Valentina Gonzalez & Karen Lewis on the Boosting Achievement Podcast Ep 4

Do you want systemic change for English learners? How about the ability to promote advocacy for ELs?  Is it possible to do this and also offer support to teachers around the world?  These two ladies are doing just that!  This week we have Valentina Gonzalez and Karen Lewis on the podcast.

You can listen to it HERE: (link updated)

Maybe you have gone to a great professional development but it never took hold across your campus.   Real change requires ongoing support for teachers and administrators.  This week we get to peek behind the curtain and learn from this dynamic duo. The two work as Professional Development specialists in Katy, Texas and in this podcast they explain how they offer innovative approaches to PD as well as ongoing support for the educators in their district.

We discuss this blogpost by Valentina. In it she explains in detail how the Office of Other Languages department in their district rolled out Sheltered Instruction based on the Seidlitz Education book: 7 Steps to an Interactive, Language Rich Classroom. The resources is practical and very well received but the support from Lewis, Gonzalez and their team went way beyond a one-time training.

We also get to hear how they are supporting their teachers to dip their toes into the world of Twitter. They participated in the #ELLChat_BkCLub book study on Twitter featuring ELL Frontiers.  I was also in that book study (thankfully!) and we all agree that the authors do a wonderful job of helping us see what is possible for ELs with effective use of technology.  The Katy OOL support team decided to get the book for their teachers and also offer a tech based training that was differentiated based on teacher proficiency level. 

If these gals sound busy, they are! But not too busy to put on what is likely to be one of the most important conferences this year for teachers of English learners. Karen is the current president of TexTESOLIV and has spent the last year working with her committees to organize and prepare for the state conference which will take place in Houston Nov 2-4th.

I remember Karen talking about her vision for the conference this time last year.  She wanted an uplifting, positive message and was determined to create an event that would promote advocacy and hope for teachers of English learners.   She talks to us her reasons.  She recognizes the real challenges in the profession but also the real rewards and positive aspects of teaching language learners.

The conference promises to deliver on Karen’s vision.  Valentina and I are both scheduled to speak along with many members of our PLN who are coming from around the country. We also have many impressive break out sessions and the two Keynote speakers are not to be missed.  Stephen Krashen and John Seidlitz are creating a buzz and sure to pack the rooms for their Keynote sessions.

It was wonderful to get to hear how these ladies got into the profession and get a glimpse of what makes them such passionate education professionals.

I’m honored to continue collaborating with them.  We mention the next #TxTESOL4 Twitter chat where the three of us will be joined by Tracey Schmidt, the new TexTESOL4 webmaster.  That chat that will be taking place on October 18th at 8pm Central.  Please join us for that!

We talk about how Twitter and Facebook have been powerful for bringing us all together and also helps to support teachers who might not be able to get quality professional development otherwise.  Along those lines, we mention #VirtuEL17, an online conference that is free and YouTube based for teachers to further their own professional development.

Big thanks to Valentina and Karen for all the collaboration this year around the twitter chats and for all they share with us.  Katy ISD is lucky to have them and we are all lucky to have them out in the virtual world!

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