The overarching goal for this year’s conference, the 4th Annual UFT ExcELLing Conference for ELLs (English Language Learners) and MLLs (Multilingual Learners), was to reach out to educators in sharing the most current strategies for teaching these students. Sessions provided to teachers throughout the day focused on “Next Generation Learning Standards”, “Academic Literacies”, “Parent Involvement”, “Data Analysis and Strategies”, and “How Bilingual Students Build Lifelong Practices through Conversations”. Anita Vazquez Batisti, Ph.D., Associate Dean and Director of Fordham’s Center for Educational Partnerships (of which RBE-RN is a part), was especially pleased that hundreds of dedicated education professionals chose to attend the NYC RBE-RN expert presentations.
Eva Garcia, RBE-RN Executive Director, noted that the organization’s work in this area is widespread: “Fordham seeks to participate in many events that provide and augment instructional strategies for teachers of ELLs/MLLs.” She added, “We are at the cutting edge of ELL education, and in keeping with our mission, we assist networks, schools, and districts across all five [NYC] boroughs to create professional learning communities centered on English language learner issues. By collaborating with several organizations simultaneously, we are able to build capacity and reach a larger platform in the ELL/MLL universe.”
Specific to this year’s UFT conference, Garcia applauded the commitment and advocacy of keynote speaker Santiago V. Wood, Ed.D., National Executive Director of the National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE). She characterized his remarks at the conference as “inspirational for the audience of ELL educators.” Garcia concluded, “It was a pleasure, privilege and as always, a distinctive opportunity to collaborate with the UFT, a true union of professionals.”