RBERN West Newsletter

February 2023

Join us for NYSABE March 16-18, 2023!

Register here!

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WNY Regional ENL/Bilingual Annual Recognition Awards

WNY Educators have made impactful and long-lasting contributions to the quality of life in our community, state, and country through their work in educating English language learners. The work achieved everyday ensures that our ELL students are academically successful to help to support our newest citizens to be prosperous, full participants of a free and democratic society.

For this reason, three awards will recognize outstanding WNY educators who have made notable contributions to our field through efforts such as connecting with the community, acting as a leader in our field, or engaging in meaningful advocacy work on behalf of English language learners. Submissions will be judged based on the candidates’ character, contributions, and their significance.

RBERN West will solicit nominations for each of the awards. To nominate someone, you must complete the application for the award and submit two letters of recommendation. Submissions are due no later than March 31, 2023. A committee will review submissions and judge using established criteria. Selections will be made and the nominator notified no later than April 28, 2023. It will be the responsibility of the nominator to let the selected recipient know. Awards will be presented at the RBERN West End of Year Celebration Event on June 2, 2023 from 4:00-6:00pm at Erie 1 BOCES Education Campus, Building B, Room B-1. We ask that the nominators be prepared to present the awards to the selected recipient.

Teacher Leader Award

This award will be given to a teacher who has exhibited exceptional leadership in support of ELL education. This is someone who steps outside of their normal classroom responsibilities to support their colleagues, provide professional learning opportunities, and bring awareness to others about best practices to support ELL students.

Eligibility: any teacher of a WNY public school district

Submit a nomination here.

ELL Advocate Award

This award will be given to a staff member who has engaged in meaningful advocacy work on behalf of English language learners. This can include work in the local community and any impact on changes in a local school district and beyond. The intention is to recognize advocacy efforts that have a significant impact, but might not otherwise be known or receive attention.

Eligibility: any staff member of a WNY public school district

Submit a nomination here.

ELL Administrator of the Year

This award will be given to an administrator who goes above and beyond to support the ELLs in their school/district. This is someone who knows and advocates for best practice for ELLs, provides robust professional learning opportunities for staff that empower them to best serve ELLs, and act as a local leader to champion ELL education.

Eligibility: any building or district administrator in a WNY public school district

Submit a nomination here.


NYSESLAT 2023 Exam Ordering

NYSESLAT Ordering Instructions: Click HERE

Please contact Pearson’s New York State Customer Support at 888-705-9415 Monday – Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (ET) with any questions about accessing PAN and/or ordering requesting materials. Contact the Office of State Assessment at 518-474-5902 or via email with any questions about NYSESLAT or student participation. The ordering window closes February 17, 2023


NYSED updated the NYSESLAT testing dates to now include Writing scoring window and the Final Dates to Submit Answer Sheets to Scanning Centers. More information available here.


Linked here is a handy resource assembled by our colleagues at the Long Island RBERN to clarify answers surrounding ELL accommodations and Paper-Based Tests vs Computer-Based Tests.

Summer 2023 World Language Unit Design Workshops

Although the examples given will be for Checkpoint B, these workshops are open to teachers of any level (Checkpoints A through C). These in-person events will run from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (with a one-hour lunch on your own) on two consecutive days.

Thursday, July 6th - Friday, July 7th - Erie 1 BOCES (355 Harlem Rd., West Seneca, NY 14224

Participants must commit to attending both days. Participants who satisfy the attendance requirements of this workshop will receive a total of eight (8) hours of CTLE credit. To participate, educators must register in advance using the following online form. Registrations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until the venue capacity has been reached. These sessions are offered free of charge, are in-person only, and will not be recorded for future viewing.

OBEWL January Newsletter

Please enjoy the January 2023 edition of the OBEWL Newsletter! In addition to the Letter from the Associate Commissioner, the following articles can be found in this month’s issue:

  • Celebrating Transformative Educators, Families, and Community Leaders in Bilingual Education
  • Implementing CR-S Education Improves Instruction and Learning Opportunities for ELLs
  • Why Digital-Age Teaching for English Learners?
  • Bilingual Toolkit
  • World Language Professional Learning Opportunities
  • New York State Seal of Biliteracy Handbook for 2022-23 Released
  • Grant Funding Opportunities to Support ELLs/MLs
  • Academic and Linguistic Demands
  • News from Other NYSED Offices


Please check back monthly as we add events and update any sections that say "TBD"!

Virtual Workshop: Fostering a Trauma-Invested Learning Environment

Join RBERN West, Mid-West RBERN, and the PLC for Teachers of Ukrainian Students on March 8th from 4pm-5:30pm for this Virtual Workshop.

During this session hosted by Wendy Turner, Fostering Resilient Learners Associate and 2017 Delaware Teacher of the Year, participants will define key terms related to trauma, work to understand the impacts on trauma with a focus on Ukrainian families, discuss how to create a culture of safety, and learn how to use 3 signature SEL moves to support students. More information and registration can be found here. All educators are welcome to register and participate.

NYS Language RBERN 2023 Special Education Series

SESSION 2 / SATURDAY / FEBRUARY 4, 2023 / 8AM – 9:30AM

Differentiating Oral Language & Literacy Instruction for English Language Learners with Disabilities: K-8

This session will provide guidance on differentiating oral language and literacy instruction and intervention for English Language Learners with disabilities.

  • Identify components of culturally and linguistically responsive IEPs
  • Review considerations in planning oral language and literacy interventions for ELLs with disabilities
  • Understand how to integrate scaffolds and accommodations in instruction of ELLs with disabilities
  • Implement effective practices for oral language, reading and writing instruction for ELLs with disabilities

SESSION 3 / SATURDAY / MARCH 18, 2023 / 8AM – 9:30AM

Working with Families: Supporting Language and Literacy Development in the Home Language: K-8

This session will provide guidance on strategies parents can use to develop their children’s oral language and literacy skills in the home language.

  • Identify misconceptions about bi/multilingual language development among ELLs
  • Review the role of the home language in second language acquisition
  • Examine characteristics of school climates that welcome parents and families of ELLs Enumerate strategies for empowering ELL parents as decision makers and advocates in their children’s education
  • Share strategies parents/families can use to support language and literacy development at home


The Native American Community Services of Erie & Niagara Counties, Inc. (NACS) proudly Announces a New Series of FREE VIRTUAL Trainings in January - March 2023

*Please register for your preferred session(s), using the links provided below. Space is limited to 35 people per session, so please register early!

“Overview of Native American Cultural Competency”

This four-hour session includes deeper content of traditional Native cultures, Trauma-Informed Care, Historical Traumas, the documentary “Unseen Tears: The Impact of Residential Boarding Schools,” and strategies to move ahead.

Friday, February 17, 2023. 12:30 – 4:45 pm (w/ 15-minute break) https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwufuqtrjMsGNb1bt7mbSuVes3dCD3C2QOr

“Introduction to Native American Cultural Competency”

These one-hour sessions provide brief overviews of Native cultures, health challenges facing many communities, historical traumas, and suggestions for how to engage with Native American peoples more respectfully. All “Introduction” sessions are very similar in content. Wednesday, February 8, 2023, 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAvd-CsrjstGdIc-4qay0D0wR473AyA7-zd Thursday, February 23, 2023, 9:30 am – 10:30 am https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEvcO-uqzwjE93VZOd85a8a6OdGySNYnfm6 Monday, March 6, 2023, 12 pm – 1 pm https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0vc-yhqzktHtUWGLxqfQn3RWBErpmCVvVj

OASAS Certificates of Completion will be issued for these training sessions, and participants will be asked to complete evaluation feedback surveys.

* For more information on these or other upcoming sessions and/or to request additional presentations for specific organizations & groups, please contact Pete Hill at phill@nacswny.org

MLS Trainings

Our friends at the Multilingual Literacy SIFE Screener are excited to announce they will be hosting two virtual MLS training sessions on March 15 from 10:00-11:30AM and May 31 from 03:00-4:30PM. Participants can register here to receive the zoom link (https://forms.gle/1au1BeSmm77QwbHP9

The training includes:

• An overview of the key components of the MLS

• Basic guidelines for MLS administration

• A Q&A session following the presentation

The MLS is a statewide diagnostic tool created to support identification of Students with Interrupted/Inconsistent Formal Education (SIFE) literacy levels in their home language. It is a computerized semi-adaptive home language test available in 16 languages. The students hear audio instructions and see all content in their home language and answer multiple choice questions. New York State schools can access the MLS test and register for a free account at mls.slalab.org.

Welcome to the 2023 Symposium on Emergent Multilingual Learners in Early Childhood Symposium website!

This symposium will take place on Wednesday & Thursday, February 8-9, 2023 and will feature sessions throughout the day. There will be a fifteen-minute break following each session.

Each session is a separate registration link on Frontline (My Learning Plan), so be sure to check out our amazing lineup of presenters.

Questions about registration, attendance, or CTLE credit? Click here for The Mid-West RBERN's FAQ document.


Black History Month 2023

As you begin your Black History Month celebrations, tributes, and recognitions this week, we are sharing these publicly available resources from Buffalo Public Schools Office of Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Iniatives.

The attached compendium of curriculum resources and lessons that may support your efforts in elevating the narrations and contributions of Black people to American history, society, and culture. Please find the lesson aligned to your grade level for engaging your scholars in critical analysis of these historical understandings, and uplifting contributions.

Jewish Family Services' Multilingual Family Support

Please see attached flyer links for upcoming JFS Family Support offerings, all on Zoom.

Enrollment for the following 5 closes in early February. Limited to 14 participants per group:

  1. Arabic Parent Group – 14 weeks, Incredible Years curriculum. Best suited for parents of kids 3-12
  2. Dari Parent Group - 14 weeks, Incredible Years curriculum. Best suited for parents of kids 3-12
  3. English Parent Group - 14 weeks, Incredible Years curriculum. Best suited for parents of kids 3-12
  4. Burmese Parent Group - 14 weeks, Incredible Years curriculum. Best suited for parents of kids 3-12. (Please email me for translated flyer)
  5. Community Liaison Training – For caregivers with interpreter-level English, who want to help other parents from their community.

Enrollment for the next 3 is ongoing and there is currently no maximum participation limit

  1. JFS English Hour – open conversation group for anyone who wants to practice their English. Interpretation NOT provided
  2. Parent Leader flyer – for graduates of JFS Parent Groups who want to volunteer with us. Basic English required
  3. Virtual Village – informal support group for parents looking to connect with others. Interpretation NOT provided.

Teaching dual language learners? You’re not alone!

When implemented with commitment to collaboration, dual language programs work—and two teachers are better than one. Leveraging the power of teacher collaboration is the key to leading all your students to multilingual identity development and language, literacy, and academic success.

This practical book adapts a widely used, evidence-based collaboration and co-teaching framework specifically for educators in dual language contexts. Features include:

  • Special consideration to social justice and promoting critical consciousness
  • Viable options for schools, districts, and state education agencies to effectively support and expand dual language education
  • Seven proven co-teaching models, newly applied to elementary and secondary dual language environments
  • Templates and tools for collaborative curriculum alignment and implementation of dual language instruction
  • Authentic examples of success from collaborative dual language teams around the US and beyond

More and more schools are implementing dual language programs to serve multilingual learners. This first-of-its-kind innovative resource helps collaborating educators work together to design, deliver, and assess engaging instruction for multilingualism and multiliteracies.

Featuring illustrations by our very own Claribel González!!


Puerto Rican Hot Chocolate- Chocolate Caliente

Students in a third grade dual language classroom combined their writing and culinary skills to create a delicious Puerto Rican hot chocolate/chocolate caliente recipe on a cold winter day. As part of a sequencing writing activity, students put their creativity to the test by writing step-by-step instructions for making the warm and comforting beverage. The activity not only provided hands-on learning but also allowed students to enjoy the sweet rewards of their hard work. Sipping on their handmade hot chocolate, the students felt a sense of pride and accomplishment in their newfound skills. Congratulations to the talented and imaginative third-graders on a job well done! A special shout out to the innovative 3rd grade team: Linda Mauras, Elizabeth Attalah, Yolanda Baez and Erica Ruiz for making this activity such a success!

Are you wondering what makes this hot chocolate so special? Click here for the recipe and share pictures when you try it out!

A Virtual Visit from Assemblymember Jonathan Rivera

Students in the WNY delegation participating in the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Youth Leadership Institute (PRHYLI) recently had the opportunity to hear from an assembly member in their community via a virtual Zoom visit. The assembly member shared his journey in becoming Assemblymember for New York State’s 149th Assembly District as well as insight into the various community issues that impact the Hispanic community, giving the students a valuable perspective on the challenges faced by their peers and neighbors. The virtual visit provided a unique platform for students to learn about advocacy and civic engagement, and the role they can play in making a positive impact in their community. Through this interactive and educational experience, the students were inspired to get involved and make a difference. Kudos to the WNY PRHYLI team for providing opportunities that help students make a real-world connection with the issues they learn about in the classroom.
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About Us

The Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network West is part of a statewide system of support, funded by the NYSED Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages (OBE-WL).

Mission: Collaborate with educators, parents, and community members to promote academic excellence and ensure high school graduation for all multilingual learners.

Vision: A community that provides access to an excellent and equitable education for multilingual learners that prepares them to be prosperous participants of a free and democratic society.