Message from your new NNETESOL President

November 4, 2018


Dear NNETESOL Members,

I wanted to take a few minutes to reflect on this year’s fantastic conference and make you aware of some changes to the coming year’s schedule.

First of all, thank you to everyone who attended the 2018 NNETESOL Conference, with special thanks to our presenters and keynote Rai Farrelly. Thank you to Stephanie Marcotte, who was an exceptional organizer and whose act it will be tough to follow. A big thank you also to Beth Evans, who served on the NNETESOL board for 12 years in various roles and contributed in countless ways. The board will forever be grateful for Beth’s passion and hard work.

Every year, after our conference I’m left buzzing with a sense of connection and feel grateful for our unique community. While I also leave with a long list of things to do, I think the first and most important thing is to reflect, because as several presenters noted during the conference, this is where the real learning happens.

As I approach each full and challenging day in my teaching career, I’m comforted to know there is this professional community of support in NNETESOL that is a powerful agent for advocacy and change. During her keynote presentation, Rai Farrelly reminded us of the importance of fostering a growth mindset in our students and ourselves. When we take the time to come together, be brave in sharing our ideas and struggles, and learn from each other, we are definitely flexing our “brain muscles”. Additionally, we get to laugh, smile, and celebrate, which provides balance for our busy, often complicated lives in education.

I wish I could have attended every session because I heard many great things about all of the presentations. The few that I was able to sit in on were relevant and interactive. I gained insight into ELL families’ perception of U.S. schools and teachers through research conducted by Cynthia Reyes, a professor at UVM, and her colleagues. I was able to brainstorm new ways for continued professional development within our NNETESOL community. I was fortunate to have Beth Evans share her experiences with me on the way to and from Vermont. Even though Burlington is right next door to Winooski, I rarely get the opportunity to converse with my neighboring ELL teachers. I walk away from the conference with excitement and energy for the year ahead, and with a renewed sense of strength in our professional network and diverse learning community.

As Beth always said, “we are only as strong as our volunteers,” and we have a dedicated group of people who work hard to make this conference a reality. We strive to make it valuable for you and will continue to do so. We are also hoping in the year ahead to highlight some of the work you do through Monthly Member Spotlights on the website, to utilize our Zoom meeting platform for continued professional development conversations with you throughout the year, and to encourage spring gatherings in our member states. We are always happy to hear from you anytime, and welcome new board member applications! We will continue to look for new ways for volunteers to get involved.

Finally, this year, we are trying something new. We’ve changed the date for the call for proposals to earlier in the year. We hope that this works with your schedule, but if it does not we will accept your feedback and reconsider for next year. The call for proposals will open on March 1 and close on May 1, 2019. Keith Folse will be joining us as keynote speaker at the University of Southern Maine on November 2, 2019. We will keep you posted on the exact location.

It is my pleasure to serve you all as President of NNETESOL.


Sarah Forbes

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