RBERN West Newsletter

April 2021



The Department released a memo, FAQ and School Administrator's Manual (SAM) pertaining to the amendments to diploma requirements approved by the Board of Regents on Monday, March 15th.

Refer to page 9 of the FAQ for English Language Learners (ELLs) and Other Multilingual Learners:

Is the Spring 2021 NYSESLAT canceled?

No. NYSED plans to make its Spring 2021 NYSESLAT available for administration to those

ELLs who are able to test in-person. Schools are not required to bring students into the

building to participate in the tests if they are receiving entirely remote instruction; however,

schools are strongly encouraged to conduct outreach to the parents/guardians of remoteonly ELLs to inquire as to whether they would like to make arrangements to have their child participate in person in the school building in the NYSESLAT during the testing window. This outreach, to the best extent possible, is to be provided in the parents preferred language and mode of communication.

NYSED is extending the end date for the administration of all components of the NYSESLAT from Friday, May 28, 2021 to Wednesday, June 9, 2021.

Revised NYSESLAT Scoring Dates: Tuesday, June 1 –Thursday, June 24

The two most important reasons for ELL students to be encouraged to participate in NYSESLAT testing:

  1. Students can only exit ELL status through the NYSESLAT.
  2. Students can only demonstrate their current proficiency level for determining Units of Study and Staffing Requirements through the NYSESLAT.

Diploma Requirements

Exemptions & Translations of Exams

English Language Arts for Grades 3-8: ESSA requires that the reading/language arts proficiency of ELLs be measured as part of the school accountability program. USED has approved a one-time exemption from taking the State’s reading/language arts assessment (including the NYSAA in ELA) for some ELLs. ELL eligible students (including those from Puerto Rico) who on April 1, 2021, will have been attending school in the United States for less than one year may use the NYSESLAT as a one-time exemption from the State’s reading/language arts assessment (including the NYSAA in ELA) to meet the ESSA participation requirement for elementary/middle-level ELA. For this purpose, the United States is defined as schools in the 50 States and the District of Columbia and does not include Puerto Rico, the outlying areas, or the freely associated States. Students may be exempt from only one administration of the State’s reading/language arts assessment.

The one-year exemption window does not have to be 12 consecutive months. In addition, students enrolled anytime during a month, including July and August, are considered enrolled for that month. As such, eligible students may be exempt from taking the State’s reading/language arts assessment for the first year in which they are enrolled during the State’s reading/language arts assessment administration period. Such students may not be exempt in subsequent years, even if they have been enrolled in a United States school for less than 12 months. Months in which students are enrolled as PK–8 or ungraded elementary are counted toward this 12-month exemption window. Remote and hybrid instruction also count toward enrollment.

See pages 5-6 of this document for examples of qualifying exemptions.

Translated versions of exams are available for Arabic, Bengali, and Simplified Chinese in addition to the five languages that have been available (Traditional Chinese, Haitian Creole, Korean, Russian, and Spanish). These new languages are available for paper-based testing only.

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Ordering form for Grades 3-8 exams can be found here: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/assessment/ei/2021/3-8-worksheet-online-request-2021.pdf.

For high school regents:


Remember that all languages for which a translated exam is available are ineligible for oral translation/interpretation.

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Take note of page 4 of Procedures for Requesting and Storing the June 2021 Regents Examinations:


OBEWL March Newsletter

This month’s issue includes articles on:

  • NYSED science initiative
  • Update from LI RBERN
  • 2021 World Language Professional Learning Series
  • NYSSB Annual Report 2019-2020
  • Pursuing the Seal at Massapequa
  • News from other NYSED Offices

New World Language (LOTE) Standards

Board of Regents Acts to Adopt Revisions to State Learning Standards for Languages Other Than English

The Board of Regents acted to adopt revisions to the New York State Learning Standards for Languages Other Than English (LOTE), Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa announced. The revisions will align the standards with high-leverage practices and update them to represent what students should know and be able to do in the languages and cultures which they study. The Department presented regulation changes to rename the learning standards from LOTE to “World Languages.”

Integrating Science and Language - Topic Briefs

Integrating Science and Language for All Students with a Focus on English Language Learners

A series of seven webinars and topic briefs have been created for NYSED to promote the implementation of New York State P-12 Science Learning Standards and build the instructional capacity of ELL and science educators. This series is based on cutting-edge research on integrating science and language for all students with a focus on ELLs and will support educators in making key shifts in their classroom instruction and assessment.


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

Virtual ODMAC

Join us on Saturday, May 1st for our virtual ODMAC. This interactive learning experience will

offer authentic, implementable life-skills and strategies that can be used immediately!

Register HERE!

NYSABE 2021 Conference

The New York State Association for Bilingual Education

cordially invites you to the


Fostering Collaborative Instructional Leadership

in Bilingual Education: Equity in Action

May 20-22, 2021

Pre-Conference Events on May 15-19, 2021


The conference fees will cover attendance at the full conference and participation in pre-conference sessions.

Professionals: $ 75.00. It includes annual membership fee

Students: $30.00. Students must provide proof of college/university enrollment at the time of registration.

Parents: No charge. This complementary registration is for parents who have children participating in bilingual/ENL programs and who are not professionals, i.e. educators, researchers, administrators, or elected officials.

To register please visit NYSABE’s website, www.nysabe.net

Join educators, parents, students, community leaders, and elected officials at this conference which will focus on collaborative instructional leadership and educational equity for English language learners (ELLs)/multilingual learners. Sessions will offer a broad range of research-based innovative instructional strategies and pedagogical frameworks that will inspire and energize participants to strive for equitable and quality bilingual education. Sessions will also address current policy, effective planning and implementation strategies, and meaningful resources for bilingual education program models, including dual language. Other topics will include bilingual special education, culturally and linguistically responsive/sustaining education, pre-k education for ELLs/multilingual learners, and much more!

The conference program will include an exciting Leadership Strand that will offer inspiring direction for present and future educational leaders, researchers, parents/family members, and other stakeholders involved in the education of ELL/multilingual learners.

For additional information regarding the conference, please visit NYSABE’s website, nysabe.net

See you at the conference!

Alicia Báez-Barinas

NYSABE President

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.

ESLN PILLARS Symposium 2021

Empire State Library Network (ESLN) and School Library Systems Association of New York State (SLSA) invite all librarians and educators to join us for:

The PILLARS Symposium

JULY 7 - 9, 2021

PILLARS (Preparation, Information Literacy, Libraries, Academic Resources, and 21st Century Skills for Transitioning from Secondary School to College)

Schedule of events:

  • July 7, 2021: 10am-5pm presentations on Research Skills
    • Featured Speaker – Raymond Pun, Stanford University
  • July 8, 2021: 10am-5pm, presentations on Working with the Community
  • July 9, 2021: 10am-4pm, presentations on Preparing for the Future

This event is a co-production of Empire State Library Network (ESLN) and School Library Systems Association of New York State (SLSA) This year’s conference is presented at no cost to attendees by ESLN with generous help from our sponsors.

Both CTLE and CE credit will be available to all who attend the live virtual event.

For more information, visit the PILLARS Symposium Website or email the PILLARS Symposium Planning Committee at pillars@esln.org


Resources for Determining Special Education Eligibility of English Language Learners

The New York State Education Department (NYSED), Office of Special Education is sharing the following new resources developed by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Science’s Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Northeast and Islands for determining special education eligibility of English learners. Please be aware that the websites and links included may change. This resource is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute NYSED endorsement. The information provided is true and complete to the best of our knowledge.

REL Northeast and Islands has worked with state and local partners in the region to learn about the policies and practices used to identify disabilities among English learners and to provide resources to implement key policies and practices at the district, school, and classroom levels. The resources provided can be used by teachers and administrators working with English learners to provide high-quality instruction and to build practices to better determine special education eligibility. The resources include:

Our Stories Carried Us Here

Green card Voices' first ever graphic anthology of immigrant stories narrated by Brighton Central School's very own Alex Tsypenyuk. Ten bold first-person stories written and illustrated by immigrants and refugees living across the USA.

UB's High School Spanish Essay Contest

The U.S. is officially the second-largest Spanish-speaking country in the world! In recognition of this fact, the UB Department of Romance Languages and Literatures is sponsoring a Spanish Essay Contest, open to high school juniors and seniors. The top three essays will be awarded a cash prize!

Date: Saturday, May 8, 2021
Time: 10-11am
Location: 120 Clemens Hall, North Campus, the University at Buffalo

Contest Guidelines

The contest will take place on the UB North Campus. Entrants must be high school juniors or seniors. On the day of the contest, entrants will have 15 minutes to read a short prose piece in Spanish. They will then have 45 minutes to write responses (in Spanish) to a series of directed questions. Instructional aids (dictionary, smart phone, etc.) are not allowed.

Essays will be judged on control of grammar, syntax and usage; organization of ideas; as well as creativity and originality.

Prize Awards: $100 first place, $75 second place and $50 third place.

To register, please complete the following form and submit by 5pm May 6, 2021.

COVID-19 Vaccination Hesitancy

These videos explain that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective. Get your vaccination as soon as you are eligible. Protect yourself, your family, and your community by getting vaccinated!

New American Neighbors (NAN) provides multilingual and multicultural videos with actionable information to assist refugee and immigrant families along multiple integration pathways. NAN videos are produced in: Amharic, Arabic, Burmese, Dari, French, Karen, Nepali, Pashto, Somali, Spanish, and Tigrinya.

Translated Vaccination Information


Ruth Casillas- WNY Puerto Rican/Hispanic Youth Leadership Institute

The Angelo Del Toro Puerto Rican/Hispanic Youth Leadership Institute is a collaborative effort among the NYS Senate/Assembly Puerto Rican/ Hispanic Task Force, New York State Education Department, Office of Bilingual Education, ASPIRA of New York, the New York City Department of Education, and the Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network (RBERN). The Institute's purpose is to foster the leadership skills of Hispanic students and to introduce them to New York State's legislative process. After extensive training, the students participate in a 3-day institute in Albany where they participate in a Mock Assembly session. This year the conference was held virtually on March 13-14, 2021.

In 1994, Ruth Casillas became one of the co-trainers for the institute and currently serves as the WNY delegation leader. “It is a program that empowers students and makes them believe that there is hope and a future for them,” Casillas said. “You see kids that were not going anywhere and all of a sudden this opens up a different door for them.” She fondly remembers a student that joined the institute with only 3 high school credits. “That weekend turned her around. She was able to work toward acquiring all of her credits and graduate high school, she also graduated college and was recently accepted into law school.” RBERN West would like to extend our appreciation to Ruth Casillas for her passion, dedication, and for leading the delegates in an outstanding institute.

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.