ), 13 (1).

Farmer, T.W., Hamm, J.V., Dawes, M., Barko-Alva, K. & Cross, J.R. (2019). Promoting Inclusive Communities in Diverse Classrooms: Teacher Attunement and Social Dynamics Management, Educational Psychologist,

Barko-Alva, K., Porter, L., & Herrera, S.G. (2020). Technology as technocracy: Pre-service teachers’ conscientious use of technology for authentic family engagement. In Ferdig, Baumgartner, Hartshorne, Kaplan-Rakowski, Mouza (Eds.), Teaching, technology, and teacher education during the COVID-19 pandemic: Stories from the field. Equity Issues. AACE.

Barko-Alva, K. & Masyada, S. (2018). Dimensions of success: Integrating the C3 framework for ESL instruction in elementary social studies classrooms. In Guler (Ed.), Optimizing Elementary Education for English Language Learners. Chapter 14. IGI-Global Editorial Discovery.

Masyada, S. & Barko-Alva, K. (2018). Language Instruction and Civic Learning Through Contingent Scaffolding and the C3 Framework. In Hansen-Thomas & Lindahl (Eds.), Putting Research into Practice: Middle School. Chapter 6. TESOL Publications.

de Jong, E.J., & Barko-Alva, K. (2015). “Mainstream” teachers in two-way immersion programs: Becoming content and language teachers. In: Freeman & Freeman (Eds.), Research on Preparing In-service Teachers to Work Effectively with Emergent Bilinguals. (pp. 107-126). United Kingdom: Emerald Press.

Radio Interviews & Webinars

Panelist (2022). Missing in Brooks County. WHRO.

Barko-Alva, K., Porter, L., & Herrera, S.G. (Jun. 20 2020). Webinar: Equitable Family Engagement. PRTESOL. Puerto Rico. Summer Series.
Barko-Alva, K. (Jul. 21 2020). Radio: Explique pero no complique. Por nuestros niños. Solmart Media. 
Barko-Alva, K. (Jun. 23 2020). Radio: Lo aprendido no se olvida. Por nuestros niños. Solmart  Media. 
Krause, G., Barko-Alva, K., Herrera, S.G., Norez, C., Posadas, T., & Velandia, G. (Apr. 17 2020). Webinar: Apoyando a nuestros estudiantes en casa. W&M School of Education. Panel Facilitator: Dr. Christian Zúñiga.