Special Interest Groups

Bilingual Elementary


By Gregory Romero

Gregory Romero

Reading some of the NJ TESOL Hotlist posts in the last month, I was surprised to read about the controversy regarding the PARCC* versus the ACCESS* for English language learners (ELLs.) The question didn’t seem to center on the issue of whether ELLs should be exempt from testing nor the issue of over testing, but rather on whether ELLs should be forced to take the ACCESS when they are also obligated to take the PARCC. Some of the Hotlist contributors seemed to indicate that the PARCC could be a true indicator of English language performance for ELLs.

The ACCESS for ELLs and the PARCC measure different skill sets. The ACCESS for ELLs was developed to measure English language learning and is aligned to the WIDA standards. It measures student mastery of the language of the various content areas: social studies, science, math, etc. It measures growth in the proficiency of language usage and language complexity; it measures academic language proficiency; in other words, it measures how much English language our students are learning and indicates when our students are ready to be mainstreamed into the monolingual classroom.

The PARCC, on the other hand, is a test that is meant to measure content knowledge. It is meant to measure which concepts in math and language arts the student has mastered and which concepts have yet to be acquired. Of course, we want to know this information with regard to our ELLs, but the PARCC will not be able to adequately give us this information as the PARCC , with the exception of the Spanish math, is in English and ELLs with low English proficiency  will fail to meet the proficiency goals of this test. The only thing that the PARCC will measure in the case of ELLs is the lack of English proficiency. It will fail to indicate what ELL students know in content. The PARCC will not provide a true understanding of the ability of ELL students.

As ELL specialists, we need to encourage the Department of Education to use a valid testing instrument that will give a clear picture of what our students know in the area of English language as well as how the instructional practices of ELL specialists have impacted on student learning. ELL specialists must advocate for exams that are valid and reliable in their area of expertise and whose results can be used to improve learning and instruction in the field of second language acquisition.

At the same time, the Department of Education (DOE) needs to stop over testing our ELL students who this month will take both the PARCC and the ACCESS for ELLs. If the Department of Education wants to measure the content knowledge of ELL students, it must provide the PARCC in a variety of languages other than English. Therefore, until the DOE produces a valid and reliable testing instrument that measures content for ELL students, ELL specialists and others involved in the instruction of ELLs need to advocate for the use of the ACCESS which is a valid and reliable instrument to measure language proficiency and ask the DOE to exempt all ELL students from PARCC.

Gregory Romero, Bilingual Elementary SIG, romeroeducates@gmail.com


Bilingual/ESL Middle School

Time For Change

By Noreen M. Drucker

Currently, I am serving my last term on the NJTESOL/NJBE Executive Board. I can’t believe how quickly the time has passed. I have been on the Board since June 2009, serving first as the ESL Elementary SIG (Special Interest Group) Representative and then as the Middle School ESL/Bilingual SIG Representative.

It is time for a change. It is time to encourage you, our members, to run for a position on the Board. If you are an ESL or bilingual teacher, supervisor, or a district administrator and a member of NJTESOL/NJBE, I encourage you to step up, fill out the nomination form and run for a seat on the Board.

The NJTESOL/NJBE Executive Board has a lot to offer you. It is a diverse board with members who are supervisors, district coordinators, teachers, authors, and administrators. Every one of them is a staunch advocate for ELLs. Every one of them is an expert in his or her field and willing to share that expertise with you.

Experience is still the best teacher and you can get a lot of that by becoming a member of the Board.  My experience on the Board has helped me tremendously in many ways. I learned a lot about advocacy and the need to persevere just the way our students do. I learned a lot about the Department of Education and the role it plays. I learned about strategies, teaching methodologies, theory and practice. Perhaps most of all, I learned to be part of a team whose entire focus was on giving a voice to those who were not being heard.

You have a lot to offer the Executive Board as well. You have your knowledge, your personal and professional experiences, and your desire to help our ELLs reach their true potential. You are passionate about what you do.  You are willing to work very hard to advocate for these students.

The Executive Board meets nine times a year and is responsible for sponsoring our annual conference in May. Members of the board often make presentations and do whatever is necessary to make our conference the success it has been over the years. 

Get involved. Our students are counting on you.

Noreen Drucker, ESL and Bilingual Middle School SIG Rep.

Bilingual Secondary

The Impact of Testing on ELLs

By Yasmin Hernández-Manno

As the schools across the state began the administration of the PARCC* standardized tests in March, there was great difficulty being experienced by our English language learners (ELLs,) in particular due to the English Language Arts (ELA ) portion being in English.   As I visited schools and districts, I saw the frustration of both students and staff in trying to get through and complete these tests despite new and modified accommodations that allow for unlimited extended time.  Our secondary bilingual students are at greater disadvantage since there are no exemptions, despite years in the program, from testing.  Our newcomers, level 1 and level 2 students with very limited English language skills, are at a greater risk when trying to complete these grade level mandated tested skills. 

It would be in the best interest of our ELLs if they were exempt from standardized testing for at least two (2) years to allow their English acquisition skills to be developed and acquire mastery of grade level content skills.  Florida has taken the lead in winning flexibility in accountability for the ELLs using the PARCC assessment when the United States Department of Education (USDOE) granted their request.  For further information refer to: 


* Editor’s Note:  (From the PARCC website) The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is a group of states working together to develop a set of assessments that measure whether students are on track to be successful in college and their careers.

Yasmin Hernández-Manno, Secondary Bilingual SIG Representative

Early Childhood

Looking Forward To Spring

By Monica Schnee

Spring is almost here though you would not know it by looking out the window from my seat on a bus going from New York to Washington, DC. I have been making this journey every weekend for the last 5 weeks, watching how the Delaware River is covered with ice, staring at the white and grey stretches of land on the side of the bus as we drive south on I-95. However, this weekend, the air feels different though the landscape is still the same. It almost feels like spring and as we all know, spring is the time when we all have to monitor our students’ growth as we administer the ACCESS* Test. Of course, just like this winter when we have been on overload with snow and shoveling and endless white landscapes, we are also on test overload.

Many of us are doing double testing duties, administering and/or proctoring PARCC* while also beginning to administer the ACCESS in the afternoons to those students in the “non-testing” grades. Just like spring brings a sense of renewal, so does administering the ACCESS to our kindergartners as we marvel at their growth. They are full of budding blossoms as they speak to us now, no longer with gestures or in one word answers but in short phrases or multiple sentences. They are ready to sprout as they sound out each word trying to write down their thoughts. They are beginning to bloom as they decode words and sentences and show us that growth comes with nurturing and SPRING.  So as I test my younger English learners, I am reminded that though they are beginning to blossom and bloom there is still so much more growth to come as they go through this spring and summer and return to us in the fall, already as first graders. As cumbersome and tiresome as administering the ACCESS Test may be, it is also a wonderful peek into our youngsters’ growth. In my personal view, instead of seeing this time as one of drudgery and tediousness, I see it as the moment when at last, I can breathe and anticipate the wonders of spring.

The first picture is of a beach in Southold, NY. The land you see beyond the trees is Shelter Island across an icy bay. The second picture is the view of the Delaware River from my window going down I 95 South.

Southold       Delaware Rover Scene

A True Spring Reminder

Please join us at our Spring Conference on May 27 and 28. We will be looking at our new Model Curriculum Kindergarten Unit at our workshop. As you take a look at it, you will see that it is all about spring and growth.

Please join me, Karen Nemeth, and other early childhood educators at our Special Interest Group (SIG) meeting and be ready to share your own growth, challenges, and successes.  This will be the perfect opportunity to discuss how we deal with challenges in our classrooms and the strategies and best practices we use to ensure success for all our learners.

See you all in the SPRING!

The unit can be found at http://www.state.nj.us/education/modelcurriculum/ela/exemplars/k.pdf

A new resource from the US Department of Education with a wonderful example of Home Language Survey in English and other languages:

Tools and Resources for Identifying English Learners: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/ellresources.html .

Monica Schnee, Pre K-Kindergarten SIG Representative

* Editor’s Note:  (From the PARCC and ACCESS websites) The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is a group of states working together to develop a set of assessments that measure whether students are on track to be successful in college and their careers. ACCESS for ELLs (Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Language Learners) is a secure large-scale English language proficiency assessment given to Kindergarten through 12th graders who have been identified as English language learners (ELLs). It is given annually in WIDA Consortium member states to monitor students' progress in acquiring academic English. ACCESS for ELLs is only available to Consortium member states.


WIDA Model

Click here to enter Website


ESL Secondary

Advocacy and 2015 Spring Conference

By Marcella Garavaglia

I would like to thank the NJTESOL/NJBE Shore Area Chapter for allowing me to present at their meeting on February 26, 2015 at the Margaret Vetter School in Eatontown. Mark your calendar for their end of the year dinner on Thursday, June 4th at Babur Gardens at the Cobblestone Shops in Ocean Township. Please RSVP to susiemalta@msn.com. All are welcome!

At the February meeting, we discussed the 40th Anniversary of The New Jersey Bilingual Education Act and why it is crucial to advocate for our English language learners (ELLs) especially this year with the changes in state testing and graduation requirements. Please familiarize yourself with the NJ Bilingual Education Act and review the Position Statement on Protecting the Rights of English Language Learners provided by NJTESOL/NJBE. Also, visit the Legislative Alerts page for updated legislative information that will affect you and your ELLs and bilingual students. This page provides a multitude of government and advocacy websites that can assist educators in our fight to protect the rights of ELLs.

How have you raised awareness of the New Jersey Bilingual Code in your school(s)? Share your positive experiences on the hotlist.

There will be a plethora of information about advocacy at our 2015 NJTESOL/NJBE Spring Conference: Building Bridges for Language Learners in May.

The ESL Secondary Special Interest Group (SIG) will meet both Wednesday and Thursday. We will discuss topics such as NJ graduation requirements, PARCC accommodations, ACCESS for ELLs 2.0, SGOs, the Common Core State Standards, the NJDOE Model Curriculum, the NJ Bilingual Code, and advocacy.

My colleague and NJTESOL/NJBE Secretary, Caia Schlessinger, and I will also present, Model Curriculum Unit for High School, on Thursday, May 28th. Check out the preliminary schedule for all workshops and presentations for Wednesday, May 27th and Thursday, May 28th on the NJTESOL/NJBE website.

I look forward to seeing all of you at the spring conference! Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.

Marcella Garavaglia, ESL Secondary SIG Representative
ESL teacher, Freehold Regional High School District, marcellagaravaglia@gmail.com

Higher Education

Connections at the 2015 Spring Conference

By Howard Pomann

At this years’ NJTESOL/NJBE Spring Conference, there will again be a Higher Education Workshop Strand on Wednesday, May 27th.  Presentations will highlight a broad range of issues related to program development, language instruction, and assessment. The improvement of learners’ academic English writing and reading skills through innovative project based/collaborative learning methodologies will be at the core of many presentations which will focus on content area learning communities, task-based activities, integration of the cloud, and corpus informed grammar instruction.  Other presentations will focus on study skills, first year experience, and language acquisition.

For the first time, the Higher Education and Adult Education Special Interest Groups (SIGs) will have a joint SIG Meeting “Bridging the Gap”.  In this session, we will explore strategies in adult and higher education programs that provide pathways to employment opportunities in their professions.  In New Jersey, there are many foreign-educated immigrants who had skilled jobs and/or university experience in their countries and are now attending ESL programs in credit and non-credit community college ESL programs, as well as workforce development and community-based ESL programs throughout the state. In this presentation, we will share successful strategies for providing career advisement, credentialing for prior university and life experience, content-based ESL instruction, short term-training, stackable certificates, and other initiatives that will enhance opportunities for students to pursue their chosen careers.

The annual Spring Conference provides multiple opportunities for faculty from higher education to visit publishers and network with our K-12 and adult education colleagues, to share our common methodologies, concerns, and initiatives.  At the conference, higher education faculty will have the opportunity to become familiar with the common core PARCC* standards/assessment, and plans for implementation in K-12.  This is an important issue that higher education faculty and programs need to get more involved with and need to support efforts of NJTESOL/NJBE and K-12 faculty in their efforts to be sure these standards are applied appropriately with ESL students.

I look forward to seeing you at both days of the conference.

Howard Pomann is the Director of the Institute for Intensive English, Union County Collegepomann@ucc.edu, 908-965-6030

* Editor’s Note- From the PARCC website: The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is a group of states working together to develop a set of assessments that measure whether students are on track to be successful in college and their careers.


Parent and Community Action

Parent and Community Action Update

By Karen Nemeth

When you read this article, we will be looking back on International Mother Language Day (February 21, 2015).  This celebration of linguistic and cultural diversity began in 2000. According to the United Nations website http://www.un.org/en/events/motherlanguageday/, the General Assembly adopted a resolution in 2007 “to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world”.  While the date may have passed, the message is a great reminder of the work we need to do on behalf of our ELLs and their families all year long.  Head Start’s National Center on Cultural and Linguistic Awareness provides a whole collection of resources in honor of the day here: http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/tta-system/cultural-linguistic/mother-language.html  These can be used to inform staff, community members, families, policy makers and funders.

Another advocacy initiative that is taking shape this year is the Dual Language Learners National Work Group organized by Conor P. Williams at New America’s Early Education Initiative. You can learn more about the group and its work here:  http://www.edcentral.org/dllworkgrouplaunch/

Advocacy has been an important topic on the NJTESOL/NJBE email listserv this school year with many questions and discussions about New Jersey’s assessments. With so much at stake, this is a particularly important year to attend the NJTESOL/NJBE Spring Conference on May 27-28 in New Brunswick. One of our keynote speakers, Diane Staehr-Fenner, is well known for her advocacy for ELLs and the educators who work with them. She recently started a Twitter hashtag #Advocacy4ELs where educators share ideas, concerns, news and resources that can help build parent involvement and community action. Judie Haynes and I also continue to co-host the Monday night Twitter chat event at 9:00 using hashtag #ELLCHAT.

And now… an important announcement: The Parent Involvement/Community Action SIG needs a new coordinator. My term is ending and I hope one of you will click on this link to the board position nomination form and join the NJTESOL/NJBE Executive Board  http://www.njtesol-njbe.org/nominations/default.htm .

Karen Nemeth, Coordinator, Parent and Community Action SIG

Socio-Political Issues:

Celebrating Our History... Informing Our Future!

By Elizabeth Franks

"First, I want to speak for the 64,000 NJ Limited English Proficiency children who remind me of my mother; a 14-year old immigrant who because of her limited English proficiency was placed into a second grade classroom in Jersey City in 1968 when she arrived in this country; a teenage girl whose parents were generous, loving, and kind but far too fearful of the big American school system to ever question its authority. The school system did not welcome them with a translator or tour of their monolithic buildings. The school system did not treat my grandparents as part of the team. They didn’t show much respect for non-English speaking, poor agricultural workers and seamstresses."
Michelle McFadden DiNicolain testimony to the NJ Study Commission on the 
Use of Student Assessments

Unfortunately, for Michelle’s mother, the New Jersey Bilingual Education Act was not passed until 1975. However, thousands of stories like hers were the impetus for the New Jersey Legislature to act and approve this law to protect the rights of whom we now call “English learners” (ELs).   It is highly unlikely that in this day and age, a 14 year old would be placed in a second grade classroom, but sadly, some of the other facts in her story still remain 40 years later in too many places in NJ: parents too fearful of the American school system; a less-than-welcoming atmosphere; a system that expects ELs who have just arrived in the US to sit for academically rigorous assessments in English; and more often than not, a system that lacks respect for immigrant children and parents and views parents as part of the problem rather than a member of the team.

Many educators may be surprised to learn that a New Jersey Bilingual Education Law (http://www.state.nj.us/education/code/current/title6a/chap15.pdf) even exists and that regulations are in New Jersey Administrative Code which defines the roles and responsibilities of districts in the appropriate education of ELs.

Did you know that parents must complete a home language survey upon registration?
Did you know that daily ESL services are required?
Did you know that ELs can also receive Special Education services?
Did you know that districts should meaningfully engage parents?

These are just a few of the sixteen sections addressed in New Jersey Administrative Code 6A: Chapter 15. In actuality, the Bilingual Education Act was based on the landmark Supreme Court decision, Lau v Nichol, which stated that, “There is no equality of treatment merely by providing students with the same facilities, textbooks, teachers, and curriculum; for students who do not understand English are effectively foreclosed from any meaningful education.” 

How ironic that 40 years later, due to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and PARCC assessments, we are again using the “same textbooks, teachers and curriculum.” In so doing, English learners are being “foreclosed from any meaningful education.”  Unfortunately, due to the recent reforms, the needs of these children are being overlooked and ignored. In some instances, districts have returned to the days of Pre-Lau, by requiring that teachers only use grade-level text. At the same time, some ESL teachers are “pushing in” and becoming aides in the classroom rather than developing the language needed to access the Common Core State Standards. Consequently, it is critical that all NJ stakeholders recognize the tenets of the Lau decision and subsequent legislation and implement the regulations so that ELs receive an appropriate education.

Demographics stress the importance of teachers being informed about the regulations and best practices that lead to ELs’ success.


so chances are that the majority of teachers in NJ, will, or have, encountered ELs and language minority students.

Even though there is a Bilingual Code, it does not address every concern that arises (e.g. assessment) and it is not always implemented consistently across the state. As a matter of fact, there has been minimal guidance or oversight on implementing the CCSS for ELs. Every district approaches the needs of these students in different ways. Some provide minimal services and expect the ESL teacher who travels to three schools and teaches across five grade levels to work miracles while others go beyond minimal services and provide additional language support and ongoing, sustained professional development for all staff. Several districts have full time bilingual programs and a growing number of districts are implementing dual language programs which value bilingualism for all.

Parents of our English learners trust us to do the right thing for their children.  They, like Michelle’s grandparents, feel overwhelmed by the American school system and would never think to question our authority.  Regrettably, current policies and practices seem to defy the Lau decision and ignore our own state law. In light of this situation, NJTESOL/NJBE has developed a Position Paper which offers recommendations to remedy this lack of protection of ELs’ rights and to rectify it by promoting best practices:  (see http://www.njtesol-njbe.org/announcements/default.htm for the complete paper)

  1. Assess ELs appropriately and establish valid accountability measures taking English Language Proficiency levels and language of instruction into consideration.
  2. Implement rigorous yet realistic high school graduation requirements whereby the second language acquisition process and first language alternative assessments are considered (N.J.A.C. 6A:15-1.4).
  3. Ensure that ELs receive effective instruction from certified specialists (N.J.A.C. 6A:15-1.9)
  4. Ensure that all teachers receive support on methods and strategies to effectively instruct ELs.
  5. Provide ELs with appropriate materials that reflect the reality of second language acquisition which is a “complex and long term process” (WIDA Guiding Principle  #9, 2014).
  6. Meaningfully engage parents of ELs in the educational community (N.J.A.C. 6A:15- 1.15).
  7. Award a Seal of Biliteracy to New Jersey students who demonstrate proficiency in English and another language (currently a joint grass-roots initiative by FLENJ   (Foreign Language Educators of New Jersey) and  NJTESOL/NJBE, more info at www.njtesol-njbe.org).

NJTESOL/NJBE encourages the State stakeholders to reconsider current rules and regulations and to use the history of the Bilingual Education Act to appropriately inform the future for this vulnerable population. As Jana Echevarria (2014) states, “English learners can least afford to waste time and opportunity in school.” We must ensure that we do not leave any child behind, that every child succeeds, that we do not inadvertently “push out” the children who most want to learn and to become a part of the American Dream.

NJTESOL/NJBE invites all stakeholders at every level to celebrate our history and to be a part of informing the future of ELs by committing to advocacy and implementing best practices as outlined in NJTESOL/NJBE’s position paper. Michelle’s grandparents and mother struggled and persevered so that their grandchild/daughter could succeed. Let’s hope that, as a State, New Jersey has learned something since 1968 and that we have the laws and the will to welcome and educate our newest Americans.

Elizabeth Franks is the Advocacy representative for NJTESOL/NJBE. She was a bilingual/ESL teacher and administrator for over 35 years and currently consults for Language & Literacy Associates for Multilingual and Multicultural Education (LLAMAME, LLC).

Special Education

The SPED Referral Process for ELLs

By Sonya Bertini

Ireceived an email a few weeks ago regarding the existence of rules or guidelines for evaluating an English language learner (ELL) for Special Education services during their first year in the country. I think my answer to the person who wrote me the email is actually useful to everyone. The answer in few words is no: there are no official rules or guidelines.

Nothing in the law states anything about any timeline that needs to be followed before referring a student to the Child Study Team. However, there is best practice. The optimum referral process of a student who is suspected in need of special education services is as follows: a teacher in contact with said student (could be classroom teacher, basic skills teacher, ESL teacher, bilingual teacher) is concerned over the lack of academic progress and/or appropriate behavior of the student. She refers the student to the school Intervention and Referral Services Team (I&RS). The team meets and assigns a caseworker to further investigate the student’s issues. The caseworker may meet with the teacher and any other certified staff member who has contact with the student to get more information, he may check the student’s cumulative folder for past school records and interview the parents and/or the student to obtain further insight on the student’s academic performance and/or behavior. The team then meets with the teacher to suggest interventions and advise the teacher on how to better help the student. In the case of an ELL, student academic performance in the native country and proficiency in the L1 (native/primary language) must be considered when appropriate and the input of the ESL teacher is imperative.

If the interventions suggested do not prove to be effective and if all doubts concerning the normal process of second language acquisition are discarded, then a referral to the Child Study Team should be made. This must be done in writing. Any teacher or certified staff member in contact with the student can make the referral as well as the guidance counselor or I&RS team. The parents or guardians can make the referral also. Once receipt of the referral has been made, parents are informed of the referral and the Team has 20 days to hold an ID meeting and decide, based on all the documentation and interventions implemented, if testing is warranted. If it is, parents give their approval and the Team has 90 days to evaluate the student. The student is assigned a caseworker and parents are informed of the assessment plan. In the case of an ELL, to the extent that it is possible, a bilingual assessor should evaluate the student in order to determine if  he or she should be evaluated only in the L1, in both languages, or only in the L2 (the second language).

According to the law, multidisciplinary assessment in all areas of the suspected disability, or disabilities, should be carried out. These assessments should be done in the language of the student whenever possible; which is not necessarily L1 but the language the student speaks and in which he/she is dominant.

Within 10 days of holding the Eligibility Meeting parents must receive notification of said meeting in writing as well as reports of all the evaluations that have been carried out.  At the Eligibility Meeting, the IEP (Individual Education Plan) team (CST members, the parent(s), general education teacher, special education teacher and, in the case of a preschool student, the speech therapist) decides if the student has an impairment and if s/he is in need of special education. If the student has qualified for Special Education Services, the IEP is written collaboratively and placement in the least restrictive environment is decided. The parents have 15 days to agree to the IEP. If they do, the IEP is implemented and it is reviewed at least annually along with the student’s placement.

The IEP team does a reevaluation of the student every three years, unless the parents and school agree not to for some reason. It is extremely important to keep in mind that because of a disability, or disabilities, ELLs who qualify for Special Education Services have a greater need for meaningful access to grade level academic content through the language they best understand with appropriate supports and related services. In New Jersey, the Bilingual Code guarantees that these students receive the language supports they need while receiving the learning supports they are entitled to. One service does not trump the other.

To sum up then, there is no legal stipulation as to when an English language learner can be referred or tested. There is best practice. Language proficiency should never be the sole determinant of referral. A teacher should not wait until a student has oral proficiency in English before referring if a disability is suspected, nor should she refer a student who is not learning English at the same rate as his classmates, because the reasons for this may have nothing to do with a disability.

Once a referral to the Child Study Team is made, the same legal steps that are followed for an English speaking student must be followed for an ELL.

Sonya Bertini, SPED SIG, Vineland Public Schools, sctb58200@yahoo.com


Spring Testing and Conference Highlights

By Regina Postogna

As of the first week of March, school districts have begun PARCC* test administration with testing coordinators and district administrators aware and implementing ELL testing accommodations.

The link below will take you to the PARCC Accessibility Features and Accommodations Manual, Third Edition. Follow the link below to access it.
Spring is almost here which correlates with the annual ACCESS* test administration. The testing window and due date of materials has been extended by an additional week.

Test Window 03/02/15 04/24/15 54
Additional Materials Deadline   04/03/15  
Districts Pack Completed Material 04/24/15 05/1/15 8
Districts Ship Completed Material to MT   05/1/15  

For additional information see the website below.

I will be co-hosting the Supervisors’ Special Interest Group (SIG)/New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association (NJPSA) Roundtable discussion with Dr. Mary Reece from NJPSA on Wednesday, May 27. It is a wonderful opportunity to meet and share information with your administrative colleagues throughout the state of New Jersey.

On both Wednesday and Thursday, Lori Ramella and Ken Bond from the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) will be presenting on the Administrative Code (Chapter 15, Bilingual Education) and State Initiatives in Bilingual Education. There will also be many workshops on current topics in bilingual education. Come join us for an engaging and informative Spring Conference.

Dr. Regina M. Postogna, K-12 ELL/WL Supervisor, South Orange/Maplewood School District


Teacher Education

The Teacher Education Special Interest Group at the Spring Conference

By Kristi A. Bergman

This year’s NJTESOL/NJBE Spring Conference will be held on May 27th and May 28th at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in New Brunswick.  Whether you are interested in learning more about classroom teaching techniques or updates on standardized testing, you will find many different presentations, workshops, and sessions.  If you are interested in learning about current research topics in ESL, please plan on attending the Cutting Edge Research with the Graduate School Forum, which is scheduled for May 27, 2015.

Some of the topics to be discussed at this year’s forum include: Using Video and Online Games for Teaching/Learning, Understanding Willingness to Communicate among ELLs, The Role of Language Chunks in Second Language Acquisition, and Retention and Goals of ESL Students.  Each panel guest will present his/her research for approximately 10 minutes and the session will end with a Question & Answer period. 

In addition to the Cutting Edge Research with the Graduate School Forum session, there will also be poster sessions throughout both days.  Some of the posters being presented include:  What in the World is a Glog?; Project Based Instruction for ELLs; Teaching for All; Strategies to Meet the Common Core English Language Arts; and Next Generation Science Standards.

For recent graduates, or experienced teachers, interested in learning more about cutting edge research, I encourage you to attend the Graduate Forum session and to speak with poster presenters.  Regardless of what sessions you attend, it is certain that you will leave with a better understanding of what is new in our field, with more ideas for your classroom, and with new connections from across the state.

I look forward to seeing you in late May.  If you have any questions about the topics at the Cutting Edge Research with the Graduate School Forum, or if you would like to share a project or lesson in a poster session, please email me at kristi.bergman@rutgers.edu.

Kristi A. Bergman, Teacher Education SIG Representative