January / February 2016 RBERN eNews
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This month’s issue focuses on Science for English Language Learners. This content area can present specific challenges, but it can also be a great learning experience because of all the opportunities to create hands on activities that foster content knowledge and language acquisition. has a great clip on how to support ELLs through projects.  Click on the photo to view. 

Content Corner 
Check our Content Corner for content area strategies, topics and tips to use with your English Language Learners. This month’s topic: Integrating Science for English Language Learners

Effective Strategies for Teaching Science Vocabulary by Sarah J. Carrier
In order for students to develop scientific literacy, they need to gain a knowledge of science content and practice scientific habits of mind. This is impossible without knowledge of science vocabulary. This article shares research-based strategies for science vocabulary instruction that are effective for all students, including English language learners. 
Click here to read the whole article.  
The City School District of Albany Celebrates Karen New Year at Hackett Middle School

On Sunday January 3, 2016 Hackett Middle School in Albany, NY was host to the Karen refugee community as they celebrated one of the most important days on their calendar.

The Karen (pronounced, kahr-EHN) are an ethnic group from the mountainous regions of Thailand and Myanmar, formerly Burma. Karen New Year is traditionally celebrated on the first day of the month of Pyathoe, signaling the end of the rice harvest.

This was the sixth Karen New Year celebration held by the Karen community in Albany and the first time it was hosted by the City School District of Albany.  It was a huge success as evidenced by the 800 people who attended, and the warmth and appreciation which reverberated in the halls of Hackett Middle School. 

The day included opening remarks by Karen elders, a welcome by Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, remarks from Albany Police Chief Brendan Cox and was presented by Tom Giglio, Director of ENL and Refugee Services and Lily Htoo, Home School Coordinator for the district who also served as event translator.  The celebration included traditional and contemporary music and dance, a Karen lunch, and artifacts which were available for purchase.

As these newcomers work to re – establish their lives in their new city, the school, their school, plays a pivotal role in their lives.  To be part of the process of bridging the gap between their previous and new experiences is an awesome and complex responsibility.  Part of this responsibility is to help newcomers keep their stories and their traditions whole as they transition to new lives.  Hackett Middle School did just that on January 3!


Home Strategies
Tips for Parents of Struggling Adolescent Writers
By: Colorín Colorado
By the time American students graduate from high school, they are expected to have learned how to write effectively for a variety of purposes, from writing letters and stories to essays and research reports. Many middle and high school students dislike writing, however, and students who are learning English as a second language may have particular difficulty with writing. In this article we will discuss some of the reasons that older students may want to avoid writing, as well as some ways that you can help your teen become a better writer
Click here to read the full article from Colorín Colorado. 
Coming Next Month
Our topic will be Assessment and Evaluation of ELLs.

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RBERN Announcements

Save the Date!

February 3, 2016 - Focus Group III
The Capital District RBERN would like to invite you to the third Focus Group of the year on February 3, 2016.  Senior School Improvement Specialist Jane King will be presenting on the Next Generation Science Standards for grades 3-8 and how to apply them for English Language Learners. Click here for registration information. 
February 23, 2016 - Assessment and Evaluation of English Language Learners
This conference will delve into the different methods that can be used to create assessments and evaluations for English Language Learners and how to use them to effectively assess your students to inform instruction.  We will consider effective benchmark assessments, how to differentiate evaluations, and how to ensure your students are making progress at all proficiency levels. This event will be held at the Questar III Conference Center, 10 Empire State Boulevard, Castleton, NY 12033. Click here for registration information. 

March 3 and 4, 2016 - 2016 NYSESLAT Training of the Trainers
The 2016 NYSESLAT Training of the Trainers will be held over a two day period. This training will provide an overview of changes for the 2016 NYSESLAT, a thorough understanding of the scoring rubrics, information on administering the NYSESLAT, and practice scoring for the Speaking and Writing sections. Click here for registration information. 
            Click here for the MetriTech, Inc. Memo
            Click here for the 2016 Agenda
            Click here for the 2016 Training Locations


Bilingual Education Program Announcement of Funding Opportunity - The New York State Education Department (NYSED) and Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages (OBEWL), is seeking applications from Public School Districts for a Bilingual Education Program (transitional bilingual and one-way and two-way dual language) that provides English Language Learners (ELLs) with home language instruction as well as English/English as a New Language instruction.
NYSED and OBEWL, in collaboration with the City College of New York and Understanding Language Initiative at the Stanford Graduate School of Education, announce the second year of the New York ELL Leadership Institute.
            Click here for more information on the Albany meeting
            Click here for more information on the New York City area meeting

EngageNY has released a series of webinettes that can be used to help align instruction to the administration of the NYSESLAT:
Changes for the 2016 Grades 3-8 English Language Arts and Mathematics Tests

Updated Exit ELL Status Letters in 26 languages

Home Language Questionnaires now available in 41 languages

NYSED Official Parent Entitlement and Non-Entitlement Letters in 17 languages

Guide for Parents of English Language Learners in New York State in 24 Languages

ELL Student Placement Form now available in 26 Languages

Parent’s Backpack Guide to Common Core State Standards in 26 Languages

Information on the New York State Identification Test for English Language Learners (NYSITELL) in 23 different languages

Information for Parents on the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT) in 26 Languages

NYSESLAT Score Reports

Professional Development Requirements Chart

Professional Development Waiver Form

Parents’ Bill of Rights in nine different languages

Common Core State Standards Parent information in 26 different languages

Information on the New York State Identification Test for English Language Learners (NYSITELL) in 23 different languages

Honigsfeld & Dove: Seven Co-Teaching Models

CR Part 154 Units of Study Tables

NYS Reporting Requirements for the Education of English Language Learners

ELL Identification Process Chart

ELL Identification Chart Guidance

NYSITELL RAW Score to Performance Level Conversion Chart

Now available: Bilingual Common Core Progressions 3-8 for all grade levels

Guidance for Districts on Providing Services to Former ELLs

Information for Requesting, Shipping and Storing Test Materials for the 2015-2016 NYSITELL now available


Regional News and Events

February 11 – 13, 2016 – Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (NECTFL) Conference in New York City. Click here for more information.

NECTFL Scholarships Available! – Do you want to attend the NECTFL conference in February?  There are scholarships available for new and mentor teachers.  Click here for more information.

June 6, 2016 – July 29, 2016 – 2016 Summer Internship Program in Washington, D.C. This opportunity is for former Migrant and Seasonal Head Start students currently enrolled in college. Applications due February 26, 2016.  Click here for more information.

Local Albany Students win a trip to the Grammys – Two Albany middle school students won the sixth annual Grammy Foundation and MusiCares Teens Make Music Contest.  They submitted an original song about resisting drugs, alcohol and other negative influences.  Click here to read the article.

Carey Gabay Memorial Scholarship – Student who are incoming freshman at a State University of New York school are encouraged to apply for this scholarship.  Applications are due March 15th. Click here for more information.

Questar III Adult Education Programs – Questar III BOCES is offering High School Equivalency Preparation classes and Adult ENL classes. Click here for more information for Rensselaer County and click here for more information for Columbia and Greene Counties. You can also click here to find more information on their website.

Science for Every Child Scholarships – Thanks to SUNY Poly Children's Museum of Science and Technology parterns,
 SUNY Poly CMOST is offering scholarships for group visit admissions for February and March for children in grades Pre K–6.  Click here for more information.  

Looking for Scholarships? The Hispanic Scholarship Fund has many programs and resources for Latino students.  Click here for more information.

Are you a Spanish Teacher?  Instituto Cervantes offers a variety of courses for teachers as well as scholarships.
Click here for more information.


Looking to volunteer? Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County invites you to participate in Power Lunch at a School in Albany, Cohoes, East Greenbush or Troy.  For more information click here

Volunteers Needed - YOUTH POWER!’s Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program (RAMP) is looking for volunteers for their high-tech, career-focused mentoring program.  RAMP serves youths with disabilities ages 11-17 who are at risk of entering the juvenile justice system.  Volunteers will mentor youths about job options and how to set goals. Click here for more information. 


Looking for additional resources for Teaching Science to ELLs? Check out these sites: False Cognates (Spanish – English)

Cognates (English – Spanish)

Literary Terms & Devices in English and Spanish for Language Arts

NYSED Blueprint for ELLs Success and Common Core State Standards Information for Parents in a variety of Languages

Are you looking for bilingual word-to-word dictionaries? Attanasio & Associates offer these dictionaries in many different languages. Click here for more information. 

Colorín Colorado has updated their website! Check it out here. has an extensive library of videos to help teachers on a variety of topics.  

NYSUT has partnered with Mercy College to make it easier for teachers to pursue NYS TESOL and Bilingual certification.  Click here for more info.

OBE-WL Monthly Newsletter


Capital District RBERN

NYSED Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages


New York State Association for Bilingual Education

New York State TESOL

Engage NY

Albany U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants

Contact us

Should you have any questions related to English language learners, please do not hesitate to contact the RBERN.

Xrystya Szyjka

Yesenia Valle
Resource Specialist 

Jessa Waterhouse
Resource Specialist

Lindsey Konderwich
Support Specialist
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