Beyond Fronteras

A Celebration of our ESC1 Bilingual Community: October 2020

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¡Bienvenidos! Welcome to our monthly bilingual newsletter!

We are so excited to start this new journey with you! It's time to celebrate the wonderful accomplishments of our Region One ESC community and what a better way to start than showing off our beautiful English learners and their teachers!

Check out these wonderful kiddos from Rio Grande City CISD celebrating ¡el Mes de la Hispanidad desde sus casas! Adorable! Thank you, Mr. Jesús Martínez for the pictures! They remind us why we do what we do every day, challenges and all! And if you want to see what happens to our English learners once they leave our schools, check out the story of Allegra Rodriguez, graduate of Hidalgo High School, whose video is featured below! Gracias a Ms. Marta Garza for sharing it with us!

We hope you find a lot of valuable information in these newsletters! We will be sending them directly to your inbox, so we can keep track of how many of you access them for compliance purposes, but please know that what we really want is for you to share then with the world! Feel free to distribute them with teachers, administrators, and everyone else that you think might benefit from this information. Our goal is to strengthen even more our bilingual connections across the region, even when we are staying more than 6 feet apart ;)

¡Mil gracias y esperamos que disfruten este boletín!

KChapa :)

Virtual Learning Tips: Breakout Rooms in Google Meets, by Claudia Coronado

Did you know you can create break out rooms in Google Meets? The process involves creating multiple meetings and allowing students to join one of them. Think of this as 4 physical tables in your real classroom. You’ll send the students to the meetings when they are in a virtual lesson with you and you are then able to move around each group and check in with them as they work. Not only can you use different rooms for students to collaborate, but you can also split a meeting into smaller forums to facilitate learning by differentiating instruction based on learning styles.

Multicultural Book Spotlight, by Dr. Lileana Ríos-Ledezma

US, In Progress

Lulu Delacre

A wonderful collection of short stories told from the perspective of contemporary Latino children and their experiences living in the United States. Each story begins with a refrán and provides an opportunity for the reader to think critically about the point each refrán makes in relation to the story.

My favorite chapter from the collection is Burrito Man...I cried and I am sure you will too. The cuentos shed light on real-world issues, sensitive topics, and heart-breaking experiences; thus, providing opportunities for critical dialogue to take place. Us, In Progress is a stellar, must-read for middle school aged children.


Tips for ESL teachers, by Claudia Coronado

General best practices are a foundational base for quality instruction for English learners, but they are insufficient in providing accelerated learning. Best teaching practices must be combined with an explicit language focus in sheltered instruction to support comprehension and use of academic language for English learners. (Moughamian, Rivera, & Francis, 2009; Hansen-Thomas, 2008, as cited in the TEA ESL Literature Review). Second language acquisition requires explicit language instruction in conjunction with meaningful and authentic communication. Therefore, teachers must move from general to targeted and intentional instruction.


Tips for Bilingual Teachers, by Niranda Flores

For English learners, starting the school year can be somewhat scary and overwhelming especially if they are new to the US school system. So as their new bilingual teacher, what can you do to ease some of the discomfort and lower their affective filter? Below are a few simple recommendations to help you create a welcoming and inclusive environment and set your English learners on a path towards success.

  • Always accept and validate the use of their native language as well as the knowledge they bring. This will in turn help them stay positive and value their identity.

  • Take a few minutes to interact and get to know them beyond what you see and hear at the surface level.

  • Display visuals around the room as points of reference to important classroom information.

  • Assign them a friendly partner to help them get acclimated, and if necessary, translate important information.

  • Include total physical response activities to facilitate participation as well as ease some of the anxiety and fear of speaking in front of their peers.

Thankfully, English learners across Region One have awesome bilingual teachers who are happy to serve as a bridge into the unknown. We wish you an amazing 2020-2021 school year!


We are leaders; We are Texas, by Betty A. Cárdenas

Where were you in 1968? Studying, teaching, not born? Although the year 1968 might seem foreign to your existence, decisions made then continue to impact us today. This was the year that President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Bilingual Education Act (BEA) of 1968.

When the vast majority of the states resisted the BEA which required states to support emergent bilinguals with programs that taught them in their native language, Texas leaders, including Senator Ralph Yarborough, not only served as counsel to President Johnson but established options for states to choose from. In 1973, Texas mandated bilingual instruction for emergent bilinguals in districts that met the rule of 20. Even after the BEA returned autonomy to the states, and others like California enacted English-only policies instead, Texas pushed forward with continued research and support for bilingual program policy.

Now, almost 50 years later, our policies continue to evolve in the right direction. In the meantime, other states are working toward changing their policy from subtractive to more additive implementation as they discover what Texas knew long ago: including native language instruction will only make emergent bilinguals stronger.


Because CARING begins with YOU! By Niranda Flores

Many of us are excellent at making sure everyone around us is feeling well and cared for; however, we tend to forget about the importance of taking care of ourselves. Now more than ever, it’s time for us to start thinking a little more about us and indulging in some simple and quick self-care activities. September of Self-Reflection! Let’s kick-off our self-care corner reflecting over the elements of self-care that represent daily activities and maintenance. Take a few minutes to answer the following ten questions and gauge where you stand in terms of caring for yourself. Be honest! 1. How am I feeling? 2. Am I drinking, eating and sleeping adequately? 3. Am I staying connected to those I care about? 4. Do I wake up feeling energized? 5. Am I practicing some type of exercise routine? 6. Am I balancing my screen time? 7. Do I have a way of expressing my thoughts and emotions? 8. Do I keep up with my daily routine, or am I surrounded by chaos? 9. Am I able to ask for help and offer help to those in need? 10. Do I spend a few minutes in silence? So, how did you do? In our months to come, we will dedicate our self-care corner to addressing each question and providing strategies and/or suggestions for improving our self-care routine. Keep in mind, we can only give others what we give ourselves first, so let’s start by treating ourselves with love and kindness.

¿Sabías que...?

Translanguaging, por Lileana Ríos-Ledezma, PhD

Translanguaging is a término used to describe the ability a multilingual person has to utilize their full linguistic repertoire.

Picture this: two alumnos working together to complete a task. Both are Spanish speakers, but they are strong in English and often use a blend of Spanish and English to explore academic conceptos. Translanguaging allows these students to make connections between ideas and make those ideas and their voices heard.

Translanguaging intends to disrupt the belief that boundaries exist when we “language”; thus, validating the language practices of our English learner familias when they communicate using blended elements of multiple languages. When teachers adopt a translanguaging approach, it provides an inclusive and just education for the English learner comunidad as well as humanizes bilingual students’ learning processes (Gloria and Leiva 2014).

What can teachers do to crear safe translanguaging spaces? España and Herrera, authors of En comunidad, provide some ways to support translanguaging in the classroom.

  • Provide lessons in English, in Spanish, or use features of both.

  • Use a bilingual text to allow students to engage with both languages: hear the text in one language and read the words in another language.

  • Encourage students to engage in discussions and take notes using their full linguistic repertoire.

  • Show tolerance as well as affirm, celebrate students’ responses (written or oral) as they navigate their linguistic


So Much To Do, So Little Time

As Bilingual Administrators we are always rushing against the clock... and this becomes even more difficult with so many uncertainties around us! It is important to find our center and get organized, finding ways to stay up to date with all the news, changes, resources that are available to help us continue advocating for our English learners. This is the main reason why we created the "Directors Corner", to help you cope with the daily craziness that surrounds us all! You will find here the latest USDE, TEA, and ESC1 updates and resources that will, hopefully, make your lives just a bit easier. We hope you enjoy it! As always, your suggestions are more than welcome!

English Learner Portal: is your one stop shop for all things EL in Texas! Here you can find important information for administrators, teachers, parents, and the community in general, including Mental Health Resources, ESL TExES Certification courses and materials, and bilingual videos for parents! Take time to explore this resource and share it with the world!

2020-2021 Bilingual Exceptions and Waivers

The 2020-2021 Bilingual Education Exception and English as a Second Language (ESL) Waiver application and instructions have been posted to the TEA Bilingual Education Exception and ESL Waiver Resources webpage. In addition to existing resources, such as scenario chains, FAQs, and an allowable use of funds document, three new videos have been posted to this webpage. The videos cover how to navigate the application, how to determine bilingual program requirements, and how to determine ESL program requirements.

Julie Martinez, Director for English Learner Support at TEA

Title III Courses Now Available at ESC1

We have scheduled our free Title III courses for all our Region One districts! Don't miss the opportunity to learn more about how to Increase and Strengthen Parent, Family and Community Engagement (WS# 164925 or 164927); what it takes to implement Effective Early Childhood Instruction for the Young English Learner (WS# 164922 or 164924); how to Enhance Instructional Opportunities for Immigrant Students (WS# 164928 or 164929); and last but not least, how to pass the ESL TExES exam, even if you are not required to be ESL certified right now (WS# 164930 or 164931)! Don't delay! Register today!


Contact Us

Karina E. Zuno-Chapa, M.Ed.

Director of Language Proficiency, Biliteracy, and Cultural Diversity


Claudia Coronado, M.Ed.

Bilingual/ESL Specialist


Niranda Flores, M.Ed.

Bilingual/ESL Specialist


Lileana Ríos-Ledezma, PhD

Bilingual/ESL Specialist


Diana Gonzalez

Program Assistant