Voices Vol 41 No 4

SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS: Parent/Community Action

Social Media Opens Doors for Parent and Community Action

By Karen Nemeth

One of the best ways to build your parent and community action efforts is to engage with social media.  It is also a great way to build a broader professional learning community that extends beyond the boundaries of your district so that you can accomplish your personal learning goals while helping to build supports for the families of your ELL students at the same time. Social networking gives you access to information and resources that will help you work with your ELL families more effectively. It can help you build those two-way connections so that you have more information coming in to assist your families and you have more information going out to the community about the value of your ESL and bilingual education programs.

You might want to start with Twitter.  Joining Twitter is free. Once you set up an account, you can follow Judie Haynes and me by typing in @JudieHaynes or @KarenNemethEdM . You can join in discussions and share resources in our international network by searching for #ELLCHAT .  We convene a live chat on a selected topic with this group every Monday evening  at 9:00.

You can find local, state, and national information at your fingertips on Twitter.  When you can’t make it to a conference, you can still learn from the people who are attending by following twitter feeds.  If you need a specific resource for a student, just post your question on Twitter for quick answers.  You will also find the latest reports and studies on ELLs and their families to help you with advocacy and grant writing. You can find all kinds of local information about New Jersey by following such tweeters as:

#njfamilymag – New Jersey Family Magazine
#commfoodbanknj – the Community Food Bank of New Jersey
#nj211 – The New Jersey Information Hotline for Community Resources.

If you like Facebook, you may be surprised at how many professional resources you can find there.  The ELLCHAT Twitter group also has a Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/ELLCHAT/105656129477631
So does the New Jersey Department of Human Services:

And of course, you will want to follow your own NJTESOL/NJBE at

Here are some great resources that I have found through my participation on Twitter and Facebook:

For more ideas, sign on to the Facebook pages or Twitter accounts of:


Please consider sharing some of the activities and resources that you use for parent engagement and community outreach by submitting a workshop proposal for the NJTESOL/NJBE spring conference.  There was quite a crowd of interested SIG members at the 2012 conference.  We know that these are topics critical to our members.  If you have questions about writing proposals, or ideas to share – please feel free to contact me!

Karen Nemeth is owner of Language Castle LLC and the Coordinator, NJTESOL/NJBE Parent/Community Action SIG. She may be reached at knemeth@njtesol -njbe.org