May 2016 RBERN eNews
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This month’s issue focuses on supporting literacy for ELLs. Literacy is one of the key components of academic achievement not only for English Language Learners but for all students.  Check out this issue for tips and ideas to help build students’ literacy.

In the spirit of literacy, The City of Hudson opened a new library on April 9th in the old Armory building at 51 N. 5th Street.  There is an adult and children’s section with computers and lounge areas, as well as a senior center.  The city will also host one of the largest book festivals in the state on Saturday May 7th.  Read below for more information.  

Hudson Book Festival
            by Lisa Dolan

The Eighth Annual Hudson Children’s Book Festival (HCBF) takes place on Saturday, May 7th, 2016 on the campus of the Hudson Junior/Senior High School on Harry Howard Ave. in Hudson. 
This year, the festival hosts 75 children’s authors and illustrators with participants traveling from as far away as Washington State!

A highlight on the long list of luminaries from the children’s lit world is recent Newbery Medal Winner, Kwame Alexander!  He joins a host of additional award-winning children’s authors such as Jane Yolen, Mark Teague, Terry Trueman, Wendell Minor, Todd Strasser, Nick Bruel, James Preller, and Bruce Degen.  Maira Kalman will also make her debut HCBF appearance!

Featured in our “Author Hall” are local notables Jennifer Berne, Keith Bendis, Lisa Lamonica, Luke LaMarca, Dan Udell,  Katherine Gardner, Amber Harris, and Marbara & Victor Mojica.

The Hudson Children’s Book Festival prides itself on sustaining and extending a culture of literacy in the Hudson community.  A visit to the venue may have you meeting and greeting world-class authors, sitting in on author/illustrator read-alouds, perusing and picking up a host of “freebies” in the ever-popular “Community Room,” or hanging out with friends relaxing with some delicious food!

Stop by on May 7th.  Purchase a signed book for that special collector in your life.  Meet the “best of the best”, bringing words to life, fostering a love of reading and learning!  The event runs from 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.  You don’t want to miss this one!
Content Corner 
Check our Content Corner for content area strategies, topics and tips to use with your English Language Learners. This month’s topic: supporting literacy for ELLs

The following article was written by a local teacher for  Read the full article to see how she used global literature to support literacy for her students.
Building Global Understanding through Collaborative Relationships
ESL Students Find Themselves and Expand their Horizons through Global Literature
by Heather O’Leary

Twenty-five enthusiastic ESL students, grades K-6, from a small urban school district, participated with me in the Tri-Cities Global Literacy Community. Our elementary school of 400 students is one of nine in the district and has a free lunch rate of 81%. Our school is considered “high needs” and is deemed “low-performing.” Although these labels bring frequent accountability visits, rigorous reporting requirements, and implementation of yearly improvement plans, they fail to convey the work and spirit of our ESL classroom. We have a lively and productive learning community and are fortunate to have the support of a talented and energetic principal.
Click here to read the full article.


Home Strategies
Reading Tips for Parents (in 11 Languages)
By: Reading Rockets
A child's success as a reader begins much earlier than the first day of school. Reading, and a love for reading, begins at home. Our one-page parent tips offer easy ways for parents to help kids become successful readers. Although we've divided these tips by age, many of them can be used with children at various ages and stages — we encourage you to choose the ones that work best for your child.
Click here to read the full article.
Click here for additional resources.

Highlighting Success
Congratulations to Betsey Domenico on her article in NYSUT’s United April publication.  Betsey teaches ENL at Giffen Elementary School in Albany, NY.  Read her article on strategies for encouraging Home-School and Community Connections, strategies for engaging students through Karaoke, Destiny Sticks and Reader’s Theater. Click here to read the full article.
Coming Next Month
Our topic will be: low-literacy and SIFE

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RBERN Announcements

Save the Date!

May 4 and 11, 2016 3:30 - 5:00– Assessment Webinar Series
The Capital District RBERN would like to invite you to participate in a two part webinar series hosted by Learner-Center Initiatives.  These two webinars will focus on the questions. How can we be confident that we’re assessing what matters and how can we better engage our students? Click here to register.  

June 3, 2016 – Literacy and English Language Learners (ELLs) Conference
Dr. Diane Staehr Fenner will offer a full day of professional development on the topic of Literacy and English language learners (ELLs).  In this hands-on session, participants will explore the multifaceted topic of developing ELLs’ reading and writing skills in English. Participants will be offered a suite of tools to develop ELLs’ literacy and will have the opportunity to collaboratively explore one tool in depth.  This event will be held at the Questar III Central Administration Conference Center.  Look for registration information soon. Click here to register. 

June 27, 2016 – Conference on ELLs with Interrupted Formal Education (SIFE)
Look for registration information soon.

June 30, 2016 - Conference on ELLs and Math
Look for registration information soon.

April - June, 2016 – Learner-Centered Assessment Webinar Series
Creating and administering diversified assessments that promote learning and minimize distractions can be challenging.  In recognition of this need, LCI has developed a series of webinars that introduce the attributes of learner-centered assessments, and provide concrete examples and tools for implementing them into the classroom.  This series consists of 10 individual webinars covering the subject areas of Physical Education and Health, Languages other than English, Science, Music and Performing Arts, Visual Arts, Mathematics, Early Childhood, Special Education and ELL, Social Studies and History, English Language Arts, Technology, FACS and CTE. Click on the subject you are interested in to register.


Field Advisory: Testing Accommodations for Students with Disabilities and English Language Learners

EngageNY has released a series of webinettes that can be used to help align instruction to the administration of the NYSESLAT: 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

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

Honigsfeld & Dove: Seven Co-Teaching Models

CR Part 154 Units of Study Tables

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

May 13, 2016 – Free Book Giveaway
On May 13th at 11:30 am, The Commission on Economic Opportunity’s Early Childhood Services will be hosting a book giveaway as part of this year’s Community Action Day. It will take place at CEO’s Downtown Troy location at 2320 Fifth Ave, in the courtyard.  There will be books for all ages.  The Troy Public Library will also be present to assist families in signing families and individuals up for library cards. 
May 20, 2016 – XXV Symposium of Children and Young Adult Spanish Literature
This event will be held at the Cervantes Institute of New York from 8:00-3:00 and will also be conducted in Spanish.  Click here to register.  Click here for more information in English.  Click here for more information in Spanish.

SUNY Oneonta Online Bilingual Education Program – SUNY Oneonta is offering a new tuition assisted Online Bilingual Education Extension Advanced Certificate Program.  This online program which consists of five graduate level courses, is tuition assisted for qualified students by the New York State Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages. Click here for more information.

SUNY New Paltz Clinically Rich Teacher Institute – Are you interested in studying to receive your certification in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)? SUNY New Paltz will begin classes for two cohorts of participants in May and September.  Click here for more information.

Discover Swarthmore –Swarthmore College is requesting nominations for their Discover Swarthmore (DS) program. The program will provide participants with a taste of the college experience, including the opportunity to meet other talented students, learn from faculty members, eat in our dining hall, and spend a few nights in our residence halls with student hosts. Nominations are due by July 31, 2016. Click here for the nomination form.  Click here for more information on the program.

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.

Area Schools and BOCES are offering ESL classes and High School Equivalency (HSE) classes
Click here for information on ESL Classes
Click here for information on HSE Classes

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 is looking for volunteers.  This organization teaches people of all ages to read, write and speak English. Click here for more information.

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. 


ELA Glossaries (grades 3-8) are now available thanks to the NYS Satewide Language RBE-RN.  They are available in: Arabic, Bengali, Chinese (Simplified & Traditional), French, Haitian, Hindi, Karen, Korean, Nepali, Punjabi, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Ukrainian, Uzbek and Vietnamese.
Looking for additional resources on supporting literacy for ELLs? Check out these sites:
Educator’s Voice – NYSUT’s Journal of Best Practices in Education

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

Looking to learn a new language? Click the icon below for information on the language learning software company Lexikeet.  They offer more than just language learning!

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

Are you looking for Spanish Language materials?  Scholastic has released their 2016 Spanish Product Guide. Click here for more information.

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


Important Upcoming Testing Information:
NYSESLAT Speaking: April 12 – May 13
NYSESLAT Listening, Reading and Writing:  May 2 – May 13
Final date to submit answer sheets to scanning centers: May 26
Questar III Regional Scoring: May 17 (K-6) and May 18 (7-12) 


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

Jessa Waterhouse
Resource Specialist

Lindsey Konderwich
Support Specialist
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