Winter Newsletter

World Languages and Bilingual Education Department

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Dear Faculty and Staff,

The New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT) assesses the English language proficiency of all NYS ELLs/MLLs enrolled in Grades K–12 every April-May. This year the testing window is as follows:

Speaking: Monday, April 17- Friday, May 26

Listening, Reading, Writing: Monday, May 15- Friday, May 26

The NYSESLAT is a part of New York State’s compliance with federal laws that require yearly testing and monitoring the progress of all ELLs/MLLs in English Language proficiency. Some highlights of the NYSESLAT includes alignment to the Common Core Learning Standards. It contains five performance levels: Entering, Emerging, Transitioning, Expanding, and Commanding. The assessment has a great emphasis on academic and classroom context and language. All four sections of the test integrate speaking, reading, writing, and listening questions which are tied to global themes. The Kindergarten NYSESLAT is intentionally different from the Grades 1-12 NYSESLAT and is administered by each individual modality of speaking, reading, writing, and listening.

The goal of the district is to ensure that all students attain academic English language proficiency and to successfully meet the targets of measurement as assessed on the NYSESLAT. This includes instructional lessons that offer integrated approaches to language acquisition in each of the four areas: reading, speaking, listening, and writing. In addition to providing high quality instruction, the office of Bilingual Education will be distributing NYSESLAT preparation material. We aim to provide an additional layer of support that integrates all 4 modalities to develop language acquisition and NYSESLAT Readiness. The supporting materials will form the backbone of learning with unparalleled teacher support.

Within the next couple of weeks, a brief video will be emailed to review testing procedures, creating a conducive testing school environment, overview of all 4 components, rubrics, and accommodations. There will also be office hours scheduled for the Office of Bilingual Education to answer any questions regarding NYSESLAT testing.

Our team looks forward to supporting you and providing solutions for NYSESLAT preparation, process, and procedures. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Michelle Pineda-Rodgers

Hempstead Union Free School District


Director of Bilingual Education & World Languages

NYSESLAT Information for Parents

Dear Parent/Guardian(s),

The NYSESLAT is given to all students who are identified as ELL/MLL by the New York State Identification Test for English Language Learners (NYSITELL). The purpose of the NYSESLAT is to annually assess the English language proficiency level of ELLs/MLLs enrolled in Grades K–12 in New York State schools. The test gives the state, schools, parents, and teachers important information about the English language development of ELLs/MLLs. The NYSESLAT includes multiple choice, short written response questions, long written response questions, and oral response questions in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in English. Your child must take all parts of the test in order to receive a valid score. The questions on the NYSESLAT reflect the kinds of activities and tasks that your child would experience in the classroom. It is paramount that your child(ren) attend school during this window, or they will receive an invalid score. If they receive an invalid score, his or her level will then default to the previous year’s results. If you have plans to take your child out of school at any time during the dates noted above, please contact your child's school.

For more information about the NYSESLAT, please visit the links below:

The NYSESLAT parent guide is available in 22 languages, including Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, Urdu, Russian, Albanian and Uzbek.

For samples of test questions, please visit:

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Renaissance Learning offers technology based educational programs for PK-12th-grade students. These programs are designed to assess, monitor, supplement, and enhance traditional classroom activities and lessons. Additionally, Renaissance Learning offers professional development opportunities making it easier for teachers to implement the programs into their classroom. Each unique program is built with that principle in mind thus keeping some universal components the same within each of the programs. Those components include:
  • More time for specific instruction and guided practice
  • Differentiated learning so that all students are on their own level
  • Immediate feedback
  • Personalized goal setting
  • Effective use of technology
  • Research based

Below are the resources available to students and teachers to enhance and provide support with learning in the four modalities.

  • Freckle
  • myON
  • myOn News
  • Nearpod
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Nearpod and Renaissance

As we continue to prepare our students to become life-long learners, our goal is to ensure students achieve personal growth and academic success through an effective instructional program which responds to each student's needs and aspirations in a safe and nurturing environment.

Nearpod is a great way to teach lessons to support learning in the four modalities and offers test prep in all content areas by grade and by standard. The learning platforms also offers graphic organizers, ppt slides, lessons, and authentic, hands-on collaborative activities for all students. You can access the platform through Renaissance or Clever to being planning lessons in English and Spanish!

Test Prep with Nearpod: How Teachers Can Prepare for Success
Adding Lessons to Your Nearpod Library

Nearpod Lessons and Activities

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What do the experts say?

"A key factor of independent reading is choice." – Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell

Independent reading offers the opportunity for students to develop tastes as readers and to read a large number of self-selected books on their own. It is as students read, enjoy, and interact with texts that they choose that they will become lifelong readers.

Supporting Biliteracy

Why is it important to be bilingual in today's society?

Bilingual and biliterate individuals have the opportunity to participate in the global community in more ways, get information from more places, and learn more about people from other cultures.

Biliterate and bilingual students strengthen their cognitive abilities. They can pay attention better and have an easier time focusing, remembering, and making decisions. They are training their brains to think about language. An NPR article states that people who speak two languages often outperform monolinguals.

Supporting Literacy

We support student access to classroom libraries that:

1) offer a wide range of materials to appeal to and support the needs of students with different interests and abilities

2) provide access to multiple resources that reflect diverse perspectives and social identities

3) open up opportunities for students, teachers, and families to collaborate on the selections available for student choice and reading

Celebrating Black History Month

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As we head out of February and into March, I think it is an important time to reflect on two powerful groups that should be celebrated. February was Black History Month and March is Women’s History Month. We find ways to highlight the amazing work that is taking place in the Hempstead School District to show our support. We are diversifying the community from which we learn in.

Rhodes Academy

Rhodes Academy celebrated African American History month with various programs and activities. Students created research projects on famous African American civil rights activists then and now. Students studied their biographies and tied their attributes to our IB Learner Profiles. The spirit week kicked off with “Dress as Your Future Self” where students came as future police officers, doctors, and dancers.

Ms. Van Schuyler

ENL Liason

Rhodes Academy

Student Spotlight - Rhodes

Zunny “Ale” Alvarenga Palma was born in Honduras and came to the United States in April 2022. She is currently a 4th grade student in Ms. Orzano’s class and receives ENL from Ms. Nicotra. Both teachers are extremely impressed with Zunny. She has excelled in all subjects demonstrating language proficiency as well as content knowledge. She does so well that she often assists her teacher to help her peers to master difficult concepts, particularly in Math. Affable, considerate, mature all describe Zunny, but her most exceptional quality is her ability to advocate for herself to maximize learning. She received the Scholar of the month Award in November reflecting the IB Learner profile- Knowledgeable. Keep shining Zunny!
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Prospect Elementary School

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How We Express Ourselves Through Reading

Prospect Elementary School

Kindergarten students in Ms. Rodriguez's one-way dual language class read a variety of books by author, Ezra Jack Keats. Students made text-to-self connections and wrote about the their favorite part of the stories they read.

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Joseph McNeil Elementary

Black History Month Student Choice Writing

The Bilingual 5th-grade students used their open-minded mindset to choose to write about a person in Black History whom we should make a holiday for and used their research from informative texts to write about the person they chose that honors the triumphs and struggles of African Americans throughout U.S. history, including the civil rights movement and their artistic, cultural and political achievements. They supported their writing by using key details and facts about the person they researched and presented their work to the class. Students demonstrated an understanding of the text by reconstructing a paragraph of the text they read and from the digital sources they used.

Mrs. Maria Fernandez

5th Grade Bilingual Teacher

Joseph A. McNeil IB PYP School

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Learning About Ecosystems in Science

Learning In Action

The 5th Grade bilingual students learned about ecosystems in science, we studied how organisms survive in each environment. In social studies we learned about specific locations and major physical features around the world. We combined these skills and more in our research project.

As part of the unit, students had the opportunity to choose one ecosystem to research further. They completed a lot of the research at school. Then students used their research notes to create a shoebox project to an ecosystem that they chose. Finally, students presented their finished project to the class. This project was an excellent way for students to extend their learning related to the IB Unit Ecosystems!

Mrs. Maria Fernandez

5th Grade Bilingual Teacher

Joseph A. McNeil IB PYP School

Celebrating Reading Across America

Joseph McNeil Elementary

Read Across America National Education Association celebrated on March 2nd is one of the nation's largest celebrations of reading. We are focused on motivating children to read through events, partnerships, and reading resources that are about everyone, for everyone. Students at Joseph McNeil School celebrated On Read Across America Day, our Nation recognizes the value of literacy . We celebrate the books that inspire our children to dream big, expand the limits of their understanding, and explore diverse perspectives and cultures through the eyes of others.

Ms. Sebelen Mirtha

Elementary School Teacher

Joseph McNeil Elementary

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David Paterson Elementary School

Our class created an ocean mural as part of Sharing the Planet transdisciplinary unit.

Students researched an ocean animal of their choice, then as a class, we collaborated to create a mural. Third grade classes at our school scheduled intervisitations to present the habitat that was researched to other classes.

Mrs. Claudia Vaca

International Baccalaureate PYP Bilingual Educator

David Paterson School , An IB World School

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Jackson Main/Jackson Annex Elementary

Learning Greek Culture

At the Jackson Main / Annex School in collaboration with Principal Brown, Assistant Principal, Mrs. Fibleuil and all the teachers, the FLES Greek students explored new words to make authentic connections from Ancient Greece to the various Ancient Civilizations learned. The students explored the definitions of the words in English, Spanish, and Greek with various visual images and a Slideshow presentation.

Ms. Panagos

Greek FLES Teacher

Jackson Main

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Honoring Women In History

Students at Jackson Annex celebrated Women's History Month by writing about inspirational women and how they have impacted a change in society.

Mr. Justo Galeas

2nd Grade Bilingual Teacher

Jackson Annex Elementary School

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Inquiry Based Learning at Jackson Main/Annex

Science Inquiry:

Students in Mr. Mata-Castro's third grade transitional bilingual class explore the investigative phenomenon by planning and conducting an investigation to determine how the strength of a force affects how a vehicle moves. They state a claim about force and use evidence to support their claim.

Math Inquiry:

In this math fraction project, students will have the opportunity to create pizzas while learning about fractions. Each ingredient on the pizza will represent a different fraction. The goal of the project is to help students visualize fractions in a tangible way and to understand how fractions can be combined to make a whole.

Mr. Richard A. Mata-Castro

Bilingual Teacher

Instructional Technology Support

Staff Spotlight- Bilingual Teacher Of The Year Ms. Lee-Segredo

A big congratulations to Ms. Soh Young Lee- Segredo!!! She is an IB Coach at Jackson Main Elementary School, and she has been selected as the recipient of the Gladys Correas Award: Bilingual Teacher of The Year. She will be awarded on March 16-18 during the NYSABE's 45th Annual Conference. We applaud you for your outstanding contributions to Bilingual Education!

A note from Ms. Segredo:

I attended International Elementary School, in Seoul, S. Korea which was founded by an American educator with progressive education in mind. As a very young girl I was given much freedom to inquire, think and question about what I was learning and teaching. That was powerful and helped me to become an independent THINKER & CREATOR. At Sangmyung Teachers Prep Middle School, Seoul, S. Korea , I was exploring all forms of ARTS (Drawing, singing, directing, acting, designing, sewing, and sports) and ever since then I was hungry for knowledge. I immigrated with my family to Paraguay, Brazil and started high school in the US at age 18 as SIFE (Student with Interrupted Formal Education). While living in South America, I was a child laborer sewing at the factory working 10 hours a day in a place without an air conditioner. I owe everything to the US, especially the opportunity to learn; therefore I volunteer (I have been volunteering since I arrived in 1978) to give my God given talent to communities where I live and work and that need my assistance. I served as Nassau County Human Rights Commissioner under Executive Tom Suozzi, was the first Korean recipient of Nassau County MLK Humanitarian Award, and was honored by several branches of NAACP as a lifetime member dedicated to work on DEI. I work collaboratively with colleagues and want to thank those who nominated me (You know who you are!) to NYSABE and nominated me and I will be receiving the NYSABE 2023 Bilingual Teacher of the Year. I never forgot my hardship so I want to continue to serve immigrant families in Hempstead UFSD and through two non profit organizations. I am always Learning & Teaching as a Life-Long Learner. I say, "It is in giving, we receive. We need more love everyday." My life sums up as, 'Faith, Hope and Love."

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NYSABE Conference- Award of Excellence

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Jackson Main Annex IB PYP Elementary School

We are so proud of the students at Jackson Main Elementary School choir who were represented at the NYSABE conference for their dedication and talent. The students celebrated different cultures and traditions from around the globe by singing, "Songs Around the World".
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JM- NYSABE 2023 Performance

ABGS Middle School Data Team Meeting

KUDOS to ABGS Middle School Bilingual and ENL Teachers! Mr. Lux ( ENL Coach) and Ms. Caban (SLIFE Interventionist) facilitated a Data Team PLC meeting where teachers collaborated and discussed best practices utilizing data to enhance student learning for SLIFE students and MLLs. Keep up the great work!

"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." – Helen Keller

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ABGS Middle School

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Black History Month Quilt

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Inspirational Leaders in History

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Travel Around The World

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Students at ABGS Middle School created travel brochures from around all around the world. They researched their country of choice and wrote historical facts about the country they represented. They also wrote a persuasive essay explaining the reasons to visit the beautiful country.

Ms. Stacey Corvi

ENL Teacher

ABGS Middle School

Hempstead High School

Honoring African American Heritage

This year's theme “The Resistance”: Harriet Tubman and the sculpture inspired by “The Unknown Slaves” or “The Black Maroon” from Haiti. The sculpture of Haiti represents the slave resistance that freed the country to become the First Black Republic in the world after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Ms. Luz J. Arenas

HHS HLA/Spanish Teacher

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Celebrating Women' s History Month

The contributions of women through the years have often gone unappreciated and forgotten but each year, in March, Women's History Month is a time for reflection, appreciation, and celebration. Women's History Month is an important time to recognize contributions both large and small that have changed our lives for the better.
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Professional Learning Opportunities

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Newsletter Contact

If you would like to be featured in our Newsletter or Instagram page, please send your photos and videos of student and staff highlights, celebrations, student work, bulletin boards, and field trips that highlight all the wonderful learning experiences taking place in the Hempstead Union Free School District.

Please send your highlights and a brief description to:


Mrs. Ranieri:

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