Tonya Ward Singer | Keynote Speaker

Keynote: Six Essentials to Teach and Lead for Linguistic Equity
Learn six essential mindsets and actions to teach for equity and multilingual learner (ML) achievement. Collaborate to self-reflect on the nuances of effective teaching for linguistic equity. Get inspired with specific actions you can take immediately to amplify your impact for ML students in your setting.

About Tonya Ward Singer
Tonya Ward Singer is a professional learning leader who helps K-12 educators transform teaching for equity and Multilingual learner achievement. Teachers and administrators describe her work as groundbreaking, dynamic, practical, relevant, and impactful.

Tonya is the author of bestsellers EL Excellence Every Day and Opening Doors to Equity. She co-authored Breaking Down the Wall and EL and literacy curricula for international publishers. Tonya has taught across multiple grade levels as a core teacher, reading specialist, and bilingual specialist, and excels as an international consultant helping schools lead job-embedded, impact-focused professional learning to realize the vision of equal opportunity for every child.

Beyond her work in schools, Tonya is a published poet and co-facilitates antiracism dialogues in non-profit organizations committed to healing racial trauma and ending the legacies of racial oppression.

Connect with Tonya on Twitter @TonyaWardSinger and via her website

Dr. Elizabeth Howard & Shera Simpson | Keynote & Pre-Conference Speakers

Keynote: Bringing Writing to Life through Place-Based Learning

Place-based learning provides a sustained, meaningful context for promoting the writing development of multilingual learners. Place-based learning facilitates the use of five core instructional strategies to support multilingual learners, grounded in a framework of culturally sustaining pedagogy: 1) integrating content and language learning; 2) building background knowledge; 3) providing comprehensible input; 4) scaffolding comprehensible output; and 5) promoting metalinguistic and cross-linguistic awareness. These ideas will be unpacked and explored through multiple examples of writing activities carried out in the context of place-based learning with multilingual learners.

Pre-Conference Workshop: Core Instructional Strategies to Support Multilingual Learners in the Classroom (Additional Fee)

Do you have FOMO with all of the available instructional approaches for supporting multilingual learners? Do you struggle to figure out which approach is best for your context or students? In this interactive workshop, we go below the surface of commonly used instructional approaches (e.g., SIOP, GLAD, Teaching for Biliteracy, Literacy Squared, etc.) to explore five core instructional strategies for supporting multilingual learners embedded in all of these approaches, grounded in a foundation of culturally sustaining pedagogy: 1) integrating content and language learning; 2) building background knowledge; 3) providing comprehensible input; 4) scaffolding comprehensible output; and 5) promoting metalinguistic and cross-linguistic awareness. Participants will have the opportunity to work collaboratively to enhance the use of the core strategies in existing lesson plans.

About Elizabeth Howard

Elizabeth R. Howard is an associate professor of bilingual education in the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut, where she teaches graduate courses on linguistic and cultural diversity and recently launched an online graduate certificate in educating bilingual learners. Her research focuses on dual language education, biliteracy development, and the preparation of teachers to work with multilingual learners, and she is currently the principal investigator of a federally funded grant investigating the development of sociocultural competence in dual language programs and its role in equitable bilingualism and biliteracy attainment. She has also served as a principal investigator or co-PI of several large-scale, federally funded research projects exploring various aspects of the literacy development of bilingual learners, often in the context of dual language programs. Her books include Realizing the vision of two-way immersion: Fostering effective programs and classrooms; Preparing classroom teachers to succeed with second language learners: Lessons from a faculty learning community; and Culturally and linguistically responsive education: Designing networks that transform schools. She is also the lead author of a number of professional resources for dual language educators, including Guiding Principles for Dual Language Education, the Dual Language Program Planner, the Two-Way Immersion Toolkit, and the Two-Way Immersion Observation Protocol (the Dual Language SIOP). Her most recent publication is the forthcoming book Dual Language Tandem Teaching: Coordinating Instruction across Languages through Cross-Linguistic Pedagogies (Velázquez Press). Previously, she has worked as a senior research associate at the Center for Applied Linguistics and as a bilingual teacher in California and Costa Rica, and together with co-presenter Shera Simpson, she is co-founder of Dual Language Connections, providing technical and interpersonal assistance to dual language educators to support the successful coordination of instruction across languages.

About Shera Simpson

Shera Simpson holds a degree in early childhood education from Clemson University and has worked as a dual language educator for 9 years, primarily in kindergarten and first grade. She is the founder and lead teacher of Outside the Box, a dual language program in Costa Rica, as well as co-founder of 3 Chicas, a bilingual curriculum development company. Additionally, Shera is the co-founder and educational consultant at Dual Language Connections, where she provides technical and interpersonal professional development to support dual-language programs in the US and abroad. Together with co-presenter Liz Howard, she is also the co-author of the forthcoming book Dual Language Tandem Teaching: Coordinating Instruction across Languages through Cross-Linguistic Pedagogies (Velázquez Press). They have presented their work at dual language conferences across the country, including La Cosecha, the International Conference on Immersion and Dual Language Education, NABE, CABE and the Southern New England Regional Dual Language Conference.


Dr. Sabrina Wesley-Nero | Keynote Speaker

Bilingual Education and Educational Justice: Mirrors, Windows, and Bridges

Bilingual education must prioritize educational justice. The analogy of multilingual/multicultural education as a mirror and a window is familiar to us. In schools, students should be able to see themselves and their lived experiences and see beyond their lived experiences. The mirror and window are necessary but insufficient. Justice-oriented bilingual education also operates as a bridge that links the world in the mirror and the world visible through the window. Justice-oriented educators equip agentic learners who, possessing their full humanity, cultural and linguistic heritages, and academic skills, craft the connections they desire between the two worlds and recreate the worlds.

About Dr. Sabrina Wesley-Nero

Sabrina Wesley-Nero, Ph.D., is an educationist whose research focuses on the experiences of students who historically have been marginalized as a result of their racial, socioeconomic, cultural, and linguistic identities; the educators who serve these students; and the educational contexts in which these students thrive. At Georgetown University, Dr. Wesley-Nero is an Associate Teaching Professor, the Director of the Program in Education, Inquiry & Justice, and the Assistant Director of the Program in Educational Transformation (where she designed and launched the university’s first US educator licensure and preparation program).  Her work at Georgetown centers community-based pedagogy, culturally and linguistically relevant pedagogy, and an equity-focused, interdisciplinary approach to the study of education and teacher preparation. In addition to her teaching, program design, and program leadership at Georgetown, Dr. Wesley-Nero facilitates educator professional learning in schools and conducts research examining racial, cultural, and linguistic diversity within dual language education programs. Dr. Wesley-Nero has taught in K-12 schools as an ESL, Spanish bilingual, and Spanish Immersion educator. Dr. Wesley-Nero recently was awarded the 2021 Mid-Atlantic Campus Compact Care Engaged Scholar Award.