RBERN West Newsletter

February 5, 2021


ESSA Title III Update

All school districts are concerned about funding with the current pandemic situation in place, however there is good news. The ESSA Title III allocation your district is allotted to receive will be funded 100%. We recommend that Title III Coordinators make plans with their teachers on how best to use this money within the guidelines. For specific questions or an appointment, please contact Denise Gonez-Santos at dgonez-santos@e1b.org.

Title III Allowable/Unallowable Expenditures

Accountability and Assessment Waivers for Public Comment

Accountability and Assessment Waivers for Public Comment

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) is seeking input from stakeholders about the need for additional flexibility related to certain provisions of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) pertaining to administration of State assessments in spring 2021 and identification of schools and districts for improvement:

  • Comments on the draft waivers may be emailed to ESSAComments@nysed.gov with “ESSA Comments from (sender/organization name)” in the subject line. Comments will be accepted through February 5, 2021.
  • In addition, stakeholders are encouraged to fill out a brief survey regarding the 2020-21 school year student assessment and school accountability processes.

State Education Department Releases 2016 Cohort High School Graduation Rates

The State Education Department today released graduation rates for the 2016 cohort, those students who first entered 9th grade in New York’s public schools in 2016. The overall August graduation rate increased to 84.8 percent, up 1.4 percentage points from 83.4 percent for the 2015 cohort. The 2016 cohort graduation rate is 8 percentage points higher than it was a decade earlier, when the 2007 cohort graduation rate was 76.8 percent.

News Release

PowerPoint with data available

OBEWL Newsletter

In this issue:

• Letter from the Associate Commissioner

• Indigenous Languages in NYS

• K-12 Immersion Program in Herricks Public Schools

• NYS Seal of Biliteracy

• Professional Learning for World Language Teachers

• Revision of the Learning Standards for LOTE

• Graduation Dropout Toolkit

• RBERN Highlight: Capital District Region RBERN

• News from other NYSED Offices

PDF of newsletter

MLS Updates and Trainings

We would like to announce some new updates to the MLS User Interface. These updates are in the process of being released and will be fully implemented on mls.slalab.org by February 18, 2021.

For more information on these changes, watch our full updated MLS Webinar, or the 2021 Updates Webinar. You can also read our updated Quicksheet and Checklist (attached). There is a summary of changes below.

We are also hosting two virtual training sessions on March 4 from 10:00-11:30am and March 8 from 3:00-4:30pm. Please fill out this google form to register and to receive the zoom link or contact us at mls.email.server@gmail.com. We recommend attending this training if you have not previously attended an MLS training or if you have questions about the updates.

Thank you for your continued engagement with the MLS. If there are languages or test options we do not currently offer that may be useful for you and your students, please fill out this survey.

Summary of updates:

  • Platform Improvements
    • Tablet Testing - The MLS may now be administered on a tablet, iPad or other mobile devices.
    • Auto-save feature - Proctors may now help a student resume their test if there is an interruption. If you try to resume a test after more than 15 minutes has passed, you will be prompted to submit a request to the MLS team to unlock the test.
    • Central District Administration - Central district accounts may now be issued to district administrators to test students and access reports for any schools in their jurisdiction.
  • Student Registration
    • NYSSIS and OSIS use - Proctors in New York City can now use the Office of Student Information Systems or OSIS number, in lieu of the NYSSIS ID.
    • Final SIFE Determination - Administrators will be prompted to enter whether a student was determined to be SIFE or non-SIFE. An email will be sent with a link that directs you to edit the student information.
      • Please note that SIFE status is not determined by the MLS alone. Responses to the Home Language Questionnaire and the SIFE Oral Interview, as well as the Writing Screener and any other data points you collect should be triangulated with MLS results to determine whether a student is SIFE.
      • More information about SIFE identification is available on OBEWL’s SIFE website, and you can reach out to your regional RBERN, or OBEWL@nysed.gov for support on best practices identifying SIFE students.
  • Test administration page
    • Tech Check - Proctors will be able to test the MLS technology if desired. Proctors may click a checkbox on the test login page that will run only the practice section.
  • Report an Issue
    • You can use the “Report an issue” link on the homepage if you have any technical difficulties. The link will lead to a form that prompts you for the relevant information so we can quickly help you find a solution.

Please feel free to contact us at mls.email.server@gmail.com with any questions or comments.


ELL/Bilingual Education Focus Group Series

4:00pm - 5:30pm

CTLE credits: 1.5 per session

This monthly series is an opportunity to learn, network, and share experiences common to teachers of English Language Learners.

Remote Learning Series

February 8, 2021 - Small Group Instruction

March 8, 2021 - Assessment

April 12, 2021 - Sharing Best Practices Implemented this Year

Closing Up the Year

May 10, 2021 - Green Card Voices - Student Reading and Book Signing

June 14, 2021 - Survey Day

NYSITELL Training (repeated sessions)

4:00pm - 5:00pm

CTLE credits: 3 per session

In this hybrid course, you will learn everything you need to know to successfully administer the NYSITELL from intake, to testing, to placement. In this course, you will learn everything you need to know to successfully administer the NYSITELL from intake, to testing, to placement. This course will take approximately 3 hours. Course work of the Pear Deck Presentation and Quiz must be completed prior to the Zoom Q&A session.

February 9, 2021

March 9, 2021

June 8, 2021

Multilingual Matters Book Club

A monthly educator book club to discuss rich topics related to immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers.

CTLE credits: 1 per session

February 10, 2021 from 4:30pm - 5:30pm

February's book is Chance: Escape from the Holocaust: Memories of a Refugee Childhood by Uri Shulevitz

March 10, 2021 from 5pm - 6pm

March's book is Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas.

A Conversation with Angie Thomas


Bookfinity, IndieBookBuzz, and HarperCollins present a live event with Angie Thomas, the acclaimed author of the February Buzz Pick Concrete Rose, a prequel to her award-winning, bestselling YA novel The Hate U Give.

Join us, as Angie Thomas and Nicole Robinson-Hamilton discuss revisiting the world of Garden Heights in Concrete Rose, a searing and poignant exploration of Black boyhood and manhood. Seats are limited so reserve your spot today!

This event will promote buying through your independent bookstore and is free and open to the public, we hope you will join us!

Register here to save your seat!

If you need copies of the book for yourself or your school, please contact us at 716-204-8417 or email: books@monkeysread.com. Special discounts are available to school accounts.

2021 Blossoming Bilinguals Virtual Symposium - CALL FOR PROPOSALS

This symposium is for educators of emergent multilingual learners in early childhood: Early childhood educators including pre-school and pre-kindergarten, as well as grade K-3 teachers, directors, and staff from both public and private early learning programs. Mid-State RBERN is accepting proposals for virtual presentations that highlight outstanding and innovative practices related to early education for ELLs/MLs in the following strands:

  • Early Literacy
  • ELLs with Disabilities
  • Parent Engagement
  • Social-Emotional Learning
  • Culturally Responsive Sustaining Education
  • Technology/Virtual Classroom Support
  • Content Area Specific Topics
  • Topics and Information for Program Directors
  • Additional Areas of Focus

Link to application: https://forms.gle/3aDc5WQfofbNoXdi8

Deadline for Proposals: March 19, 2021


State Seal of Biliteracy Multilingual Flyers

State Seal of Biliteracy multilingual flyers are now available in 16 languages: English, Arabic, Bengali, Chinese (Simplified), French, German, Haitian Creole, Italian, Karen, Korean, Nepali, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Urdu

Math Vocabulary Cards

Math Vocabulary Cards from Granite School District

This page contains math vocabulary cards for Kindergarten through 8th Grade and Secondary Mathematics. The K-6 cards are also available in Spanish, Chinese, French and Portuguese.

ELL Leadership Council Professional Development

Review these free workshops, provided to the ELL Leadership Council this fall, on a variety of topics, including:

  • Virtual Engagement
  • Prioritizing Standards to Address Learning Loss
  • Progress Monitoring/NYS Seal of Biliteracy

New workshops will be added to this YouTube channel monthly!

Emergent Multilingual Learners: Parent Brochure on Supporting the Home Language

An informed, empowered community of parents, guardians, and other persons in parental relation are critical to ensuring that all our diverse Emergent Multilingual Learners continue to develop and maintain their home language. The New York State Education Department's Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages (OBEWL) believes that knowing more than one language is an advantage. We encourage all persons in parental relation to continue supporting the language spoken at home as our youngest learners to become bilingual or multilingual.

In response to some of the questions related to using the home language OBEWL has created a parent brochure that answers four critical questions concerning the use of the home language. This information has been included in an easy to reference two-page brochure and has been translated into ten languages other than English.

Other languages can be found here.


Tribute to Esteban López and Ana Sánchez-López

It is with sincere sorrow that we share the recent loss of two beloved members of our WNY bilingual educator community: married couple Esteban López and Ana Sánchez-López. They leave behind a daughter, Lucia.

Their colleagues Kim Meissner, Gloria Rodriguez, and Joanne Mendiola remember them in this way:

Esteban was, among many things, sweet, loving, caring, witty, and a staunch supporter of bilingual education. His students remember him as a kind, creative teacher who always had a smile on his face. Among his many roles throughout his career were: teacher at SU Playa School in Añasco Puerto Rico, Adjunct Professor at Erie Community College, SUNY Buffalo State College, and University of Buffalo.

Ana was loved by all of her students. She was compassionate and caring, constantly fundraising to help pay for 8th grade activities and graduation. She taught in Aguada, Puerto Rico before teaching Native Language Arts and English as a New Language at Herman Badillo Bilingual Academy for over 20 years.

Junko McGee, a retired bilingual educator of thirty years reflects on her memories of Esteban and Ana:

I first met Esteban when I was a graduate student in the Bilingual Education Program at UB back in 1988. He started his own studies with my cohort as a doctoral student while we were pursuing our Master’s degrees. I am not too sure if he was officially assigned to take care of us, but he was always there for us. Many of us came to Buffalo for the first time and started school in an unknown place. It must have been very difficult for my friends especially from Puerto Rico. As for me, I was someone not quite looking like my other Hispanic friends. However, with warm welcome, I soon became one of the school family members. Esteban was always helping us get used to our lives along with helping us with graduate school studies. He was our big brother and cared for us throughout our program. He also became a bridge between our professor and us. He was able to send messages to her better than we could on our own. He had a magical touch with communication, and I learned a lot from him.

He became a professor at ECC. He was a wonderful teacher. Teaching and helping must have been his nature. Esteban was a warm and very funny person. During parties, he was always having fun dancing and joking at the gatherings. I can still picture his loud laughter and dancing salsa and merengue.

One occasion, Esteban invited our group to his apartment to study to get ready for the upcoming comprehensive exam. Not only did he help us, but he made supper for us on that day. He mentioned that he was engaged and mentioned “his fiancée’s name was Annie”. Maybe a little more than a year later, I was at my first day of school new teacher orientation at Herman Badillo. I met a lady teacher from Puerto Rico. As we were introducing ourselves, I found out this was his wife Annie. She was just like I imagined. Outside of work, we’ve spent some time together, though not as often as we should have. I miss my warm and kind friends, natural wonderful human beings.

Caitlin Wohlhueter, an ENL teacher in Buffalo and colleague of Ana’s at Herman Badillo remembers Ana:

Ana Sanchez- Lopez radiated love to anyone she met, if I had to describe her in one work it would be “warmth”. The center of her universe was family and everywhere she went she shared that, whether it be her “Little Lucia” and her family at home, her school family, or her classroom family. Anyone who met Ana instantly felt part of her special circle. In her many years as an ENL teacher with Buffalo Public Schools she touched the hearts of hundreds of children. She had a special way to reach them all, even the ones others thought to be unreachable.

I met Ana when I started teaching at Herman Badillo Bilingual Academy (BPS#76) directly out of my undergraduate program. I was less than prepared! Ana took me under her wing. She taught Native Language Arts and English as a New Language for over 20 years there, and previously in Aguada, Puerto Rico. She started by teaching me basics about ENL curriculum and state/ federal regulations. She showed me how she kept track of things like attendance and test scores and levels of service. She taught me interactive engagement strategies. She introduced me to a culture I have grown to love and respect more than I ever thought possible. Reflecting back now, I think what she really taught me was kindness, compassion, and love. Ana was the kindest, most thoughtful, selfless, caring person I know. She would do anything for the students or staff in the building. I vividly remember her constant fundraising by making keychains, flower arrangements, and wreaths. She had a small cart she would roll into the hallway during homeroom and lunch with all of her gifts for sale to benefit the 7th and 8th grade students every day. In the years before her retirement, I remember her throwing a small quincenera celebration for one of our students, taking our homeroom out to lunch at Niagara Café, purchasing uniforms for students who didn’t have any, and always making the most beautiful décor for the 8th grade moving up ceremony as well as funding a few students who weren’t able to come up with the money on their own. Before my time, I heard stories of her organizing and funding a quincenera for 15 girls in a local church to give them an amazing memory and share the special cultural celebration with the community. She was known for keeping the culture a priority within the building and community. It was through her selfless dedication and compassion I learned to love my HBBA family, the job, my students, and the culture.

As I was completing my masters degree, I had to create a cultural case study for one of my courses. I remember asking her if I could interview her and Esteban and of course they welcomed me with open arms. They invited me into their home, fed me, chatted with me, and made me feel like I belonged. Ana fried up some pastelillos and warmed the arroz con gandules she made earlier and told me stories of her life and her family and her culture. Esteban sat across the table from me laughing and reminiscing with her about fabuloso and who the real “ruler” of the household was.

If you were lucky enough to be in her presence, you know the warmth and love I am talking about. If you were not able to know her, remember her next time you’re presented with a choice and chose to warm the hearts of others, as she always did.

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.