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Vice-President's Message

Looking Ahead to the 2012 Spring Conference

By Cassy Lawrence

Welcome to the 2011-2012 school year! This time of year is exciting  as we get know our new students, learn about their strengths and weaknesses, and make important decisions about how to best meet their needs. The possibilities are endless. We often struggle though, with the huge task ahead of us. How to do it all? Literacy requirements, math expectations, content area initiatives, technology, and everything else that’s often thrown at a teacher for full and immediate implementation – it’s enough to make your head spin! But educators of ELLs are a tough bunch. We take on these great challenges for the sake of the students who look to us to help them navigate a new language and culture. With high expectations, sensitivity, and commitment we aim for success.

The coming year’s spring conference theme, Success for ELLs Across the Curriculum, will address the varied needs of ELLs and the educators who support them. Our conference will bring educators and ELL advocates together as a community to share best practices, advice, resources, and tools.  As has always been the case at our annual event, the NJTESOL/NJBE Spring Conference will also be THE place to find support and camaraderie.

Our event will take place at the Hyatt Regency in New Brunswick on May 30 and 31.  The Hyatt sits in downtown New Brunswick, near several shops and restaurants.  You can reach it by car or train, as the Albany Street train station is just a few blocks away.  There is plenty of space in the hotel’s parking deck; please see their website for details about parking and facilities at http://www.newbrunswick.hyatt.com/hyatt/hotels/. There are also city lots nearby. We encourage you to carpool.  As is customary, we’ve arranged for the hotel to offer conference attendees a special conference rate of $134 per night. 

The Call for Proposals is currently online at http://www.njtesol-njbe.org/spring-conference/CFW12.htm . The proposal adjudication process, which will take place in early December, is very selective. Priority will be given to high-quality, high-interest, dynamic proposals that reflect the conference theme - best practices in language and content instruction, how to best address the needs of ELLs in all areas of the curriculum, technology infusion, and motivational strategies. Please consider presenting a workshop. The deadline for proposals is October 31, 2011.  Proposals will be selected in December and posted in a tentative schedule on our website in January. 

You can also find conference registration forms at the NJTESOL/NJBE website.  Schools are advised to take advantage of the special Early Registration fees.  Early registration deadline is March 1, 2012.  Encourage your colleagues and new teachers to become members of NJTESOL/NJBE.  Members attend the spring conference at a reduced rate.  Early registration and member registration are the way to go. You can find membership forms on our website at http://www.njtesol-njbe.org/.

Please visit our website often for announcements regarding conference speakers, featured presentations, the evening event, and other breaking news about the conference.  Be sure to join us on our Facebook page and Twitter for the latest news.

Until I see you at the spring conference, may this be a positively successful school year for both you and your students. ¡Adelante! Onward!

Cassandra Lawrence is Vice President of NJTESOL/NJBE and 2012 Spring Conference Chair. She is also a 4th grade bilingual education teacher in Perth Amboy.