UVM’s College of Education and Social Services Diversity Committee held its fourth annual diversity conference on March 13, 2013. The committee prioritizes the particular issues and experiences of refugees, immigrants, and English language learners and this year the theme was “Fulfilling the Dreams of the First Generation College Student.” The goal of the conference was to enable faculty, students and community practitioners to deepen their capacity to contribute to the experiences and success of diverse first generation college students. Topics included identity formation, academic readiness, mentoring, and family perspectives that address the critical dimensions of achieving higher education given the educational, economic, and language barriers that first generation college students experience. A collaboration of presenters included faculty, staff, and community members from the Community College of Vermont, King Street Youth Center, Winooski High School, Howard Center, and the University of Vermont.
Saint Michael’s College through Project CREATE is offering a professional development opportunity for middle school teachers in Vermont this summer. This opportunity is a course at the Middle Grades Summer Institute, which will be tuition-free for a limited number of individuals.
The course will explore:
1. The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) across content areas
2. Instructional strategies to help students meet CCSS expectations for increased linguistic complexity
3. Accommodation of those strategies across the language proficiency range for English Learners
Literacy Across the Content Areas – June 24-28 – Middle Grades Institute at Castleton State College
• 3-credit tuition stipend for up to 20 participants
• Open to teachers from Grades 5-9
• Preference given to teachers who sign up in pairs or in teams
If you are interested, please contact me for more information. If you know someone who may be interested, please pass this opportunity along. Thank you.
James Nagle firstname.lastname@example.org
Saint Michael’s College through Project CREATE is also sponsoring the two-day conference “Academic Language in the Content Areas for English Learners-A Conference Examining Effective Teaching Practice for English Learners” on May 16 and 17. For more information, please contact James Nagle at email@example.com.
Beth Evans was recognized as an Innovative Educator at Project IGNITE, an awards luncheon for Vermont educators, hosted by VITA Learn, Vermont’s IT professional organization. She was recognized for her work to get short professional development videos out to district employees. You can see her work at https://sites.google.com/a/bsdvt.org/ell-teaching-tips/
News from the Department of Education:
A series of Vermont Title III sponsored professional development workshops for educators of English Language Learners will be held throughout the 2012-2013 school year. The theme for all four workshops will be formative language assessment. The series will include:
- Formative Assessment and the Development of Language Targets for ELLs on November 1,
- Differentiation and Assessment of Language across Proficiency Levels for ELLs on January 16,
- Collaboration and Formative Assessment of Language for ELLs on March 21,
- Formative Assessment of Language and the WIDA ELD Standard-based Curriculum for ELLs on May 9.
The online registration form, workshop times, and directions to the first workshop site can be found at: http://creator.zoho.com/doe_user/2012-2013-wida- professional-development-workshops. This information will also be posted to the Vermont DOE ELL web site and calendar. Participation will be limited to a maximum of 50 people.
The descriptions and materials for these workshops is available at the same online registration link, but specific workshop locations have not been determined at this time. This information will be updated as plans are finalized. The info will also be posted on the VT DOE web site and calendar as soon as details are available.
Contact: For questions about workshop content, Jim McCobb at (802) 828-0185, firstname.lastname@example.org. For questions about registration, Lucille Chicoine at (802) 828-5922 or email@example.com.
News from the University of Vermont
- As of last spring of 2012, there are two new course offerings through the Middle Level Education program at the University of Vermont. The first is a foundations course for working with ELL students, EDTE 55 The Foundations for Teaching English Language Learners. It will be offered once again in the spring of 2013. The second course is a methods course, EDML 270 Methods & Curriculum for working with English Language Learners.
- Cynthia Reyes is currently chairing an ELL committee in the College of Education and Social Services that is doing a curriculum map of the Education Department at our institution to review which education courses currently include or integrate ELL knowledge and skills. The committee is also charged with looking at specific recommendations for developing more ELL initiatives (eventual coursework that may lead to an endorsement in the future).
- The College of Education and Social Services (CESS) Committee on Diversity Initiatives (CDI), will be hosting its 4th annual diversity event in partnership with other community organizations at the Davis Center at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 13. More details to follow. This event mostly focuses on bringing more awareness to our New American communities. The theme for this year is, “The First Generation Experience: Supporting Higher Education Experience.”
News from Saint Michael’s College
Project CREATE will be sponsoring two major events this spring/summer. First, a conference on SFL and ELL instruction will be held on Thursday and Friday May 30-31, 2013 at SMC. Speakers will be teacher educators who work with teachers on using SFL strategies in Elementary, Middle and High Schools. A detailed brochure will be forthcoming. Also, Project CREATE will sponsor a SFL course at the Middle Grades Institute at Castleton State College, June 24-28.
Come join other ELL colleagues at Dobra Tea for a discussion of all things ELL. We hope to become an article reading group. We are currently taking a survey to determine the best date for our next meeting. If interested, please email Heidi Western at firstname.lastname@example.org or Anne Wright Shank at email@example.com
TESOL TALKS-Building on what we learned
In April, six attendees of the the Philadelphia convention presented overviews of lessons learned. The free event drew about 20 ELL community members and educators to the Burlington Free Library on a Saturday morning. There was a lot of enthusiasm for the event and support for the possibility of continuing to share knowledge from national conventions and conferences with the local community.
Building on the conversation
On October 24 at 4pm at Dobra Tea in Burlington, the ELL Teacher Discussion Group will reconvene for the first meeting of the 2012-2013 school year. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to bring an article for discussion to share with the group. The Discussion group hope to meeting on a bi-monthly basis to discuss articles, books, and information of interest to ELL educators. For more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com .