Bridges to Dual Language Learning – November 20-21, 2015

inquiry education

Quality teachers for English Learners (QTEL)

WELCOME! This conference is supported by the Quality Teachers for English Learners (QTEL) grant project in partnership with the Missouri Dual Language Network (MODLAN). QTEL provides teachers, teacher educators, school administrators and scholars with the tools they need to contribute to academic language acquisition and education. MODLAN is a group of educators, school and community leaders, and university professors who believe in multilingual education for all students, as linguistically- and culturally-responsive teaching and learning opportunities are essential for success in an integrated, inclusive, and transnational community the graduates will face.
We aim to:

  • Connect multilingual schools and educators across Missouri
  • Share information and research about language education
  • Prepare strong teachers and school leaders for language programs
  • Empower multilingual parents & communities

Conference Organizers: Kim Song, Alina Slapac, Sarah Coppersmith, and Lisa Dorner


Dual Language Immersion Models and Reading Strategies

Marisela Rodriguez, National Executive Coach, American Reading Company
Abstract: Bridges to Dual Language Learning: Equity for all Students
This session will begin as a keynote presentation followed by small group workshops. Participants will overview Dual Language programs across the nation, review research and discuss how to market DL programs. Participants will view methodologies that are best suited for dual language implementation, including a hands-on activity of creating developmental reading taxonomies in English and Spanish. Finally, participants will see videos that will assist them in their attempts to increase their students’ academic and linguistic goals.

Dr. Marisela Rodriguez has been an Executive Coach with American Reading Company for over ten years. Specializing in transformational change in education, she has worked with educators, students, and parents to transform schools into learning communities; develop educational strategies; and establish teaching methodologies which impact all students, but specifically in bilingual, reading, ESL, and dual language classrooms at all grade levels. She has presented at regional, state, and national conferences in all of those areas.

Immigrant Family Lives and Schools’ Responsibilities: From Federal to Local Policies

Lisa M. Dorner, Ph.D., University of Missouri Columbia

Abstract: This session will review three areas of policy that intersect as language educators work with diverse families: language education; immigration; and parent engagement. The conversation will briefly examine core expectations of federal, state, and local policies in each of these areas. Educators will have opportunities to share and to question whether their particular contexts are meeting expectations in each policy area. Participants will leave the session with new understandings of how policies shape immigrant family life and creative ideas for parent engagement.

Lisa M. Dorner, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Educational Policy at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Her research centers on language policy and planning, educational policy implementation, and immigrant childhoods, especially children’s and families’ integration in “new” spaces. As co-founder of the Missouri Dual Language Network, Lisa enjoys connecting people and resources for dual language learning ( She also works with local agencies and educators to develop online curricula and conversations about the immigrant experience ( Lisa’s publications may be found in the American Educational Research Journal, American Journal of Education, Educational Policy, and International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism.

Collaborative Practices for ELL Success

Alla Gonzalez, Ph.D. and Debra Cole

Abstract: Working with ELLs involves building the capacity of school teams, school buildings, and school districts to design and implement effective instruction for linguistically diverse learners. This is true across various instructional approaches for ELL success including one and two immersion, as well as content-based ESOL. This session will explore effective collaborative and co-teaching practices within these instructional contexts.

Alla Gonzalez-Castillo, Ph.D. is a director of ESOL Bilingual Migrant Program in St. Louis Public Schools. Alla has been a language educator for 14 years. She began her career as English as a Foreign Language teacher in Ukraine. When she relocated to St. Louis, Alla joined St. Louis Public Schools as an ESOL teacher where she piloted an elementary newcomer classroom. Serving 4 years as an Academic Instructional Coach, she focused her work on supporting teacher reflection through the use of cognitive coaching techniques. In her current role, Alla promotes collaborative practices in linguistically diverse classrooms.

Debra Cole, MELL Instructional Specialist, St. Louis RPDC
Debra has been a consultant at EducationPlus for three years now. She holds certifications in School Administration, German, ESL, Middle School ELA, Elementary Education, and Early Childhood Education. She is a certified WIDA, CLIMBS, and SIOP trainer. She is a long time language educator having worked as a middle school German, Spanish, ELA, and ESL teacher for 20 years in Illinois. She also served for three years as the Director of Bilingual, Migrant, and Dual Language Education in Beardstown, IL and as the Regional Coordinator for ELLs for the Area III Regional Offices of Education in Illinois before relocating to St. Louis in 2009.

Dual Language Immersion for Academic Achievement

Griselda Pirtle, ELL Director, CCSD59, national leader in DL education, Illinois Resource Center Director

Abstract: Dual Language Immersion for Academic Achievement
Significant changes in our second language learner population, and other critical factors, are resulting in a movement towards implementing Dual Language programs that create fully Bilingual and Bicultural students. The abundance of research on these programs have shown that they are the most effective in closing the achievement gap for second language learners. This session will take an in-depth approach to connecting the change in population with the research, and will explore different program models that effectively achieve the goal of Biliteracy for students. This session will also examine the paradigms associated with Dual Language education and the challenges that practitioners face.

Effective Language Learning Strategies

(Breakout Session): This time will be dedicated to learning about teaching strategies that achieve high levels of academic achievement and language development. It will also introduce practices that effectively work towards metalinguistic transfer in a Dual Language program.

Supporting English Learners’ Academic Language and Biliteracy Development

Nicholas E. Husbye, Ph.D.

Abstract: For students in classrooms, the ability to demonstrate their learning through talk is an essential skill; the ability to engage in academic language, a particular kind of metalanguage allowing insight into thinking and understanding, allows students to establish their competence and provides opportunities for inquiry. The use of academic language by students, however, requires explicit modeling by the teacher with tasks with scope in combination with multiple opportunities for students to practice the language moves being taught. For English learners, this modeling and opportunity to practice in low-stakes scenarios is essential. In this session, you will be introduced to several instructional routine strategies that make visible not only the use of academic language but also the ways in which this academic language is used to represent what students know and how it is known.

Nicholas E. Husbye, Ph.D. is a teacher educator and literacy researcher at the University of Missouri, St. Louis. A native of Michigan, Nicholas spent the majority of his elementary teaching years as a 1st grade teacher, but taught in early childhood classrooms through eighth grade before beginning doctoral work at Indiana University. At UMSL, Nicholas prepares future literacy educators, conducts research into digital literacies, and provides professional development to local districts around the implementation of balanced literacy. His research has been published in national journals, such a Language Arts and The Journal of Early Childhood Literacy. He is currently reading Bailey’s Cheever, enjoyed The Girl on the Train immensely, and thinks Kevin Henkes cannot write and illustrate picture books quickly enough.


Friday, November 20

    1:00 – 5:00 PM
    Group 1: Visit St. Louis Language Immersion Schools: The Spanish School (TSS) – “Exploring Two-Way and One-Way Language Immersion Contexts using the TWIOP Tool,” including tour of TSS and lesson analysis workshops by Debra Cole (MELL), Dr. Lisa Dorner (UMC), and Arlene Galve Salgado (TSS Head of School)

    Group 2: Keynote Speech 1 Room: Summit
    Marisela Rodriguez, National Executive Coach, American Reading Company on “Dual Language Immersion Models and Reading Strategies,” followed by group discussion and workshops

Saturday, November 21

    9:15 – 11:15 AM Continental breakfast and Keynote Speech 2
    Room: Summit
    Griselda Pirtle, ELL Director, CCSD59, national leader in DL education, Illinois Resource Center Director on “Dual Language Immersion for Academic Achievement”

    11:30 AM – 12:45 PM Group Discussion with Facilitators on the Keynote speech theme
    11:30 Lunch will be provided.

    1:00-4:00 PM: Break-out sessions (repeated twice)

    Option 1: “Effective Language Learning Strategies” by Griselda Pirtle (IL) Room: Summit

    Option 2: “Supporting English Learners’ Academic Language and Biliteracy Development” by Dr. Nick Husbye (UMSL) Room: Cypress

    Option 3: “Immigrant Family Lives and Schools’ Responsibilities: From Federal to Local Policies” by Dr. Lisa Dorner (UMC) Room: Hawthorne

    Option 4: “Collaborative Practices for ELL Success” by Debra Cole (MELL), Dr. Alla Gonzalez-Castillo (SLPS) Room: Oak

    1:00 – 2:15 PM: Session 1

    2:15 – 2:45 PM: Break and Networking

    2:45 – 4:00 PM: Session 2

Please note that our sessions will be audio and videotaped for our own learning and for possible use in future workshops; recordings will focus on the presenters. If you have any questions or concerns about these recordings, please speak with a conference organizer.

Special thanks to UMSL QTEL Graduate Research Assistants Ibtihal Salman and Yoli Alovor and to Cynthia Chasteen, Melissa Hild, Kate O’Brien, Debra Cole, Alla Gonzalez and Sujin Kim for research assistance, and to UMSL University Center Operations Program Support Coordinator Stan Holmes for conference assistance.