Schools’ Civil Rights Obligations to English Learner Students and Limited English Proficient Parents

The US Department of Education Office of Civil Rights has released new guidance on the civil rights of ELLs and the rights of LEP parents. The resource page includes fact sheets for parents and students in multiple languages, as well as resources for schools and administrators.

See the DOE OCR webpage: Schools’ Civil Rights Obligations to English Learner Students and Limited English Proficient Parents

Educators needed for WIDA/CAL online Bias, Sensitivity, and Content Review

WIDA and CAL are currently in the process of developing ACCESS 2.0 (Series 401, 2016-17) writing folders and would like to recruit educators for an online Bias, Sensitivity, and Content Review. We would like your assistance with identifying educators for this opportunity. Nominated educators should have experience teaching ELLs. It would be great if they also had Language Arts or Social Studies content background. Due to the format of the meetings being online, it would also be helpful for educators to have participated in Bias, Sensitivity, and Content reviews in the past.

Participants will take part in two online webinars, the first webinar scheduled on January 12, 2015 (4:30-5:30pm EST) and the second webinar scheduled the week of January 19th.

I have attached a memo outlining details of the review process. Please feel free to forward this email and memo to your interested educators. Nominations are due to Pakou Vang ( <>) by January 2nd, 2015. You may either send in the nominations or have the educator email me directly.

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Multilingual Literacy Resources for Parents

November 2014 is Massachusetts Family Literacy Month! Across the state, many schools, libraries, adult learning centers, parent support programs, social service agencies, and local businesses provide organized activities for families during Family Literacy Month. Many of these events involve hands-on literacy activities for parents and children that demonstrate how parents can engage with their children at home. Storytelling, family math nights, readings by authors and community leaders, interactive sing-a-longs, and creating books and bookmarks are examples of family learning activities. 

Parents can help their children develop literacy -- and a love of reading -- by reading to them in their native language. Research shows that teaching children to read in their first language also promotes higher levels of reading achievement in English (Goldenberg 2008). In honor of Family Literacy Month, MATSOL has created a list of Multilingual Literacy Resources for Parents, with links to resources in over 50 languages, including:
    • Reading tips sheets, guides and videos
    • Online digital children's books
See the DESE's Family Literacy Consortium web page for more events and information.

Towards a Plurilingual Approach in English Language Teaching: Softening the Boundaries Between Languages

In this TESOL Quarterly article, Jasone Cenoz and Durk Gorter present a critique of the policy of language isolation in TESOL and propose an innovative plurilingual approach to the teaching of English that softens the boundaries between languages. (This article is free to non-members)

Towards a Plurilingual Approach in English Language Teaching: Softening the Boundaries Between Languages
TESOL Quarterly, September 2013: Volume 47, Issue 3 

RTI-Based SLD Identification Toolkit: Considerations for English Language Learners

This new online toolkit is a detailed resource that summarizes what the law requires and provides a clear vision of best practice related to an RTI-based specific learning disability (SLD) Identification process.  The section "Considerations for English Language Learners" contains Information in the following five areas provides guidance for the instruction of students who are culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) and for making valid decisions for determining special education eligibility. 

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MATSOL Meets Up at Fitchburg Art Museum

MATSOL Members got together on September 21 at a MATSOL Meet-Up at the Fitchburg Art Museum to celebrate opening of the exhibits ONE LANGUAGE IS NEVER ENOUGH: Latino Artists in Southern New England / UN IDIOMA NUNCA ES SUFICIENTE: Artistas Latinos en el Sur de Nueva Inglaterra and MARIO QUIROZ: Mis Vecinos, Portraits of Fitchburg’s Latino Communities. Both exhibits will be on display until January (and Mis Vecinos until September 2015). The museum welcomes school groups, so if you are interested it seeing the exhibit with your class, please contact them:

Greater Boston a Top Destination for Foreign Students

A new report analyses the economic benefit brought by our region's foreign students, with an estimated $1.8 billion spent on tuition and $933 million spent on cost of living over the past four years. Boston has the third largest number of foreign students in the country, with largest numbers at Northeastern, Boston University, and Harvard University. 

This economic benefit is another good reason support fair wages and working conditions for the teachers who are in the classroom educating these students!

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New Start: Strengthening Early Education for Immigrant & Refugee Families

A new website for Massachusetts that chronicles the intersection between immigrant integration and early education.  It is primarily a resource for educators, providers and stakeholders - with the emphasis on empowering families and young children. Includes links to training opportunities, data, and an extensive video archive.

New Program to Certify Dual Language Teachers

Boston College announcement: The Lynch School of Education will launch a program in September to certify bilingual education teachers who work in schools offering dual-language immersion classes where English- and Spanish-speaking students develop fluency in both languages across their academic subjects.

The Teaching Dual Language Learners (TDLL) Certificate Program is the first to be offered in Massachusetts and builds on the Lynch School’s strengths in bilingual education. The school already offers a certificate in Teaching English Language Learners (TELL) for educators in programs that offer English-only “sheltered” immersion instruction to students. View full article...

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English-Speaking Ability of the Foreign-Born Population in the United States: 2012

Using data from the 2012 American Community Survey (ACS), this report examines English use at home and English-speaking ability among the foreign born, focusing on the relationships between English-speaking ability and place of birth, level of education, and years spent living in the United States. While previous American Community Survey reports include both the native and foreign born, this report will focus on English language use and English-speaking ability among only the foreign-born population. (U.S. Census, May 2014)  View Report

An Invitation from the Board of Directors

The MATSOL Board of Directors invites you to two special events at the upcoming MATSOL conference.

Open to all members -- Conference registration is not required for attendance!

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Join the Advocacy April 15-16

Tweet, call and email to let legislators know that you support H479/S225 An Act Relative to Enhancing English Opportunities for all Students in the Commonwealth. The deadline to refer out the bill is this Thursday April 17, so we must act now!

Click here to learn how!

Dual Language at Dever School, Boston

MATSOL opposes the state's plan to dismantle the Dual Language program at the Dever School in Boston, despite promising academic improvements and strong community support. 

Boston Globe
Teachers, parents protest end of bilingual program: State to stop Dever dual-language instruction

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Community College ESOL Position Statement

The MATSOL Board of Directors approved a position statement on Massachusetts Community College ESOL Programs. The statements advocates for 1) Academic Credit for ESOL Courses, 2) Equity for Diverse Populations, 3) Inclusion of ESOL Faculty in Program Changes, and 4) Access to ESOL Courses Statewide.

Read the position statement here .

Advocacy Alert: Urgent Action on ELL Bill

Advocacy Alert: An Act Relative to Enhancing English Opportunities for all Students in the Commonwealth H479 (Sanchez) / S225 (DiDomenico)

1. Enables English language learners and their parents to choose from multiple language instruction educational programs while maintaining students’ opportunities for academic success,

2. Strengthens and ensures proper qualifications for teachers working in the different models of language instruction educational programs, and 
3. Encourages parent and student involvement to facilitate success on an individual basis.

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MATSOL Rallies to Support ELL Bill

Executive Director Helen Solórzano represented MATSOL at a rally at the Massachusetts Statehouse to deliver petitions in support of Bill H.479/S.225, “An Act Relative to Enhancing English Opportunities for All Students in the Commonwealth.” The advocacy coalition there to support the bill included MATSOL, Mass Association for Bilingual Education (MABE), Mass Advocates for Children, META, Parents for a Global Education Association (PANGEA), and chapters of Students for Education Reform (SFER) from various different colleges in the area.


This is the last week for the MA Joint Committee on Education to refer out two important bills for ELL education.  Please voice your support for these bills by Tuesday, March 18!

Bill H.479/S.225, “An Act Relative to Enhancing English Opportunities for All Students in the Commonwealth”

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New Issue of MATSOL Currents

The Fall/Winter 2013 issue of MATSOL Currents is now available to members. 

In this issue:

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Nominate a Colleague: The Anne Dow Award for Excellence and Creativity

The 2014 The Anne Dow Award for Excellence and Creativity will be granted for innovative use of technology tools to enrich and improve English language development.

The Anne Dow Award for Excellence and Creativity is given annually to a professional who has made outstanding efforts that reflect enthusiasm and creative, energetic, independent thinking. This professional displays the ability to take risks, solve problems, support colleagues, and model ethical behavior. Specific criteria vary from year to year, to reflect the many facets of Anne's career and interests. 

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Apply for a Linda Schulman Innovation Grant

The Linda Schulman Innovation Awards program supports projects that promote English language learning and embody the spirit of creativity, sensitivity and community. Grants of $500 to $1,000 will fund one or more pedagogical projects to benefit English Language Learners by improving their language skills or increasing their understanding of American culture.  

See the MATSOL Awards page for more information...