RBERN's ESL/Bilingual Education News from OCM BOCES Instructional Support

May 2016


Welcome to the monthly E-News for the Mid-State Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network (RBERN), located at OCM BOCES in Liverpool, NY.
Please share this information with colleagues in the field. You can also send us items that you'd like us to include in next month's E-News. Mid-State RBERN can be reached at:

Thank you for your interest in the education of New York's English Language Learners.

Dear Colleagues:

Clip ArtThis month’s topic:
ELLs and Special Education

Some ELL students need specialized instruction because of specific learning disabilities. Often, schools have trouble determining if multilingual students have learning disabilities or whether they are simply new to learning the English language. If a new student is suspected of having a learning disability and/or be an ELL, then you must form the Language Proficiency Team (LPT) to assess and determine if a student is an ELL and/or has a learning disability. It is important to use a trained bilingual psychologist and appropriate assessment tools in English and the student’s home language to make this determination. English language learners identified as having a learning disability will receive ENL and special education services.

Did you know?

Melissa Fenn

Here at OCM BOCES at the Mid-State RSE-TASC, Melissa Fenn, is the Bilingual Special Education Specialist! For any questions pertaining to ELLs with Disabilities, contact Melissa Fenn at mfenn@ocmboces.org or call her at 315-431-8472.

New Section Art

We’ve given the RBERN Library its own section. There, we will highlight a book that relates to the monthly topic which you can loan from our library.

RBERN Announcements

Integrating English Language Development and Content Area Learning: A Conversation-Based Approach

February 1-June 16 offered by Stanford University
This is designed to help teachers use conversations to develop students' language, literacy, and thinking skills within content area classrooms. The course addresses how to create a culture of conversation in your classroom, as well as how you can use conversations to teach the skills of interpretation, argumentation, and application across disciplines.

2016 NYSABE Conference in Buffalo

May 21, 2016
The New York State Association for Bilingual Education (NYSABE) will be hosting a dual conference titled: Changing Policies, New Directions: Bilingual Education Paving the Way to Every Student’s Success.

Planning for Effective Instruction of ELs in 2016-17 Workshop

June 1 at OCM BOCES
Reflecting upon the implementation of CR Part 154 in 2015-16, participants will examine their building schedules to ensure ENL teachers can collaborate effectively with content teachers.

Co-Teaching Symposium for Administrators with English Language Learners


June 28, 2016 Seneca Large & Small at OCM BOCES Main Campus
Join Dr. Andrea Honigsfeld, renowned expert of co-teaching for English learners, for an all-day symposium exploring how to offer much needed leadership support for the implementation of the Integrated ENL program requirement of the new CR Part 154.

During the symposium, the presenter will discuss how leaders can support collaborative instructional and assessment practices for ELLs.

Dr. Honigsfeld and Dr. Dove's latest joint publication Collaboration and Co-teaching for English Learners: A Leader's Guide will serve as the foundational resource and will be included. It is the leadership companion to their best-selling teacher's guide entitled Collaboration and Co-Teaching: Strategies for English Learners.

Save the Date! NYS TESOL 2016 46th Annual Conference: Collaboration in the ENL Classroom and Beyond. Syracuse, NY on November 4 & 5, 2016 at the Crowne Plaza Syracuse

RBERN Library

Check out books and other resources, we even have iPads to loan for you to pilot in your classroom.

BookThis month's book highlight: Separating Difference from Disability by Catherine Collier. In Collier’s book, she presents an outline that explains the process as seven specific steps in deciding a multilingual student's strengths and needs. These steps allow schools to make the best decisions regarding proper placement of the student for maximum success.
To find this book, do an enhanced search at the RBERN Library by author or title.

Resource Spotlight

Content Corner

Home Strategies

  • Understood This website offers a Parent Toolkit which allows you to do different activities to see what your child might be experiencing depending on the disability, you can search for apps specifically designed for different learning disabilities, there are plenty of guides and articles, and you can set up an account to tailor everything to your family and child’s needs.
  • PBS Parents Provides parents with an explanation of the Special Education Evaluation process.
  • Day By Day NY An online virtual calendar created for parents and young children. Each day offers a song, a story read online, a video, and craft to do. They also offer a translated Spanish language page.

Newcomer Nook

  • Picture cards Provides pictures that can help students with schedules, behaviors, and academics.
  • Sparklebox A large selection of printables for students with special needs and ELL.
  • Twinkl Picture cards, Handwriting worksheets, and more by grade level for specific needs.
  • Bogglesworld- Find flashcards on many different subjects.
  • See. Touch. Learn. This free app contains over 4,000 pictures with over 2,000 activities designed to teach new words, concepts, or be used as a way for children to express their needs. The app also allows you to create your own lessons and activities.

For Administrators

  • View a Webcast on ELLs and Learning Disabilities. Dr. Elsa Cárdenas-Hagan discusses how to properly assess ELLs for a learning disability and instructional strategies to use in the classroom. It also shows an example of how one school involves and supports parents of ELLs.
  • New York State Special Education Forms and Notices
  • OCM-BOCES has an extensive RTI Resources page which includes a section on ELLs and RTI.
  • Parent Orientation Videos NYSED has just released these videos on the ELL programs in New York State. It is currently available in 8 languages.

Information from NYSED


Coming Next Month

Our topic will be Continued Learning for the Summer.

Citation Reference

Andrea Honigsfeld Picture: Molloy College: Collaboration and Co-Teaching Conference: Integrated Services for English Language Learners. (n.d.). Retrieved April 14, 2016, from http://www.molloy.edu/academics/undergraduate-programs/continuing-education-and-professional-development/careers-and-professional-development-programs/education/collaboration-and-co-teaching-conference

Check out Mid-State RBERN’s blog!


Check out Mid-State RBERN’s blog!
And the ISS Blog
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Contact Us

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