RBERN West Newsletter

October 2, 2020

Big picture
We can't believe we have already made it through September! This year we have already seen the many ways that educators in our region have stepped up to the plate to innovate and advocate on behalf of the ELLs of WNY. Thank you!


Big picture


· NYSED OBEWL manages multiple waiver forms for qualified school districts in New York State to seek exemptions related to their English as a New Language (ENL) or Bilingual Education (BE) programs. These waivers, formerly submitted as email attachments, have been converted into online forms. Currently, there are four different waivers posted on the NYSED OBEWL website. These include the Bilingual Education Program Waiver, the ELL Identification Timeline Waiver, the Grade Span Waiver, and the Professional Development Waiver. ​

Parental NYSITELL Waiver for Students in Fully Remote Instruction

  • At the September 2020 Board of Regents meeting, regulatory flexibility was enacted to grant parents/guardians of children receiving fully remote instruction in 2020-21 the option to waive administration of the NYSITELL. Students eligible for this waiver must have been provisionally identified as a potential English Language Learners (ELLs) either in the 2020-21 school year, during the summer of 2020, or during the COVID-19 related shutdown of the 2019-20 school year. The student also must receive instruction entirely remotely either due to being enrolled in a school which is operating fully remotely pursuant to the district’s reopening plan or due to the parent opting to receive instruction entirely remotely. Notwithstanding the waiver’s availability, districts are reminded to make and document in their records all possible efforts to administer the NYSITELL to all new enrollees, including but not limited to those in a fully remote education setting.

  • If a waiver is submitted by a parent, the child shall remain provisionally identified as an ELL during which time the district has discretion to provide the child ENL and other ELL services and supports, including Bilingual Education, but the district may not report the child as an ELL in the Student Information Repository System (SIRS). If the school changes to in-person or hybrid instruction, or if the parent opts to no longer have their child receive instruction entirely remotely, then the child must be administered the NYSITELL within ten (10) school days of the child returning to in-person or hybrid instruction, at which point the child may be reported in SIRS as an ELL based on the outcome of the NYSITELL.

  • Notifications informing parents about the availability of this waiver must be sent in the parent’s preferred language and mode of communication and the school must maintain a record of these notifications. Districts are required to maintain a record of all submitted waivers for a period of at least three (3) years.

NYS Seal of Biliteracy

  • NYSED OBEWL is working with the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Youth Leadership Institute (PRHYLI) to align their student projects with the New York State Seal of Biliteracy so that their students can earn the Seal through participation in the PRHYLI program. More information will follow soon.

  • Change to Criteria Regarding the Cancellation of the June 2020 Regents Exams - Students who were unable to take applicable Regents exams due to COVID-19 related cancellation will satisfy criteria for the New York State Seal of Biliteracy (NYSSB) that would have been met by the required June 2020 or August 2020 Regents exam(s), provided that such students have been exempted from the applicable Regents examinations. Specifically, this means that any student who received an exemption from the June or August 2020 English Language Arts (ELA) Regents exam has already earned a point towards criterion 1A.

  • Change to Criteria Regarding the Cancellation of the spring 2020 NYSESLAT Exams - English Language Learners (ELLs) will satisfy criteria for the NYSSB that would have been met by a 2020 NYS English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT) score through a combination of having achieved an English language proficiency level of Transitioning or Expanding on the 2019 3 NYSESLAT or NYS Identification Test for ELLs (NYSITELL) and who earned credit in a course of study for English as a New Language (ENL) or Bilingual Education in the 2019-2020 school year. Specifically, this means that ELLs who scored at least Transitioning on the 2019 NYSESLAT and who received credit for their ENL course in 2019-20 have already earned a point towards criterion 1B.

  • Change to Criteria 1B Clarifying Overall Score - Prior to the 2015-2016 school year, the method of determining a student’s English language proficiency level was based on separate proficiency levels for each of the four language modalities (speaking, listening, reading, and writing). Beginning with the 2016 administration of the NYSESLAT, the method for determining a student’s English language proficiency level was changed to be based on a single scale score reflecting English language proficiency overall. The proposed new language will reflect this updated score reporting by allowing students to apply a NYSESLAT scale score of 290 towards the NYSSB. Specifically, this means that the previous language of “score commanding on two modalities” has been removed from criterion 1B to avoid confusion.

Big picture

Regarding Step 2:

To contact your local Regional Information Center, WNYRIC, please email testscoring@e1b.org with the student’s NYSSIS number. The NYSSIS ID number (New York State Student Identification System ID) is a 10 digit number that will follow the student from school district to any other NY State school district as they move around. The NYSSIS ID number can be found in different places; the DDC (district data coordinator) of each district has access to this number . Alternatively, the student’s local ID can be submitted to testscoring@e1b.org along with the district the student is transferring from. The test scoring department will do their best to answer your inquiry.

SUNY Buffalo State College: Bilingual Special Education Online Winter Institute

Big picture

Professional Development Opportunities

Becoming an Antiracist Educator (3-part series hosted by Erie 1 BOCES in conjunction with The Academy for Human Rights)

Enroll for the entire series:

IRT 919 A Teaching 2020 Webinar Series: Becoming an Antiracist Educator -- 3 PART SERIES

Program: Regional Instructional Resources Team

Dates: 10/13/2020 to 10/27/2020

Enroll a la carte:

IRT 919 B Teaching 2020 Webinar Series: Becoming an Antiracist Educator -- Day 1 of 3

Program: Regional Instructional Resources Team

Dates: 10/13/2020

IRT 919 C Teaching 2020 Webinar Series: Becoming an Antiracist Educator -- Day 2 of 3

Program: Regional Instructional Resources Team

Dates: 10/20/2020

IRT 919 D Teaching 2020 Webinar Series: Becoming an Antiracist Educator -- Day 3 of 3

Program: Regional Instructional Resources Team

Dates: 10/27/2020

Continuing Teacher and Leader Education - Workshops Supporting Immigrants in Schools

The City University of New York - Initiative on Immigration and Education (CUNY-IIE) is offering free virtual professional learning opportunities to educators across New York State! Upon successful completion of an immigration and education focused module, educators will earn 20 Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) credits. The modules will include 8 mandatory hours of online synchronous sessions and an additional 12 hours of asynchronous small group and independent work. Educators can sign up for one module and spaces are limited.

NYS Library Digital Equity Series

The New York State Library and State Education Department, in partnership with the METRO Library Council and the Northern New York Library Network, recently announced a series of webinars on Digital Equity. Intended for educators, librarians, and other stakeholders with an interest in bringing about digital equity, this webinar series attempts to establish a shared understanding of the challenges to digital equity to begin to develop a shared vision of how we can work together to achieve digital equity for all New Yorkers. More information and webinar registration details are available on the State Library's Digital Equity web page

NYSAFLT 2020 Conference

Full Conference Information

  • Pre-conference workshops will be two hours in length and will be offered October 17 - live-streamed/webinar format only (not recorded).
  • You'll be able to select up to 15 one-hour sessions spread over the week of October 19–24.
  • About half of the sessions will be offered live-streamed, but all will be available in their recorded version because we know everyone will be juggling school and home at the same time.
  • You'll have until November 30 to complete your hours and submit for CTLE proof of participation.
  • This year all attendees will be required to select your sessions in advance when you register.

NYSTESOL 2020 Conference

Full Conference Information

The conference fee includes:

  • The full two days of conference activities,
  • Access to recordings of all sessions, and
  • NYS TESOL membership through 2021


Hispanic Heritage Month | Mes de la Herencia Hispana

This Teacher's Guide brings together resources created during National Endowment for the Humanities' Summer Seminars and Institutes, lesson plans for K-12 classrooms, and think pieces on events and experiences across Hispanic history and heritage.

Podcast en español

Check out Por Nuestros Niños, a new Spanish-language radio show and podcast that aims to help families in Florida and across the nation navigate an uncertain fall after a tumultuous spring of distance learning.

Bilingual Mask Tips

Check out these quick tips in from BIAS behavioral designed to help make wearing a mask easier on everyone:

Immigrant Connections: How to Fulfill Interpretation and Translation Requirements: Tools for Guiding Decisions

Blog Post from Immigrant Connections: How to Fulfill Interpretation and Translation Requirements: Tools for Guiding Decisions

  • This topic, otherwise known as language access, has to do with providing parents with equal access to information and opportunities, regardless of language.

Culturally Responsive/Sustaining Lessons and Units

Courtesy of the Hudson Valley RBERN, please visit this Google Drive folder of resources that includes lessons from QTEL, advocacy and civic engagement lessons, as well as vocabulary development.

Virtual Games and Community Building Activities

This resource provides dozens of easy team building activities that are easy to implement and work for all ages. We know how difficult it is to build a sense of classroom community working remotely - add some fun and keep students engaged!

Social Justice Mathematics and Science Curricular Resources for K-12 Teachers

Compiled by Dr. Kari Kokka

These resources are a starting point and not a thorough/complete list. This is a living document of sorts, and the author continues to add resources. This work requires our commitment to our ongoing learning about and dismantling systems of oppression, true love and partnership with our students, and constant growth and reflection. There is no “magic pill” or easy way to engage in this work, and we must be mindful of students’ well-being. (See Dr. Shawn Ginwright’s work on Radical Healing and Healing Centered Engagement.)

What are we reading?

Culturally Responsive Teaching & The Brain

This book, by Zaretta Hammond, discusses promoting authentic engagement and rigor among culturally and linguistically diverse students. It includes information on how one's culture programs the brain to process data and affects learning relationships, ways to build learner operating systems and prepare them to become independent learners, and more!

En Comunidad

En Comunidad, by Carla España, Luz Yadira Herrera brings bilingual Latinx students’ perspectives to the center of our classrooms. Its culturally and linguistically sustaining lessons begin with a study of language practices in students’ lives and texts, helping both children and teachers think about their ideas on language. These lessons then lay out a path for students’ and families’ storytelling, a critical analysis of historical narratives impacting current realities, ways to develop a social justice stance, and the use of poetry in sustaining the community. Listen here.

We Want to Do More than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom

Drawing on her life’s work of teaching and researching in urban schools, Bettina Love persuasively argues that educators must teach students about racial violence, oppression, and how to make sustainable change in their communities through radical civic initiatives and movements. She argues that the US educational system is maintained by and profits from the suffering of children of color. Instead of trying to repair a flawed system, educational reformers offer survival tactics in the forms of test-taking skills, acronyms, grit labs, and character education, which Love calls the educational survival complex.

To dismantle the educational survival complex and to achieve educational freedom—not merely reform—teachers, parents, and community leaders must approach education with the imagination, determination, boldness, and urgency of an abolitionist. Following in the tradition of activists like Ella Baker, Bayard Rustin, and Fannie Lou Hamer, We Want to Do More Than Survive introduces an alternative to traditional modes of educational reform and expands our ideas of civic engagement and intersectional justice.

Why White Students Need Multicultural and Social Justice Education

This article describes the difference between multicultural and social justice education, and why it has a place in every school in the US. Many resources are linked at the end of the article.

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.