Bilingual/ESL Conference

Welcome to the Bilingual/ESL Conference


Pathway to Educational Equity for Multilingual Learners

Virtual Conference
December 9, 2022

Since 1980 this Conference has been highly recognized as one of the most stimulating language education forums in the U.S. This success stems from its commitment to exploring the best ways of meeting the educational needs of language-minority students. The Conference continues to offer access to in-depth, applied research, and up-to-date pedagogical techniques. Topics and thought-provoking plenary sessions sharpen the language professional’s mind for pedagogical insight.

2022 Conference theme: Pathways to Educational Equity for Multilingual Learners

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9:15 – 10:15 am Concurrent Session I
Equitable Access to Learning for Young Multilinguals: Universal Design for In-Person and Remote Strategies
Karen Nemeth (Language Castle)
Empowering School Communities to Support Student Diversity
Vicky Santana (Parsippany Public Schools) & Julie Mitschow (Nutley Public Schools)
Examining Language Features in the 2020 WIDA ELD Standards Framework
Margaret Churchill (Closter Public Schools/NJTESOL-NJBE Past President)
10:25 – 11:25 am Concurrent Session II
Targeting Phonological Awareness to Support Bilingual and English Learners’ Spoken and Written Communication Skills
Betty Kollia (William Paterson University)
Realistic and Meaningful Resources for K-6 English Learners and Families
Kelly Le Parc (Westwood Regional School District)
Advocating for and with English Learners through Morning Announcements
Sue-Anne Alonso and Monica Garcia (Passaic Public Schools)
12:00 – 1:00 pm Concurrent Session III
Developing Academic Speaking in Middle School and High School Classrooms
Hana Prashker (Hasbrouck Heights Public Schools--NJTESOL/NJBE Liaison)
Writing: A Pathway to Share My Identity
Monica Artiga (Englewood Public Schools)
The New Jersey Seal of Biliteracy for English Learners
D. Nicole Deschene (New York University)
1:10 – 2:10 pm Concurrent Session IV (60 Minutes)
Why Should I Care about Second Language Research? Making Research Relevant to Teachers
Miriam Eisenstein Ebsworth (New York University), Timothy John Ebsworth (Kean University), Gail Verdi (Kean University)
Strategies and Resources to Increase Comprehension in all Content Areas
Tina Kern (William Paterson University)
Teacher Wellness for the Multilingual Educator
Claudia Lagos (Morris School District)

2021 Conference theme: Leveraging Emergent Technologies to Support Multilingual Learners

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11:00 pm – 12:20 pm Plenary Session

8:40 am – 9:40 am Concurrent Session I
Workshop 1: Guiding Principles and Best Practices for Biliteracy
Lucia Buttaro (Fordham University, NY)
Workshop 2: Using Open Pedagogy to Support English Language Learners' Reading and Writing Development
Chaoran Wang (Colby College, ME) and Pengtong Qu (Indiana University, IN)
Workshop 3:  Dialogue and Beyond: The Dos and Don’ts of Assessment 
Rebecca Zolotkovsky (Northern Regional Education Services Commission, Paterson, NJ)
Workshop 4: A Multilingual Culturally Responsive Video-based Arts Integration and Digital Storytelling Tool to Support Bilingual Classrooms
Heejung An (William Paterson University) and Maria Lanni (Passaic Public Schools)
Workshop 5: Fostering Social Presence with the Synchronous Online Flipped Learning Approach – SOFLA
Helaine Marshall (Long Island University, NY)
9:50 am – 10:50 am Concurrent Session II
Workshop 1: Communicating & Collaborating: Give Every Student A Voice!  
Noemi Rodriguez (Pascack Valley Regional High School District)
Workshop 2: Using WIDA’s Key Language Use of Narrate in Digital Biography
Margaret Churchill (Closter Public Schools/NJTESOL-NJBE President) 
Workshop 3: Using Social Media (Instagram) to Teach English as a Second Language
Sarah Alqasem (University of Northern Colorado)
Workshop 4: Developing Metapragmatic Awareness: How Can We Help Others Communicate Successfully Across Languages and Cultures? 
Miriam Eisenstein Ebsworth (New York University, NY) and Timothy John Ebsworth (Kean University, NJ)
Workshop 5: Supporting English Learners’ Self-Confidence in Speaking with Flipgrid
Arely Lima (Paterson Public Schools) and Heejung An (William Paterson University)
Dr.PhilHubbard.png Keynote Speaker: Dr. Phil Hubbard, Stanford University 

Preparing Language Learners for Listening on Their Own: From Theory to Practice  
Philip Hubbard is Senior Lecturer Emeritus in the Stanford University Language Center. Working in the field of computer-assisted language learning (CALL) since the early 1980s, he has published in the areas of CALL theory, research, methodology, evaluation, teacher education, learner training, and listening. He served on the task force that developed the TESOL Technology Standards and is associate editor of Computer Assisted Language Learning and Language Learning & Technology. His recent projects focus on CALL as a transdisciplinary field, teaching reflectively with technology, and teacher support for informal language learning. See
12:50 pm – 1:50 pm Concurrent Session III
Workshop 1. Implementation of Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services
Betty Kollia (William Paterson University, NJ)
Workshop 2. Pairing Fiction and Nonfiction Texts to Amplify Critical Thinking Responses 
Mary Angelo-Moi (Vineland Public Schools)
Workshop 3.Identifying ELL’s on Your SIS (Student Information System)
Vicky Santana (Parsippany-Troy Hills Township Schools, NJ) and Nirav Lad (Edison Public Schools, NJ)
Workshop 4. Virtual Reality: An Interactive Journey for English Learners 
Bonnie S. Molina (Perth Amboy Public Schools, NJ) and Renee Whelan (William Paterson University, NJ)
2:00 pm – 3:00 pm Concurrent Session IV (60 Minutes)
Workshop 1. Accessibility and Usability for Diverse Learners and Families
Nicole Deschene and Rachel Elizabeth Traxler (New York University)
Workshop 2. The Relationship between Prosody and Reading Skills in Bilingual Children  
Eunsun Park (William Paterson University, NJ)
Workshop 3. Teaching Phonemic Awareness to English Language Learners Using Multimedia Based Total Physical Response (TPR) Methods 
Alyssa Brillante (Haledon Public School, NJ)
Workshop 4. Bilingualism and Disabilities: Intersections & Strategies to Prevent Misidentification
Solange Lopes-Murphy  (The College of New Jersey, NJ)
3:10 pm – 3:30 pm Q&A Session with the Keynote Speaker (20 minutes)

2019 Conference Theme: Empowering Language Learners and Educators

8:00 am – 9:00 am Registration, Breakfast
9:00 am – 10:15 am Concurrent Session I
Practical Supports for ELLs in Elementary Grades
Heather Bethancourt, Butler Public Schools
This presentation is intended to provide strategies and useful supports for teaching English Language Learners in grades K to 5. We will discuss practical ways of building background knowledge and practical ways to select and use vocabulary. Additionally, we will discuss interactive supports, assessments, and even delve into the “big ELL monster”-writing!

Target audience: Elementary Education
Emergent Biliteracy: Heritage Language Writing Development
Nicole Deschene, New York University
This workshop focuses on heritage language writing development. Heritage language learners experience general writing development challenges, such as structuring an essay, using vocabulary specific to writing, and making grammatical errors, as well as challenges specific to the writing system of their heritage language. Language educators and other professionals who advise immigrant-origin youth can support heritage language learners to continuously use a wide range of literacy practices for writing development. This support is especially important when English is the dominant language of both school and home. This workshop is based on results from published peer-reviewed studies that focus on Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, and Lithuanian, as a heritage language.

Target audience: Elementary, Middle School, Secondary Education
It's as Easy as Riding a Bicycle—Understanding the Six Levels of English Language Proficiency
Noreen M. Drucker, NMD Consulting, LLC
Come and learn about the language proficiency levels, the WIDA performance definitions and the role academic language plays at each level. Just as there are expectations at each level of proficiency in learning English, there are expectations at each level of learning to ride a bicycle. Just as an EL starts on the beginning level, a toddler begins to ride a bicycle. For a toddler, learning to ride a bicycle needs an encouraging parent, training wheels, and a grassy area to develop her skills as a rider. The EL on the beginning level needs many supports as well. Illustrations, visuals, use of L1, electronic dictionaries and the like are examples of how to support an EL on this level. This interactive workshop will take you through all six levels and provide you with ideas, strategies, and supports you can implement along the way.

Target audience: Elementary, Middle School, Secondary Education
Strategies for ELLs in the Secondary Classroom
Hana Prashker, Hasbrouck Heights Public Schools
The workshop will explore a variety of strategies for teaching ELLs in secondary content area classes. Emphasis will be placed on practical strategies for teachers to help students learn content through scaffolding and academic supports. Strategies and examples for modifying assessments will also be demonstrated.

Target audience: Middle School, Secondary Education
Vicky Santana, Parsippany-Troy Hills Township Public Schools
Nirav Lad, Edison Township Public Schools
In this session, we will explore the role of the ESL teacher and fostering relationships with mainstream teachers, school staff, community, and parents in order to support English Language Learners. Learn how you can eliminate barriers and provide students with authentic experiences. We will share successful best practices our districts are using to create a culture that supports learning and respect for all.

Target audience: Pre-K, Elementary, Middle School, Secondary Education
Cultural and Linguistic Bias in Standardized Testing: Considerations for Bilingual Students
Rebecca Zolotkovsky, Northern Regional Education Services Commission
Betty Kollia, William Paterson University
Standardized testing is ubiquitous in the schools and required by many districts for services to children. Even though several commonly used test batteries have versions in other languages, cultural and linguistic biases still abound. This results in penalizing students for lacking familiarity with material that is outside of their cultural and linguistic background and impacts every member of the classroom. We will discuss identification of such biases and strategies to employ with the bilingual learner in the classroom. We will offer ways to move towards dynamic assessment to minimize the impact of standardized test bias. This way we aim to help reduce the over-identification of minority students as requiring special education, with its known effects on expectations of the child’s achievement potential.

Target audience: Elementary and middle school education; speech language pathology
10:12 am – 10:25 am Break
10:30 am – 10:45 am Conference Welcome (Valley Auditorium)
Introductory Remarks: Dr. Joshua Powers, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, William Paterson University Dr. Wartyna Davis, Acting Dean, College of Humanities & Social Sciences, WPU Introduction of Keynote Speaker: Dr. Bruce Williams, Department of Languages & Cultures, WPU
10:45 am – 11:40 am Keynote Address (Valley Auditorium)
Dr. Kate Menken
Professor of Linguistics and Director of Linguistics and TESOL Programs at Queens College of the City University of New York (CUNY). She is also a Research Fellow at the Research Institute for the Study of Language in Urban Society at the CUNY Graduate Center. She served as Co-Principal Investigator of the CUNY-New York State Initiative for Emergent Bilinguals (NYSIEB) project ( She is Co-Editor in Chief of the journal Language Policy. Her research interests include bilingual education, language education policy, and the education of emergent bilinguals in U.S. public schools.

Translanguaging Pedagogy: How the Multilingual Turn is Transforming School Practices
Translanguaging refers to the fluid, dynamic, and flexible ways that bilinguals draw on the full span of their languages and social resources to make meaning (García & Wei, 2014). This presentation offers participants an introduction to translanguaging theory, and suggests that centering students’ bilingualism holds great promise for education. Building from the actual language practices of bilinguals, translanguaging pedagogy is then introduced as a way for students to draw upon their entire linguistic repertoire in school. Specific examples of translanguaging pedagogy are provided that show how the languages spoken by bilingual children can be leveraged as a crucial instructional tool, nurtured, and developed. This session will show how translanguaging pedagogy can be implemented in classrooms that vary by grade level, program design, and content area.
11:45 am – 12:30 pm Lunch   Location:  Valley Café 
12:30 pm – 1:45 pm Concurrent Session II
The Muslim American Experience in Schools: Addressing Implicit Bias and Exclusion
Nagla Bedir, Perth Amboy Public Schools & Teaching While Muslim
There are many misconceptions about Islam that lead to negative experiences for Muslim students and teachers alike. In the current political climate, being informed about our own biases, both explicit and implicit, and combatting our misconceptions is part of the responsibility of being an educator. Students of color constantly suffer at the hands of ignorant educators and Muslim students have been bullied by their peers and their teachers. In this workshop, I will address the basics of Islam that are necessary for one to understand that it is not a monolith. I will also address types of implicit and explicit discrimination and racism against Muslims using specific examples and ways to address these situations. Lastly, I would like to describe and discuss how we can create safe and inclusive spaces in schools for Muslim students and educators alike.

Target audience: Elementary, Middle School, Secondary Education
Instructional Inclusivity and Identifying Individuals in Need of Intervention
Colleen Caparotta, Northern Regional Education Services Commission
Rebecca Zolotkovsky, Northern Regional Education Services Commission
As New Jersey has officially declared itself a bi-literate state, educators are required to adapt curriculum-based lesson plans so as to be more inclusive of, and accessible to, English language learners (ELLs). Using the FABRIC paradigm from, which aims to provide a guiding framework to help bridge the gap between the grade-level curriculum and ELLs, this presentation will provide practical solutions for in-class inclusivity support while touching on the characteristics to be expected in typically developing ELLs. Our intent is to provide educators with evidence-based tools that both promote ELL participation and that can be used to check lesson comprehension, while also highlighting potential red flags, which may suggest the need for further referrals.

Target audience: Elementary, Middle school education; speech language pathology
Deconstructing Text: Reading and Writing for Multilingual Learners
Margaret Churchill, Closter Public Schools & Vice-President NJTESOL-NJBE
Utilizing the teaching and learning cycle, teachers will develop awareness of genre-based teaching and WIDA’s Key Language Uses. Teachers will deconstruct language features of text to support student reading. Student samples will be examined for awareness of genre and academic language development. Co-construction will be modeled as a format for supporting developing writers.

Target audience: Elementary, Middle School Education
Responding to Gossip: A Critical Incident for Multilingual Learners of All Ages
Miriam Eisenstein Ebsworth, New York University Timothy John Ebsworth, Kean University

We share a current project on intercultural pragmatics, focusing on the critical incident of gossip, a common situation but a treacherous one for English learners. Our data come from 93 Chinese international college students and their American peers, but the issues that are suggested by the study have implications for all emergent multilinguals and their American friends, irrespective of age or background. Our mixed design integrated natural observation, interviews, and quantitative analysis of semantic differential scales. Several distinctions in judgments emerged which were found to be representative of underlying sociocultural values for each group. Intercultural pragmatic contrasts such as these could lead to pragmatic failure and could interfere with the development of intercultural friendship. What options are possible for students? How can teachers or friends help? Activities and insights for learners from a range of ages and sociolinguistic backgrounds will be elicited and explored.

Target audience: Secondary Education, Adult Education, Higher Education
ELL Policy Updates
Jacquelyn León, New Jersey Department of Education
This presentation will provide federal and state policy updates related to how schools can support students who are in the process of learning English. Specifically, the presentation will focus on requirements and data, which inform equitable education for English language learners in a culturally sustainable manner.

Target audience: Bilingual/ESL Teacher and Administrators
Translanguaging: Using Home Language to Negotiate Meaning
Anel Suriel, Franklin Township Public Schools
A new, equitable approach in pedagogical practice to support Emergent Bilingual learners in all grades, contents and language programs. This workshop will introduce the theory and practice of translanguaging through classroom examples and explore options for applications across classroom and program levels.

Target audience: Elementary, Middle School, Secondary Education
1:45 pm – 2:00 pm Break
1:45 pm – 2:00 pm Concurrent Session III
Engaging English Learners within a Sheltered Instruction Classroom and School Community
Annette Bicksler, North Plainfield Public Schools
This interactive workshop will focus on sheltered instruction strategies implemented in a content specific (science) classroom. The strategies presented in the workshop will focus on engaging ELs of varying language levels in order to help them communicate their understanding of the world around them. By actively using these strategies in the workshop, you will be able to modify them for your classroom needs. In addition to this, we will work on ways to help your colleagues become more aware of the needs of ELs in your district and, in turn, providing the support ELs need to succeed.

Target audience: Middle School, Secondary Education
Teaching Strategies for Push-In and Pull-Out Models
Surabhi Garg, Franklin Township Public Schools
Deepal Jhaveri, Franklin Township Public Schools
In our schools, ESL teachers are committed to teaching through both pull-out and push-in models for greater success. During a pull-out class setting, ESL teachers focus on teaching academic language through science and social studies, whereas in push-in periods the same teachers co-teach with homeroom teachers during literacy blocks. Join us to know how we make our push-in model effective through collaboration and pull-out model successful through the use of varied strategies. One of such strategies is “deconstruct – reconstruct,” which helps in developing academic language skills by uncovering language inside complex texts. Another one is using graphic organizers and writing frames in developing comprehension of non-fiction texts. All of these strategies are aimed at building academic language skills continuously across all subject areas.

Target audience: Kindergarten, Elementary Education
"Hola profe": Helping Newcomers Thrive in the Classroom and Beyond
Claudia Lagos, Morris School District
This workshop will present Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT) and Growth Mindset as methods for supporting newcomers. Research shows that newcomers successfully adapt to their educational setting based on the quality of the relationships they build there. Participants will leave with strategies that can be implemented immediately in their classr or school setting. The information gained can be applied to any cultural background but will focus on Latin American newcomers. Teachers, administrators and staff at any grade level that work with newcomers, SLIFE’s, and refugees are encouraged to attend.
Target audience: PreK-K, Elementary 1-4, Middle School Education
SLIFE Reframed: From Achievement Gap to Cultural Dissonance
Helaine W. Marshall, Long Island University-Hudson
This workshop introduces the Mutually Adaptive Learning Paradigm (MALP), an instructional model for Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (SLIFE) that applies the tenets of culturally responsive teaching to this population. Participants work through the model, analyze a sample project, and receive MALP resources, including a Checklist and Implementation Rubric.

Target audience: Middle School, Secondary Education, Adult Education
Eye Movement Behavior in Bilingual Reading
Eunsun Park, William Paterson University
Bilingual people may process written text differently than monolinguals. We will discuss bilingual persons’ eye movement behavior during reading compared to monolingual readers. Eye tracking is used in many research fields such as cognitive psychology, applied linguistics, reading, and neuroscience. It is a useful tool to investigate cognitive and linguistic processing as well as natural reading behavior. In this session, the audience will learn about eye-movements during silent and oral reading, review bilingual reading research outcomes using eye-tracking, and discuss how bilingual reading research findings can be applied in the classroom or clinical practice.

Target audience: Elementary, Middle school, Speech Language Pathology

2018 Conference theme: Dynamic Language Learning at Any Age

8:00 am – 9:00 am Registration, Coffee Service
9:00 am – 10:15 am Concurrent Session I
Supporting English Learners with IEPs for Life After High School
D. Nicole Deschene and Rachel Elizabeth Traxler, New York University
Language Samples from Bilingual Learners: Considerations for Valid Assessment
Betty Kollia, CCC-SLP, Megan Perry, Dara Bassin, and Melissa Pana, William Paterson University
Utilizing Learning Targets and Formative Assessments with English Learners
Kimberly Moreno, Passaic Academy for Science & Engineering, Passaic Public Schools
Transnational Child Migration: Impact on English Language (Re) Learning and Cultural (Re) Integration
Aminata Diop, City University of New York Graduate Center and City College of New York School of Education
Freedom through Constraint: Oulipo, Erasure, & Flarf as Poetic Prompts for English Learners
Elizabeth Estella, New York University
10:30 am – 11:45 am Plenary Session (location: V1012)
Keynote Speaker:  Dr. Diane Larsen-Freeman, University of Michigan
Old Enough (to Learn Grammar)
11:45 am – 12:15 pm Lunch   Location:  Valley Café 
12:30 pm – 1:45 pm Concurrent Session II
Bilingualism and Autism Spectrum Disorders
Stella Kyprianou, CCC-SLP, Brooklyn College, CUNY
Writing in a Second Language from Kindergarten to college: Challenges and Strategies on the Road to Bi-literacy
Miriam Eisenstein Ebsworth, New York University
Timothy John Ebsworth, The College of New Rochelle
Teaching Grammar in the Bilingual/ESL Classroom via Google Suite Applications
Mary Bonitatibus-Garrity, Paterson Public Schools
Content-based Lessons: An Effective Approach for Securing Comprehension of Language Forms and Functions
Mary Carpenter, New York University and the City College of New York
Twelve Ways to Support English Learners in the Mainstream Classroom
Annamarie Altomonte and Vicky Santana, Parsippany-Troy Hills Public Schools
2:00 pm – 3:15 pm Concurrent Session III
Culturally Responsive and Sustaining Pedagogy: Revisiting Approaches to Multicultural and Diversity Education
Fernando Naiditch, Montclair State University
Advocacy of, for, and by English Learners: Taking it to the Next Level
Jeannette Sosa, Paterson Public Schools
Engaging English Learners within a Sheltered Instruction Classroom and School Community
M. Annette Bicksler, North Plainfield Public Schools
Cross-Language Effects and Acquisition of English as a Second Language
Mahchid Namazi, CCC-SLP, Kean University
Motivate the Heck out of them! Get ELLs to Speak, Read, & Write!
Jason Valente, Paterson Public Schools