Empowering Students to Become Leaders

2017 Syracuse PR/HYLI Delegation in Albany. Edward Marte, Namirely Pizarro, Greichalyz Rivera, Henrique DeLemos, Geriane Irizarry, Ilan Mizrachi, Charles Thomson, Alisandra Torres, Ashmir Zephyr Sanchez, Itamar Almanzar Perez, Karla Garcia, Naysha Rios, Omarys Rodriguez, Aruasy Barrios, Milton Estevez, Ruth Rodriguez, Gerson Casimiro-Elías.

On March 27, 2017, a bus filled with 17 sleeping juniors and seniors from districts across the Central New York region; including Syracuse, Binghamton, Utica, Ithaca, Solvay, and Whitney Point, made its way back to Syracuse from Albany. Besides the fact that they’re teenagers, what else could have made these students so exhausted? How about three days of waking up before 7:00 am and working nonstop until midnight! Despite the lack of sleep and overworked brains, the first thing out of their mouths as we said goodbye in Syracuse was, “I can’t wait till it starts again next year!”

These words were spoken by the students of the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Youth Leadership Institute (PR/HYLI) Syracuse delegation. Continue reading

Why Do You Love Teaching ELLs?

Testing season is coming up, and that can be a stressful time for teachers, students, and administrators. With that stress, we can sometimes forget why we decided to become teachers in the first place. We thought we’d send some reminders about why teachers love to teach ELLs and why it’s all worth it. We asked and here’s what you had to say!


“I love teaching ELL’s because they love learning new things and show so much growth”

“I learn as much from them as they learn from me.”

“They progress so quickly”

“They are fun to teach, because you can see them absorbing information.”

“It’s rewarding.”

“I love their enthusiasm and I enjoy learning their culture.”

“Seeing the large amount of growth they make each year.”

“They have a want and drive to learn”

“Because I love watching kids learn and get smarter”

“I love teaching all children!”

“ELLs have a love of learning.”

“I grew up with ELLs and they always wished they had more support. I want to provide that support and help people connect with a new language.”

“Brings diversity”

“I love seeing how much they learn and their growth.”

“I enjoy learning about the different cultures of my students, co teaching with my peers and most importantly seeing success on their faces when thy understand something.”

“Their desire to learn, their appreciation/love for you”

Continue reading

An Update from our Former Mid-State RBERN Colleague, Collette Richmond

This month we interviewed Collette Richmond, a former resource specialist for the Mid-State RBERN. In September, Collette went back into the classroom to teach ELLs at the Central Square School District. I recently ran into Collette and she graciously agreed to give us all an update on how this transition has been going for her so far.

Why did you decide to go back into the classroom? Continue reading

Getting to know the Northern ENL PLC

Some of the members of the Northern ENL PLC. Paul Gugel, Jean Ann, Katie Knapp, Diane Garafalo (founding member), Laura Stevens (founding member), and Bruce Long Peng.

The mid-state region of New York is unique when it comes to our English Language Learner (ELL) population. We have our city schools, which are heavily populated with ELLs and often have at least 3 teachers of English as a New Language (ENL) in each building. Then we have our rural and suburban districts, whose ELL population usually garners one ENL teacher, maybe two. Our ENL teachers in these districts can often feel isolated with no one to turn to with questions or advice in teaching ELLs. I know from personal experience how hard this can be. I have never taught in a school with another ENL teacher, something that was very hard during my first year of teaching. I felt very alone, stressed, and pressured. I survived though, and got use to the isolated feeling of being the only ENL teacher, that doesn’t mean I didn’t yearn for someone to give me guidance and be my partner in crime in this ENL world though. If you’re reading this and thinking “I feel the same way”, no need to fear, the Northern ENL PLC is here! (and your trusty Mid-State RBERN). Continue reading

Co-Teaching with the Writing Workshop

During the 2015-2016 school year, Binghamton Central School District saw tremendous growth in their students writing due to the implementation of the Writing Workshop in grades K-5. We talked to two sets of co-teachers, second grade teacher Cindy Berg and ESOL teacher Darcy Cleveland, and third grade teacher Kristi Beers and ESOL teacher Wendy Perrin, to find out how the Writing Workshop has been beneficial to all students and how they’ve made co-teaching the program successful.

How have you used your co-teachers strengths to implement Writing Workshop for all students?

Cindy Berg: Darcy is always using Visuals. I have learned how important visuals are in everything, and we see them Continue reading

Meet the Mid-State RBERN Team!

Dear Educators of ELLs,

We hope that the start up of the 2016-2017 academic school year has been successful. We at Mid-State RBERN are incredibly excited about the new year. This year promises to be a year of great opportunities as Mid-State RBERN strives to explore ways to better support your districts’ ELL-specific needs. New pathways that have opened so far this year include the establishment of a satellite office at BT BOCES ISC to serve the Southern Tier region as well as being identified as a NYSED CTLE sponsor. In addition, Mid-State RBERN welcomes new resource specialists Carla Miller, Mikian Royer, Mandi Sanchez and Sara Peters.  Our new team members bring a wealth of expertise and knowledge. I have listed their bios and photos for your reference.

miller_carla_300pxCarla Miller: Teacher Trainer
Carla brings ENL expertise from within the Southern Tier Region along with a background leading ENL research and Professional Development on Continue reading

Using a Culture Fair to Engage Teachers, Students, Parents, and Community Members

Stacy Gunnip presenting at the 2016 WGCSD Strategic Planning Meeting

We interviewed Stacy Gunnip, ENL teacher at West Genesee Central School District, who explains how her district utilizes positive school-community partnerships to engage all families.

  1. Please give me a short biography of your education and experience.
    I have been teaching for nineteen years, and I currently teach ENL at the high school and middle school level. I majored in History and Ethnic Studies with a Spanish minor from California State University, Bakersfield. My ENL teaching career began in Los Angeles, California where I worked with bilingual students and received my TESOL certification from Chapman University in Orange, California. I have taught K-12 Special Education, ENL and General Education. My Master’s Degree is in Special Education. In 2006, I relocated with my family to Cato, NY and began as an ESL teacher at WGCSD in 2007.

Continue reading