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August 5, 2020
Diversity of Voices Highlights Language Backgrounds of OELA Team
Language plays an important part of our lives. Here in OELA, we have a diverse staff that represents a myriad of languages that we are excited to highlight in July and August. Every Friday, our goal is to feature the voices of our team members speaking about their language backgrounds.
As we celebrate language as a dimension of American diversity, we encourage you to share these #FluentFriday posts with your community adding the languages you speak and the ways being multilingual has shaped your life.

Check out the next videos in the series:
Itzetht Testa is an Education Program Specialist and speaks Spanish and English. She uses her multilingual and multicultural background to communicate in her profession as she relates to those grantees and students she serves. Speaking multiple languages makes her life interesting, and she cannot imagine it any other way. Listen to her voice as she describes her love for her languages, her family, and her grantees.
Elizabeth Bucknor is an Education Program Specialist who speaks fluent French and conversational Spanish in addition to knowing the basics of Japanese, Korean, Italian, Arabic, and American Sign Language. Her passion for language and culture has propelled her academic and career journey for more than 20 years. Listen to her voice as she delves into the ways that languages have opened windows for her into new lifestyles, cultures, and ways of being.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to see the videos as they are posted!

OELA Celebrates the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 
OELA is proud to support the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 30th Anniversary. On July 26, 2020, we celebrated this important civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public.
The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. 

Looking for information on supporting EL students with disabilities? Take a look at these Department of Education resources:

Logo Credit: ADA National Network (
New Fact Sheet: English Learners Who Speak Somali as a Home Language
OELA’s newest fact sheet, English Learners Who Speak Somali as a Home Language, is available on the NCELA website. Key facts:

  • During the 2017–2018 school year (SY), Somali was the sixth most common home language group spoken by ELs with 41,264 speakers.

  • Since SY 2009–2010, the number of EL students in public elementary and secondary schools who speak Somali has increased by approximately 48%, or over 13,000 students.
  • During SY 2017–2018, Minnesota and Ohio had the highest numbers of EL students who speak Somali (16,810 and 3,978, respectively).
Multilingual Resources from the Ohio Statewide Family Engagement Center
Looking for multilingual family engagement resources? The Ohio Statewide Family Engagement Center has useful tools that have been translated into several of the top languages in the U.S. for families, including:

Tips for Families of Students Transitioning to Middle School – This one-page infographic is available in English, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese Simplified, Somali, and Nepali.
Encouraging Positive Behaviors at Home –This chart with directions for families is available in English, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese Simplified, Somali, and Nepali.

Information for Families about Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) – These informational brochures are available in English, Spanish, and Somali.

Welcome Video –This introductory video includes a summary on family engagement and why it matters and has a transcript that has been translated into Spanish, Arabic, Chinese Simplified, Somali, and Nepali. The transcript can be downloaded from the homepage just under the video. 
Upcoming Events
Join this 3:00 pm ET webinar facilitated by Diane Staehr Fenner of SupportEd and Gwyneth Fastnacht and Yutzil Becker of the South Dakota Department of Education to learn more about strategies and resources for supporting ELs in 2020-2021.
August 11 and 13, 17 and 19, 2020
Rapid Literacy: ELL Strategies for Secondary Emergent Readers
Online Workshop
The ability to successfully decode, comprehend, and infer is essential for students of all ages. This workshop will offer strategies to support students as they move towards acquiring greater literacy. Register for August 11 and 13 or August 17 and 19.
October 3, 2020
Virtual Conference
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the MIDTESOL 2020 conference “Community at a Crossroads: The Right to Education” will be held online. The conference will include keynotes from lexicographer and senior Cambridge ELL dictionary editor Kory Stamper and Dr. Christel Broady, Director of the ESL Teacher Education Program at Georgetown College.
November 19-22, 2020
Virtual Convention
The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) is hosting its annual convention virtually, with high-quality sessions, electronic posters, round tables, and a virtual exhibit hall. The convention will feature three keynote speakers: John Quiñones, Erin Jones, and Nyle DiMarco.
November 19-22, 2020
Virtual Convention
The 2020 National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Annual Convention will be held online in November. Registration rates and session details will be available by the end of July.
In the News
This article describes the El Paso Independent School District’s (EPISD) approach to supporting their students and successful transition to remote education. EPISD’s approach prioritized active learning and introduced district-wide dual language programming. The article lists five leadership traits that helped the district remain successful in supporting a linguistically and culturally diverse population of students. 
Danville Register & Bee
With schools reopening in just a few weeks, this rural Virginia county plans to provide instruction to students in a variety of ways. One of the provisions made for students in grades K–3, including ELs, is the opportunity to attend school in person four days a week if their families so chose. Instruction will also be provided virtually, or by providing students who do not have reliable Internet with printed instructional materials.
The Richmond Standard
The Contra Costa County Office of Education is teaming up with Californians TogetherSobrato Early Academic Language (SEAL) and Loyola Marymount University’s Center for Equity for English Learners (CEEL) to assist 19 county offices of education that serve nearly 77% of ELs in the state of California. This collaboration is intended to help counties support EL educators by providing professional development, technical assistance, and building capacity.
University of Colorado Boulder School of Education
The University of Colorado Boulder School of Education welcomed Jesús Rodríguez as the new Executive Director of the BUENO Center for Multicultural Education. The BUENO Center has a long legacy of serving educators and strengthening partnerships between the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education and Aims Community College, Otero Junior College, and school districts across Colorado and the nation to promote and advocate for equitable education for culturally and linguistically diverse learners.
Education Week
This chapter from the upcoming book by Larry Ferlazzo, Katie Hull Sypnieski, and Jossey-Bass, has been released early and free of charge to help educators of ELs prepare for the start of the new school year in a remote setting. The chapter addresses several topics, such as supporting ELs in English as a second language and mainstream instruction, supporting EL families, maximizing EL assets during remote instruction, and others. The chapter provides suggestions for activities and links to online resources. 
This article summarizes “lessons learned” from educators’ Spring 2020 experiences with providing remote instruction and offers some suggestions and tips for ensuring that ELs and their families are fully supported in their technology needs during the upcoming school year. The article highlights essential instructional topics such as access to devices, Internet connectivity, and providing tech support for ELs and their families. 
Professional Learning
ExC-ELL is an evidence-based model of instructional practices for teaching academic language, vocabulary, discourse, reading comprehension, and writing skills in all content areas. This virtual institute is a blend of synchronous and asynchronous modules that incorporate live, facilitated sessions as well as interactive discussion board posts and self-paced modules that allow participants to practice and apply their learning.
This course allows teacher educators and English language program coordinators to expand their repertoire of training and development techniques; enhance knowledge of observation, mentoring, and feedback methods; identify trainee and program needs; build a model to create or improve a program based on those needs; and begin transforming existing English language teacher education program capacity.
Second Language Research and Practice is accepting submissions for research articles of up to 8,500 words and descriptive reports and position papers of up to 5,000 words. To be considered for the 2021 volume, manuscripts must be submitted by January 15, 2021.
Job Opportunities
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, IA
Insight School of Minnesota
Brooklyn Center, MN
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