RBERN West Newsletter

March 2021

From the desk of the Executive Director

I know we all feel anxious about the unknowns related to state testing. At this time, what we can advise is that districts be prepared to administer the NYSESLAT. RBERN West will offer repeated hybrid NYSESLAT training on March 29th , 30th , and 31st based upon the information that is currently available. More information will be shared via RBERN West listservs once released from NYSED.

We remain your partner and trusted source of information and guidance as it is made available. In the meantime, we encourage you to continue to reach out with your questions and concerns.

Denise Góñez-Santos

Executive Director, RBERN West


Assessment Waiver Submission - Status Update

Statement on USDE Assessment & Accountability Waiver Letter From NYSED Spokesperson, Emily DeSantis

“USDE informed states last night that it will not grant a blanket waiver for state assessments. While we are disappointed by this decision, we are examining all possible options. Further, USDE made the right call in affirming that no child should be made to come to school to take a state assessment. In addition, USDE agreed to uncouple state assessments from ESSA accountability requirements so that results solely will be used as a measure of student learning. Given these circumstances, the Department will propose a series of regulatory amendments at the March Board of Regents meeting so Regents Exams would not be required to meet graduation requirements and to cancel any Regents Exam that is not required by USDE to be held. We continue to have discussions with USDE regarding this matter to find a path forward that is best for the health and safety of all New York’s children.”

OBEWL February Newsletter

This month’s issue includes articles on:

  • Aligning OBEWL Resources to Next Generation Learning Standards
  • Resource for Parents of Emergent Multilingual Learners
  • Hudson Valley RBERN
  • FAFSA Completion Events
  • Revision of the LOTE Standards
  • Embedding Authentic Resources—Workshop Recording Available
  • New York State Seal of Biliteracy

Betty Rosa as Permanent Commissioner of Education in NYS

The Board of Regents unanimously appointed Dr. Betty A. Rosa as permanent Commissioner of Education and President of the University of the State of New York, the first Latina woman to serve in the position, the State Education Department announced today. Read more...

Seal of Biliteracy Panel Member Volunteers Needed!

The RBERNs are seeking community members who are proficient in a variety of languages to support schools by serving as panel members for NYS Seal of Biliteracy (NYSSB) Presentations. Ideal volunteers would be teachers of the target language or native speakers of the language. Panel Members for all languages are needed, including low incidence languages.

The NYSSB acknowledges the importance of being biliterate in today’s global society. It highlights the hard work and achievement of students, and encourages students to pursue language study while in school, including the continued development of one’s home language. The recognition of attaining biliteracy becomes part of the high school transcript and diploma for these students and is a statement of accomplishment for future employers and for college admission. Participating on a Seal of Biliteracy panel is a great opportunity for college faculty, language teachers and community members to learn more about the NYS Seal of Biliteracy while supporting multilingual learners in earning this distinction.

The main task of a volunteer would be to view a high school student's live presentation, interact with the student in the target language, and share feedback using a rubric provided by the school. An online, asynchronous training opportunity will be available for you to learn more about the Seal of Biliteracy and the presentation process. The approximate time commitment is 30 minutes for training and 30 minutes for a student presentation.

To volunteer as a panel member, please submit this form: https://forms.gle/8wjXfzQ6g2qDkc3X9

With questions, please email:


RBERN West Spring 2021 PD Calendar will be updated regularly. Please check back for new events and registration links.

RBERN Reads - Statewide Book Club

RBERN Reads 2021: Statewide Immigrant Experience Book Club

Join colleagues from across the state as we experience student stories of hope, strength, and resilience together by reading Green Card Youth Voices: Immigration Stories From Upstate New York High Schools.

WNYNET - Talking with Teachers

Join experienced English teachers as they demonstrate their favorite lessons and engage in professional conversations with teachers and preservice teachers from across NYS.

Wednesday, March 10th.

4pm-6pm on Zoom


Classroom teachers: $20.00

Teacher Candidates: Free.

To register visit WNYNET.org

NYSABE Regional Event

Buffalo State College Bilingual Special Education Online Summer Institute

NYS ITI in Bilingual Education

WNY Multilingual Teacher Summit - Summer 2021

WNY Multilingual Teacher Summit - Call for Proposals

We invite you to submit a proposal for our second annual ELL Summer Conference - we are holding it virtually again this year!

This year, we will be scheduling presentations August 17-19, 2021 in 45 minute time slots, conducted via Zoom. You will be partnered with an RBERN Resource Specialist during the presentation to facilitate and provide technical support.

Please submit a proposal and help us support the region as we continue to face new challenges advocating for and supporting English language learners.

Proposals must be submitted no later than May 7, 2021.

National Association for Bilingual Education - 2021 Conference

Conference Registration is now open!
Early bird deadline has been extended to March 31st, 2021
Click here for more information.

NABE's virtual sessions will be available on-demand for 60 days following the close of the conference! All onsite attendees will have access to the on-demand sessions.

Confirmed invited speakers include:
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Jim Cummins

Featured & Spotlight Speakers:
Dr. Rebecca Blum Martinez & Ms. Mary Jean Habermann Lopez, Dr. Virginia Collier & Dr. Wayne Thomas, Dr. Kathy Escamilla, Dr. Eugene Garcia, Mr. Alex Kajitani, Dr. Stephen Krashen, Mr. Dan Rishavy, Mrs. Dorina Sackman-Ebuwa, Dr. Sonia Soltero, Dr. Alma Flor Ada, Lic. F. Isabel Campoy, Dr. Bill Rivers, and more!

Jewish Family Service Family Support Program offerings

JFS Spring Family Support Program offerings will be offered on Zoom. Enrollment is free and open to the public. Spaces limited. See linked flyers for information in all languages being offered,


Parent Support Group series using the Incredible Years® program (all groups begin the week of March 15th):

    1. Arabic-speaking Parents of Toddlers, Wednesdays 12-2pm
    2. Somali-speaking parents of Pre-Schoolers, Tuesdays, 3-5pm
    3. Tigrinya-speaking parents of School-age children, Thursdays 10am-12noon

Community Training Series for bilingual individuals interested in becoming eligible to interpret for our Incredible Years® Parent Support Groups in the Fall

    1. Tuesdays, 10am-12noon (begins March 15th)

Book Club for English speakers (begins April 5th)

    1. Every other Monday, 10am
    2. Featured Book: The Five Love Languages of Children

Fundamentals of Equity


ELL Focus Group Listserv

Fill out the form on our website if you are a teacher and wish to join our ELL Focus Group E-mail List Serv. Stay updated with updates from NYSED OBE-WL, upcoming professional development opportunities, and other important information related to ENL/Bilingual Education. For our administrator's list serv, please email Dawn Novak at dnovak@e1b.org

Please provide your school district, university, or professional work e-mail address. You must belong to a school district, university, charter, private or parochial school.


Puerto Rican/Hispanic Youth Leadership Institute : Virtual Panel Event

The overall purpose of the PR/HYLI is student empowerment. One of the main goals of PR/HYLI is to create opportunities for students to interact with Latino officials, educators, and business leaders. Students had the opportunity to meet with representatives in their communities through a virtual panel discussion/Q&A. Students and leaders engaged in courageous conversations as students posed questions that centered the Latino experience and issues in their communities like drop out rates, discrimination, and equity. The panel was made up of leaders from Jamestown, Dunkirk and Buffalo.

A special thank you to all of the panelists for sharing their stories and empowering the next generation of leaders!

Willie Rosas, Mayor of Dunkirk

Max Martin, Hispanic Community Council of Chautauqua County President

Dr. Faith Graham, Jamestown ENL Educator

Captain Tommy Champion, Buffalo Police Department

Officer Hector Coco, Buffalo Police Department

Denise Gonez-Santos, RBERN Director

Michele Agosto, BPS Director of Arts

Alicia Baez-Barinas, BPS Director of Bilingual Education

Muchas Gracias

Lafayette International Community HS Principal John Starkey featured in Seattle Times Article

Look to refugee schools for lessons on teaching kids after COVID, some experts say...

Click here to read more!

Big picture

Tribute to Lloyd J. Hargrave, Sr.

Lloyd J. Hargrave, Sr. is a name most school children in Buffalo are not familiar with, but I know I will never forget his name. He was a Title I Parent Leader in the Buffalo Public Schools when I first met Lloyd. I can still hear his uplifting words at a Title I Parent Conference. He encouraged the parents to be the strongest advocate in the lives of their children. He was passionate and committed. A father to four children of his own, Lloyd lived the example of parent advocacy with an entire city. A Howard University graduate, who was among the most amazing men who never forgot to reach back to help others be successful. Eventually, Lloyd worked at Erie 1 BOCES’ Regional School Support Center and collaborated with the Bilingual Education Technical Assistance Center (BETAC). Sadly, Lloyd passed away on February 18, 2021. His wife Patricia predeceased him. Today, please remember the name Lloyd J. Hargrave, Sr. You may not have known him, but the legacy he leaves behind is written on the hearts of many.

by Denise Góñez-Santos

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.