Spring 2018
CoTESOL Springtime News & Updates
Welcome to the first newsletter of 2018!

We are the new newsletter team, and we hope you use this to stay informed of the most important CoTESOL information for the year. If you have something that you would like to share with the CoTESOL community, please contact us at our website (see link below).

We look forward to a fantastic year in our beautiful state!

-Michelle Raese & Luke Coffelt
CoTESOL Partners with Grand Junction Educators to Host 2018 Spring Conference

By Daniel M. Schweissing, CoTESOL Spring Conference Liaison

CoTESOL is partnering with Mesa County Valley School District 51 and Colorado Mesa University’s student chapter of the Council for Exceptional Children to co-host its 2018 spring conference at Grand Junction High School this coming March 24. The conference theme will be “How to Best Serve English Language Learners: What is working on the Western Slope!”

Dr. Margarita Calderón, professor emerita of the John Hopkins University School of Education, will be the keynote speaker. Calderón will keynote on the topic, “Selecting and Teaching Vocabulary Before Reading,” and she will also lead a breakout session on “Teaching ELLs Reading in Secondary Content Areas.”

Over twenty additional breakout sessions will be offered, with topics including dual language literacy, ESL skill development, teaching content area to ELLs, community and family partnerships, and adult ESL.

Irene Almond, District 51’s ELL coordinator, commented that “Spring CoTESOL in Grand Junction will provide educators in the second-language acquisition field an opportunity to learn and network with colleagues in a geographically and culturally similar environment. Awareness will increase in the community and diverse learners will benefit.”

The conference registration fee is $60 for teachers and $50 for students. The fee includes a light breakfast, lunch, presentation materials, and free CoTESOL membership through November 2018. More conference information and a registration link are available at www.cotesol.org . The registration deadline is March 16, 2018 or until the 130 limit is reached, whichever comes first. There will be no onsite registration. 

CEUs for educators seeking relicensure credit will be available through Colorado Mesa University.

In addition to Almond, members of the local organizing committee include Patty Voorhis, retired ELL/migrant coordinator for Montrose County School District, Dr. Ann Gillies, assistant professor of teacher education at Colorado Mesa University, and Beth Skelton, CoTESOL’s Secondary SIG co-chair.

The Grand Junction conference will be CoTESOL’s fourth consecutive spring conference on the Western Slope. CoTESOL’s 2017 spring conference was held at Montrose High School. Its 2015 and 2016 spring conferences were held at Colorado Mountain College’s Spring Valley Campus near Glenwood Springs.

Brian Lemos, ELD Director for Greeley-Evans Weld County School District 6, has offered to host CoTESOL’s 2019 spring conference in northeastern Colorado. CoTESOL expects to finalize the conference dates and location by early summer.

CoTESOL’s spring conference will be on hiatus during 2020 when TESOL’s International Convention and English Language Expo is held in Denver.

CoTESOL is actively seeking future spring conference venues outside of the Denver-Boulder area for 2021 and beyond. Colleges, school districts, or other educational institutions interested in bringing the spring conference to their community should contact Daniel Schweissing, CoTESOL’s spring conference liaison, at Daniel.Schweissing@CCAurora.edu or 303-340-7532 for further information.
The Seal of Biliteracy is now in Colorado!
By Susan Holloway, Past President

In a global community that is increasingly interconnected through the media, international trade, commerce, and technology, the ability to speak and communicate in more than one language is a valuable asset and skill. While the demand for English language teaching continues to grow, and English is becoming a common global language of communication, the importance and value of multilingualism is increasingly underestimated. ” (TESOL’s official Position Statement on Multilingualism, 2004)

As teachers of students who already are fluent in another language, the CoTESOL board was honored to cosponsor the 2017 legislation for the Seal of Biliteracy in the state of Colorado. The Seal of Biliteracy is an award given by a school or school district (an individual teacher can also bestow the Seal) in recognition of students who have attained proficiency in two or more languages by high school graduation. The Seal appears on the transcript or diploma of the graduating senior and is a statement of accomplishment for future employers and for college admissions. According to the Seal of Biliteracy website ( sealofbiliteracy.org) thirty-one states have official Seals of Biliteracy.

So far, three Colorado School Districts have officially adopted the Seal of Biliteracy (Adams 14 in Commerce City, Denver Public Schools, and Eagle County Schools). Aurora Public Schools hopes to award its first Seal of Biliteracy honors to students in May of 2018, with Aurora Central High School acting as the prototype for other schools.  If you would like information about the Seal, or need support in institutionalizing the SEAL at your school, please contact Susan Holloway at wittmanholloway@gmail.com

For a good introduction to the intent of the Seal of Biliteracy, through the eyes of multilingual students, view the video (also on the Seal of Biliteracy website), Video of SEAL in California.
TESOL denounces termination of DACA and advocates for the DREAMers.

What is DACA? Who are the DREAMers?

By Liliana Graham, COTESOL Socio-Political SIG Co-Chair

In its position statement of August 2017, TESOL states that the USA should provide immigrants an "orderly and fair pathway to legal residency and citizenship". Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrival (DACA) is President Obama's 2012 executive order that provided deferred deportation for 800,000 undocumented immigrants who came to USA as children, call the USA their home, and are part of the proposed DREAM Act of 2012 (DREAMers). DACA was revoked in September 2017 by a Trump executive order.

DREAMers are between the ages of 16 and 35 and entered the USA at a median age of six. They are either in high school, graduated from high school or obtained a GED. DREAMers are not "criminals" since applicants must have no felony convictions or serious misdemeanor violations. Twenty thousand DACA beneficiaries are K-12 teachers to our children. Most are working on or have obtained a post high school education. DREAMers contribute to and enrich our society by working in many fields of employment having medical, legal, service, military, and sales jobs. While the majority are Latino (79% from Mexico), others originate from countries all over the world. DREAMers live in all the states, most (28%) call California home. In Colorado we have an estimated 18,000 DREAMer neighbors.

Starting February 12, 2018 the US Senate began debating immigration law reform. Colorado Senators Bennett and Gardner worked on a bi-partisan immigration bill. However, the Senate failed on February 15th, 2018 to get enough votes to pass any of the four bills they voted on. 

As of February 15, 2015, Congress has failed to take action to protect DREAMers from deportation. On March 5, 2018 the six month grace period granted by Trump as part of his revocation of DACA ends. Those who believe DREAMers should have a path to residency and citizenship and want to support this worthy group of young people need to be proactive.

What can you do? You can contact your US Congressional Representatives and urge them to immediately pass a bill with a sole focus to protecting DREAMers from deportation and continue their ability to legally work while Congress works on comprehensive reform of immigration law. Tell others about DREAMers by sharing their stories with your family, friends, and coworkers. Then ask your friends, family and co-workers to contact their US Congressional Representatives and ask them to pass legislation that supports DREAMers becoming USA citizens.

While you take action to support DREAMers do not forget the millions of other worthy, good people who are our neighbors, students, students' families and are also undocumented immigrants. They also deserve to have a pathway to residency and citizenship. Read (NEA) and AFT resources that are helpful in getting a better understanding of this group of people and ways you have help. 
Once Upon a Time….

By Suzanne Saenz, Higher-Ed SIG Co-Chair

There’s nothing like a story that is told by a friend, student, teacher, or colleague. Hearing a short anecdote about someone’s past captivates our attention, warms our heart, and lends itself to building a connection with the storyteller. One such storyteller/teacher/administrator from the University of Maine presented at the 2017 COTESOL conference, and he engaged not one but two audiences with his experiences and expertise on how to evolve into the “best teachers we can be” by using stories in our classrooms to ensure trust, incite confidence, and brew creativity. An unusual conference speaker – no slide show, no handouts – he simply presented some of his past and offered some of his tips using his captivating voice, wearing his red Converse sneakers, and sliding readers up and down from his head to nose so that he could refer to the few scribbled notes he held in his hand. Christopher Mares kept both audiences glued to what he humbly and humorously shared. Participants walked away with realizing how simple authenticity is one key to telling stories effectively and sincerely. And when we tell stories, we develop connections one level deeper. Isn’t that what it’s all about?
Get to know our newest board members!
Samar Aal, Adult Education SIG

Samar is an Instructor and a Test Preparation Coordinator with 16 years of teaching experience. She holds a M.A. in TESOL from Hunter College, City University of New York. Before coming to Boulder, Samar served for three years in the English Language Fellow Program in Indonesia, where she taught undergraduate students, presented at regional and Southeast Asian conferences, facilitated MOOCS, and trained English teachers. Samar worked on many US embassy projects leading camps, promoting cultural understanding, and mentoring scholarship awardees to the US. Samar also taught in Intensive English Programs in Baruch College, Hunter College, and La Guardia Community College in New York City. Her areas of expertise include teacher training, test preparation, and business English. She speaks Arabic, French, and Indonesian. Her passion is solo backpacking on roads less traveled.
Luke Coffelt, Communications Liaison

Luke is an instructor and the ESL Credit Program Coordinator at the International English Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Luke holds an M.A. in applied linguistics from Ohio University and an M.A. in Middle East Studies from the American University in Cairo. While teaching ESL at Ohio University, Luke served as director of the Fulbright English for graduate studies orientation, business bridge coordinator, and reading coordinator. In addition to regularly reviewing manuscripts for TESOL Journal, Luke is a trained CEA site reviewer, has served on the TESOL CALL-IS steering committee, and currently serves as Co-Communications Liaison on the CoTESOL Board. Luke’s areas of professional interest are Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL), assessment, and vocabulary learning using corpora. Luke is a member of and has presented at TESOL and NAFSA international conferences.
Liz Collier, Member-at-large

Liz Collier is a Teaching Assistant Professor in the English Language Center at the University of Denver. Since completing her MA in TESOL at Eastern Washington University in 2008, followed by a PhD in Applied Linguistics at Arizona State University in 2014, she has taught not only English and composition to international students in intensive English and undergraduate programs, but also pre-service and practicing teachers in graduate ESL education courses. Her research interests include what constitutes “good writing” in U.S. universities, with a focus on the preparation of international students. She was a member of the TESOL Awards Professional Council from 2014-2017, and has presented several times at COTESOL conferences. As a new member-at-large, she is looking forward to being much more involved in COTESOL.
Julia Hedges, TE/AR SIG

Julia Hedges is currently teaching General English at the Defense Language Institute English Language Center (DLIELC) in San Antonio, Texas. Prior to teaching at DLIELC, she taught English for Academic Purposes at the University of Colorado ESL Academy in Denver, CO. Julia has 7 years of international experience teaching in Dubai, UAE, where she founded and successfully managed an English language center that focused on General English and IELTS and TOEFL test preparation. She has a M.Ed. TESOL from Concordia University in Portland, Oregon, and a BA in both Spanish and English Linguistics from the University of Montana. 
Brian Lemos, Secondary Ed. SIG

Brian Lemos currently serves as Director of Instruction and English Language Development for the Greeley/Evans School District; in addition, he assists as the district Charter Liaison. Prior to joining the Weld County School District, his experience and leadership roles included the following: Principal of two community schools, one comprehensive high school, and one at the elementary level. As Principal, he helped create a continuum of services for all students and families that closed the achievement gap. Those schools earned “Outstanding“ ratings on the annual state report cards for the first time in school history. In 2005, Brian and a team developed a vision to better support the holistic needs of all students and families in the community by opening Pioneer Secondary School. Pioneer focused on offering a continuum of learning options to meet the changing needs of all learners, helping many students graduate. Before his leadership roles as an administrator, he entered the field of education as a Special Education teacher and wrestling coach, helping support and advocate for all learners.

Mr. Lemos brings a state level perspective and was appointed by Governor Kitzhaber of Oregon to two separate commissions; Chairman of the Oregon Student Assistance Commission and as a Board member of the Oregon Educators Professional Development Commission. As Chairman, he was instrumental in helping develop legislation that supported the family financial burden of access to higher education by implementing the Oregon Opportunity Grant. Through a systematic approach and a continued passion of helping support a quality education for all students and families; Mr. Lemos has been able to make a significant impact throughout his educational career.
Matt Morley, Content Ed. SIG

Matt currently teaches academic English courses at the International English Center at CU Boulder. He is also the Listening and Speaking Curriculum Coordinator. His primary listening and speaking interests in the field include pronunciation, presentation, and other related skills. He also currently leads the Public Speaking Club at the IEC.

Matt and his wife live in South Denver. They enjoy taking road trips and cooking. He also enjoys live music, spending time outdoors, and plays competitive disc golf in local Colorado leagues. 
Nicolas Pares, Technology SIG

Nicolas has been teaching ELA in Colorado since 2012. He has a degree in Linguistics and graduate certificate in Language Instruction with Technology. He currently works at DU providing instructional design and support for a variety of graduate programs. He looks forward to supporting and empowering CoTESOL efforts!
David E Stevens III, 2nd VP

David's life mission is dedicated to helping people unlock their full potential through education, communication, and spiritual growth, which will have a positive impact on our world and strengthen our local communities.
David started teaching English in 2000 and Spanish in 2005, and later founded The Language School in Denver, CO, in 2007 to share his knowledge of new languages and cultures. Since then he has published a series of textbooks and workbooks to help people learn both Spanish and English.
He is committed to helping people to improve their lives by learning new languages like English and Spanish. He believes that a good education is the most important thing a person can achieve and that it should be fun, affordable, and accessible for all.
He has a degree in International Business and Spanish from Eckerd College, where he graduated first in his class. His international experience includes having lived, studied, and traveled throughout Latin America, Europe, and Asia.
Chelsea Walter, Member-at-Large

Chelsea Walter, Ph.D. is the Cultural and Linguistic Diversity (CLD) Education Specialist at Colorado College. She has previously taught English virtually to students and English teachers in China, has taught English language classes at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic, and has most recently taught English language courses to culturally and linguistically diverse students domestically. She also teaches linguistics and education courses for preservice teachers. In addition, Chelsea leads the ESL Tutoring portion of the Colorado College Refugee Alliance, providing resources and language tutoring strategies for those who work with the refugee population in Colorado Springs. 

Her dissertation, "Comparative Case Studies on the Adaptive Expertise of Novice and Veteran ESL Teachers" encapsulates her interests in culturally responsive pedagogy, teacher development, and reflection.

This is Chelsea's first year on the CoTESOL board and she is excited to learn more about and advocate for students, teachers, and CLD education in Colorado.
Colorado Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages