BAP072 The Second BELIEVE_Cafe LIVE with Dorina

Huge numbers of teachers are struggling with mental health to different degrees.  This podcast addressed mental health of teachers and the stigma of mental health issues in the profession.  Dorina Ebuwa joined me for another call in show.

*Disclaimer: No one on this show is licensed to offer advice on mental health issues.  This show’s focus is on how we are all coping with the stresses of the current pandemic and how we are growing our own emotional intelligence.

We take calls that have us discussing lack of engagement from students and how to help ELs when you can’t be with them.

You can listen the show in two parts right here:

Part I

Listen to “BAP072 2nd BELIEVE Café LIVE with Dorina” on Spreaker.

Part II
Listen to “BAP072 Part II 2nd BELIEVE_Cafe LIVE (the rest of it)” on Spreaker.

In this episode, Dorina mentions:

Wendy Turner, M. Ed.


Dr. Brene Brown

Both are incredible folks to follow!

Big thanks to the folks who called in.  This week we had: Shaley Santiago, Michelle Van BalkomJody Nolf & Dr. Irina McGrathcall in with questions and insight.  We appreciate them and everyone who is listening.

If you are looking to UP your own social emotional intelligence, I can’t recommend Dorina’s #BELIEVE_Cafe series enough!  Take just a FEW minutes in the morning to grow how you respond to what is going on right now.  You’ll thank me.  Here is her playlist so you can get caught up 

Here is more on what Dorina can do for you and your district:

We hope you are enjoying these LIVE shows!

Here are other places you can find me:

Free Kahoot for ELs webinar on May 6th!  Register here:

Free Seidlitz Education Webinar on SLIFE.  This one is May 11th. Register here:

The above opportunities are free and this site has a TON of free resources for you.  But here comes the plug for online training or coaching in case you have a need for that.

I’d Love to Come and Work in Your District!

The Seidlitz Education team is really on a roll with our online trainings.  We are providing full day, half day and multi day sessions where we are modeling practical techniques for serving ELs that work in a face to face or online classroom. You can reach me at  Here is some recent feedback:

Thank you to our clients who are able to continue working with us. We are honored to support them!  And thank you to YOU for your desire to self-direct your learning on behalf of your students.  We have plenty here on this site for you!  Reach out if you need something specific.

I’d love to hear from you!



BAP071 #Believe_Cafe & Boosting Achievement LIVE March 28

Did you know that we are doing LIVE call-in shows on VoicEd Radio? Yep!  During this out of the ordinary time, we bring you out of the ordinary radio. I’m teaming up with Dorina Ebuwa, aka Miss Dorito because she is THE person we need to help us with our own Transformative Emotional Intelligence. This might be EXACTLY what you need right now.

You can listen to the show where ever you get your podcasts or right here:
Listen to “BAP071 1st Believe Cafe LIVE with Dorina” on Spreaker.

What is Transformative Emotional Intelligence? Listen to this episode so you can get some insight from Dorina and also hear how it is making such a difference for me and others in our PLN.  Among other things, Dorina challenges us to consider that many educators are experiencing Compassion Fatigue & Vicarious Trauma right now.

Incremental is monumental – @Dorina_Believe

In the show we answer some questions about how to best support teachers right now from our perspective. We also draw on the expertise of our guests!

Just do a quick search on #Believe_Cafe to see some of the positive impact this work is having. Please check out Dorina’s Belive_Cafe show weekday mornings! Here is the playlist to get all caught up.

Our next call in show will be April 18 at 1:00pm ET.  Be sure to tune in to at that time to hear us LIVE.

Jennifer Gonzalez, Irina McGrath and Carly Spina are all mentioned on this show.

Many thanks to these folks who called in to add to the conversation:

Traci Broward

Shilpa Palawat

Michelle Shory

Tina Bergman

What else is going on right now?  Glad you asked!  Here is my 8 min rundown of what I’m tuned in to this week:

Thank you,Dorina and thanks to everyone stopping by this show or this blog.

Stay Healthy.  We love you!


Supporting SLIFE & Marginalized Populations During Covid19

This article was originally published in  Larry Ferlazzo’s EdWeek Teacher column which you can read right here. You should definitely check out that article for more insight from Tan Huynh and Sara Said.

Refugees and Recent Immigrants, Keeping the Achievement Gap to A Minimum During Covid19

By Carol Salva, Educational Consultant, Seidlitz Education

The Challenges

One of the biggest challenges facing educators during this Coronavirus pandemic, is how to support students who were already at a disadvantage academically.  While remote learning can be difficult for any child, Language Learners and students of poverty face unique challenges as the world shifts to distance learning.  

For the purposes of this article, I’m going to focus on secondary Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (SLIFE).  More specifically, the under-educated students who are new to the English language, are new to American education and may also be new to technology. 

I want to begin by calling out the profound lack of equity we are witnessing where these students are concerned.  We can’t ignore the division between those with access to digital media and those without such access (van Dijk, 2020). We need to shine a bright light on the negative outcomes of the Digital Divide and demand a change moving forward.  But I’m going to push that soapbox to the end of this article and start by offering ideas to help teachers of SLIFE be productive at this time.

The Essential Messages

If you are supporting a language learner who is SLIFE, and may not have access to technology or may lack the experience of using technology, I highly recommend that you align your efforts with four essential messages recommended by John Seidlitz (2019) for working with English Learners (ELs).  


  • You are important.
  • What We are Learning is Important.
  • We Will Not Give Up on You.
  • You CAN do it.


The Ideas

Ideas for sending the YOU ARE IMPORTANT message:

  • Reach out to these families regularly. 
  • Communication apps like Talking Points or Remind
  • Text, call, write letters or postcards. 
  • United Way Helpline (2-1-1) or for area services
  • Immigrants and Refugees and Schools: Laura Gardner, consultant. Family Engagement for Refugees and Immigrants Resources.
  • Book drive & distribution
  • Try to reach through friends or family.
  • Include them in class meetings via phone 
  • *Any of the following efforts helps send the message that students are important.

Ideas for sending the WHAT WE ARE LEARNING IS IMPORTANT message:

  • Be explicit about why the work is important.
  • Get training in the basics of Balanced Literacy to be able to infuse reading and writing support in virtual lessons. 
  • Get training in the basics of Second Language Acquisition and techniques for working with English learners  Free webinars abound for this right now
  • Encourage native language literacy.
  • In the absence of technology, we can send home different leveled readers and encourage students to list, label and copy text in combination with illustrations, creating models or using native language.
  • *Many of the other ideas give the message that what they are learning is important.

Ideas for sending the WE WILL NOT GIVE UP ON YOU message:

  • Check in regularly and continue to offer ideas for reading and writing.  
  • Share public broadcasting stations and any education programs. ie:
  • Send authentic letters and ask them to write back.
  • Organize community partners postcard writing campaign.
  • Remind students to read as much as possible (in any language). Remind them of how they are going to gain literacy, the importance of being in print as much as possible. 
  • Find resources at this padlet ( for engaging projects that students can do asynchronously & share synchronously.  Websites for self directed reading are also included there.
  • Remember that many virtual meeting platforms allow call-in from a land line or cell phone – include them as much as possible.  The tech on your end can help you communicate.
  • Send links for videos that teach them how to use an ipad, a chromebook, or other technology.
  • Remind/show students that youtube videos can be slowed down, closed captions in different languages, other language support with tech.
  • *Many of the other ideas give the message that you’re not giving up on them.

Ideas for sending the YOU CAN DO IT message:

  • Show students their progress often.
  • Share stories of inspiration with all students.
  • Create a video to show students how to use chrome extensions for text-to-speech, voice-typing, etc.  
  • Send links for youtube videos with culturally responsive narratives of people, like them, who have overcome similar challenges
  • Send printed blog posts, links, passages of the same type of inspiring narratives. Many are located at this padlet:
  • Council students to understand the plan for learners who may not pass a class or a grade level.  They need to remember that summer school, repeated attempts, tutorials, are all opportunities to improve and get closer to their ultimate goal.
  • Make sure they understand growth-mindset.  We get smarter, we improve, with more effort. 
  • *Continued effort and support should lead to gains that help reinforce a student’s perception of their own abilities.

The Long Game

I’ve worked with under-schooled learners for many years and I’ve been amazed at the positive outcomes they can realize when the student and the educator focus on what is possible in the long run.  Students who arrived having experienced years of trauma, with no native language literacy, go on to not only catch up, but pass up native English peers. In my experience, these students make the most progress when we partner with them to understand how they are going to advance in their literacy and how they can participate in grade-level learning.  One student, Kamal, who still lacks native language literacy, recently told us that he follows the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. when he feels like giving up. He tells himself that he needs to keep moving forward. You and your students can listen to Kamal right here:

The Inequity

I want to lift up all education professionals for the amazing work being done to support these children and all children.  I applaud everyone scrambling to create packets so that every child has some type of curriculum materials while away from school. And many of our colleagues are risking personal harm to provide these materials or even a new electronic device to students like these.  We should be grateful because much is possible with these tools. 

That said, we must realize that we are not offering equity.  

Our goal must be equity, and when we say equity we are talking about a level playing field. An equitable learning experience would mean that we are meeting students at their level academically and offering access to the grade level content regardless of their proficiency in the language of instruction and regardless of their socioeconomic status.  

Your Plan for Moving Forward

As we do what we can to support students with limited education it is important to reflect on what we might have done differently if we’d known the pandemic would have us at home for so long. One of the silver linings to this devastating virus is that so many people are seeing the inequity that advocates of marginalized populations have seen for years.  The world can’t look away from it right now. When schools go to remote learning, the Digital Divide grows greater.  Knowing this, seeing what we are seeing, is it any question as to how we must plan for the future?  We can help the students who have limited access to tech and little understanding of how to be productive in this current academic environment. We CAN help them.  But they shouldn’t be at such an alarming disadvantage.  The inequity should never be this profound again. Administrators and program leaders must learn from this experience and prioritize these learners in their new and improved plans they will make for the next time we take school online. 


Hammond, Z. (2015). Culturally responsive teaching and the brain: promoting authentic engagement and rigor among culturally and linguistically diverse students. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

Otheguy, R., García, O., & Reid, W. (2019). A translanguaging view of the linguistic system of bilinguals. Applied Linguistics Review, 10(4), 625-651.

Seidlitz, J. (2019). Sheltered instruction in Texas: second language acquisition methods for teachers of ELs. Irving, TX: Seidlitz Education.

van Dijk, J. (2020). The digital divide. S.1.: Polity Press 

Villacorta, M. A. (2006). Contingencies of self -worth: Implications for self -determination (Order No. 3208564). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (305313439). Retrieved from


BAP070 Brad Shreffler on Tech4ELs

Need digital support?  Me too.  I can’t help you with your specific Zoom needs (this might help with that) but I CAN offer you some great support for how we may want to be thinking about tech right now.    In this episode, we hear from Brad Shreffler who is a Digital Instruction Coach at a large public middle school in Central Florida. Listen to the show in your own podcast app, on Voiced Radio or right here:
Listen to “BAP070 Brad Schreffler on Tech for ELs 2” on Spreaker.

Brad Shreffler’s job usually includes assisting teachers with the implementation of instructional technology in their courses as a part of the Digital One-To-One initiative.  Like most of us, the COVID19 pandemic has brought new challenges to Brad’s role, but he seems to be handling them with grace.  We actually scheduled this conversation long ago but ironically, we ended up speaking at the beginning of our lockdown.  Brad’s voice is precisely what I need in this time of uncertainty.

Many of us are experiencing anxiety over the tech-heavy new reality of our jobs.  But reflecting and speaking to Brad brings me comfort. It always has! He is one of my favorite people in the world and was always someone who gave me hope.  I follow Brad because technology has been a big part of the success of the students I served.

English learners and students with limited education can participate at grade level, immediately, when we scaffold instruction. Tech helps us do just that.

What a great voice Brad is for us right now.  Consider the fact that he launched a one-to-one initiative at the largest high school in the United States (4,000 students)…and then took an assignment to do the same at a middle school where he is now.Great idea This makes me want to know more about what is happening at Brad’s school.

Tech for ELs – Boosts Achievement for ALL

In the show, Brad explains that his students, who also function as tech support for the campus, are building valuable skills that serve as on-the-job training which is valuable experience whether you pursue a career in tech or not. His class/tech-support team is such a great model for others who are now being launched into a more tech-heavy reality.

One of my favorite parts of this episode is when Brad explains that he actively seeks out EL students for his class.  His school has a heavy EL population so, much like in the real world, having a team with a diverse linguistic background is a bonus.

“I actively seek out ELLs… Even if they don’t have a ton of English proficiency.  Now I am able to encourage this student to feel more confident. – @BradShreffler

I’m so inspired by how Brad explains that emergent bilinguals on his team will still need to work with him to understand how to provide the technology support to their “clients” (students in the school).  This offers authentic opportunities to build language while immersed in meaningful learning opportunities.  It is a win-win-win for the ELs, for Brad and for the student body.  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT!

“He still needs to come to me and explain in English ‘this is thee problem…how do I fix it?’ so I am interacting with him in English but he is still getting to tap into his strength of having a foreign language available. – @BradShreffler.

Brad and I also discuss some of the silver linings that exist for language learners because of our current situation.  Neither of us would with this pandemic on the world.  But we are both trying to focus on the things we can control and the things that will result in positive outcomes for students.

Our conversation goes on to point out the difficulties teachers are facing as we all ramp up our tech skills.  The silver lining there is that we are all becoming more tech savvy with each passing day.  The parallels for our ELs are direct! They also become more proficient each day, even if they are going through difficult circumstances, even if the tasks are cognitively demanding. What an empathy project this is!

Brad acknowledges the unbelievably scary situation of the world right now.  He makes sure to voice that he is not downplaying that or taking it lightly.  But I appreciate his point of view when he asks us to consider the flip side:

“This feels like the most promising time in education.”-@BradShreffler

“Education doesn’t change very fast…because it is such a big machine…it’s like steering the Titanic.  Now all of the sudden, we have the ability to steer the titanic like an F-18… We are in this place to blaze a new path.” @BradShreffler

“Teachers being more confident with technology can only help our ELL students.”@BradShreffler

Brad and I both marvel over the job of a teacher and how under-appreciated that may have once been.  But he points out that everyone he knows is commenting on how hard it is to teach their children and how much they appreciate educators right now.  I find that one of the most important silver linings of all – a light shining on the profession.  More discussion around the important work  teachers do and what they need to be able to serve their students.

I am so grateful for Brad Shreffler for coming on the show.  I would highly recommend you subscribe to his Planning Period Podcast so you can get regular doses of his mindset like I do.  On his show (which has about 120 episodes) Brad interviews education stakeholders from around the globe.  He describes the show as:  a place where he and his guests discuss the biggest issues facing education and what we can do to address them. Brad and his guests look ahead at future issues while addressing the realities of today. This show is for anyone who finds themselves getting into deep conversations in the breakroom during their planning period or anyone who wishes they could.

I was honored to be on the Planning Period Podcast back in 2018 so if you want more Brad & Carol conversation, you can listen to that show right here. #EdBreakroom

So, YES!  Follow Brad Shreffler.  He will better your life.  I know he betters mine and he has for some time now.

Thank you for stopping by this blog/podcast.  I hope you are well and I hope you can feel the vibes I am trying to send to you.  They are vibes of empowerment.

Look forward.

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PS: During our conversation I mention the #Believe_Cafe & Miss Dorito for help with our own social and emotional intelligence.  Go check it out! That happens every weekday! See you there!