RBERN West Newsletter

September 2022

Congratulations Michael Duffy, our new RBERN West Executive Director

After bidding a fond farewell to our esteemed leader, Denise Gonez-Santos, long-time RBERN team member Michael Duffy transitioned into the role of Executive Director.

Michael has been an educator for 15 years, specializing in ENL and professional development. He provides regulatory technical assistance, professional development, and instructional coaching to teachers and administrators in support of English language learners in ENL and bilingual education programs as the supervisor of the Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network (RBERN) West.

Before joining Erie 1 BOCES, Michael spent 7 years in Buffalo Public Schools as an ESL teacher and an instructional coach. He spent time as an instructor at Niagara University and is currently an instructor at SUNY Buffalo. Michael is a member of the New York State Association of Bilingual Education where he has served several terms as committee chairperson.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts in French and a Master of Education, ESOL Initial/Prof from SUNY Buffalo. He also completed the Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Leadership from St. Bonaventure University to obtain his SBL and SDL certificates.

Recent News

Serving Over-Age Students

Providing Over-Age Students the Opportunity to Return to School in the 2022-23 School Year Due to the Impact of COVID-19 (attachment)

  • The Department has released a memo titled Serving Over-Age Students SY 22_23 to assist in addressing the significant impact that COVID-19 has had on vulnerable student populations.
  • To ensure that 21-year-old students who will “age out” of the P-12 education system because they have turned 21 years old by the start of school in September 2022 have the chance to earn their high school diploma and fully prepare for the transition to their planned postsecondary experiences, the Board of Regents and the State Education Department are strongly encouraging schools and school districts to allow those students who will age out of school the opportunity to attend school in the 2022-2023 school year, to complete their education and earn a diploma, credential, or endorsement.
  • A copy of the memo can also be found on the NYSED website at http://www.nysed.gov/coronavirus/guidance-p-12-schools.

Computer-Based Testing

Click here for the NYSED memo pertaining to the Statewide implementation of Computer-Based Testing

Professional Development

Please check back monthly as we add events and update any sections that say "TBD"!

2022 World Language Professional Learning Series

OBEWL is proud to release the following schedule of professional learning workshops beginning in September 2022 for the first semester of the upcoming school year.

For more information on these webinars as well as to view the available recordings from past webinars, please visit our World Language Professional Learning website.

Regional SIFE Taskforce

Join the MidWest RBERN Regional SIFE Taskforce

So you have identified student(s) as SIFE, now what? This taskforce is recruiting members with an interest and/or expertise in working with SIFE. Our aim is to provide support for educators who are currently working with SIFE by creative problem solving and highlighting the best practices of identification, placement, programming, and resources to ensure Students with Interrupted Formal Education have equitable access to schooling. Our bi-monthly meetings will be held on the following dates virtually over ZOOM from 4:00-5:30 pm.

October 12, 2022

December 14, 2022

February 8, 2023

April 12, 2023

June 7, 2023

Please click HERE to register

MLS Fall 2022 Updates

As we begin a new school year, there will be two live zoom webinars for new MLS users.

The training dates are Sep 30th from 10am - 11:30am and Oct 12th from 2:30pm - 4pm.

Register using this google form: https://forms.gle/QsRQkTnsaZfa11cG6.

Thank you for your continued engagement with the MLS, please feel free to contact us at mls.email.server@gmail.com with any questions

The “STRENGTHENING OUR RESILIENCE” Program at Native American Community Services of Erie & Niagara Counties, Inc. (NACS)

“Introduction to Native American Cultural Competency”

This one-hour session provides brief overviews of Native cultures, health challenges facing many communities, historical traumas, how to engage with Native American peoples more respectfully, and efforts to restore community wellbeing. This "Introductory” session will be HELD VIRTUALLY on ZOOM.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022, 12 - 1 pm, Virtual on Zoom https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwpdOyqpzosEt17GuQD--NjRx4PpkYQ2p40

“Overview of Native American Cultural Competency”

This four-hour sessions includes deeper discussions of traditional Native cultures, Trauma-Informed Care, Historical Traumas, a screening and discussion of “Unseen Tears: The Impact of Residential Boarding Schools,” strategies to move ahead, and more. This “Overview” session will include a one-hour lunch break and will be held IN PERSON at the location identified below:

Friday, September 16, 2022, 10 am – 3 pm, IN PERSON At NACS, 1005 Grant St., Buffalo NY 14207 To register for the IN-PERSON “Overview” training, please email Pete Hill at phill@nacswny.org for registration info.

* For more information on these or other upcoming sessions and/or to request presentations for specific organizations & groups, please contact Pete Hill at phill@nacswny.org.

OASAS Certificates of Completion will be issued for these training sessions upon receipt of the completed evaluation feedback forms.

This training series is funded by New York State Office of Addiction Services & Supports (OASAS), as well as business, foundations, and caring individuals, like you!

Nyah-weh! Thank you!

NYS TESOL Annual Conference 2022


Registration is now open for the NYS TESOL 52nd Annual conference. We currently have a LIMITED NUMBER of seats available! Pre-registration is open until October 1.

We encourage you to register as soon as you can.

In-person days include breakfast and lunch. ALL Conference Registrations includes 2022/2023 NYS TESOL membership.

If you are a current NYS TESOL member, please log-in before registering in order to ensure you receive a discounted rate.


Shifting Teaching Paradigms: Examining Inclusive, Dynamic Practices

Virtual Day: Online via Zoom

Face-to-Face: Sonesta White Plains Downtown


Please reach out to the RBERN West point person for your district for any technical assistance:

Education services for recently arrived refugees

Please see the NYSED memos for information on supporting our newly arrived students from Ukraine and Afghanistan.

Transfer Students

Reminder that for transfer students, there are multiple pathways for accessing information. See this document linked here for guidance.

The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America

Western New York Branch (UCCA-WNY) will be coordinating our refugee relief efforts. UCCA-WNY includes Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse. To learn more about the Ukrainian Parolee process visit Ukrainians of Buffalo, https://ukrainiansofbuffalo.com/refugee.html

StoryCorps - Stories to Start the School Year and More

StoryCorps’ mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.

We do this to remind one another of our shared humanity, to strengthen and build the connections between people, to teach the value of listening, and to weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that everyone’s story matters. At the same time, we are creating an invaluable archive for future generations.

Listen here: https://storycorps.org/backtoschool/

COVID Home Test Instructions

Linked here you will find a useful library of COVID home test instructions translated into 10 languages, including Arabic, Dari, Dinka, French, Kinyarwandan, Pashto, Russian, Somali, Swahili, and Ukrainian.

NYS Next Generation Math Glossaries

NYS Next Generation Math Glossaries are now available:

    • NYS Next Generation Math Learning Standards

Chinese | English | Spanish

    • NYS Next Generation Math Learning Standards - One-to-one translation of terms only

Arabic | Bengali | Chinese | Haitian | Russian | Spanish | Urdu

    • Glossary of Verbs Associated with the New York State Next Generation Mathematics Learning Standards

Arabic | Bengali | Chinese | Haitian | Russian | Spanish | Urdu

Community Spotlight

Amy Proctor, ENL Teacher

On August 12, 2022 Melissa Duquette and Amy Proctor, ENL teacher in Depew lead the first session of visual literacy through graphic novels. Come join us on October 27th for session 2 that will focus on the human body!

Co-Planning Summer Event

On August 18-19, RBERN West welcomed authors Dr. Andrea Honigsfeld and Dr. Maria Dove to the Erie 1 BOCES Education Campus for a two-day deep dive into their book, Co-Planning: Five Essential Practices to Integrate Curriculum and Instruction for English Learners. The book was illustrated by the RBERN West’s very own Claribel González. More than one hundred ELL educators from throughout Western New York attended the RBERN’s first in-person professional development event in nearly three years. Participants included Alicia E. Báez-Barinas, Associate in Bilingual Education in the Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages, Mid-West Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network and West-Regional Partnership Center. Follow up professional development is available!

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.