The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans

Today I attended the White House Initiative (WHI) on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans Community Conversation in Boston, MA. It was an incredible opportunity for CHANGE! This purpose of the event was to participate in a community conversation about the future of educational opportunity and excellence for Hispanic Americans. Juan Sepulveda, The WHI Executive Director executed a a culturally responsive and engaging conversation of where we want to go. He highlighted the vision of the Obama administration and their efforts for Hispanic Americans. One of the things I was most excited to hear was a focus on education from 08 years of age – early childhood education.

Juan Sepulveda, Executive Director of the Whitehouse Initiative (right), Claudia Rinaldi, Ph.D. (right)

He highlighted the 4 Pillars of Education as follows:
1. National Standards & assessments at the federal vs. state level
2. Professionalizing the Teaching Career by
a. Supporting good and effective teachers and encouraging good teachers to get paid more for working in “poor” schools
b. Supporting below average teachers to become good teachers in a variety of ways
c. Focusing on the new generation of potential teachers and encouraging a career in teaching by using forgiveness loans
3. Turn around initiative right now! which means taking the lowest 5% of schools in the US and helping them turn around beginning today
4. Establishing a federal data system to track students' progress and skills.
Juan Sepulveda, Executive Director WHI in Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans

The day was an exciting opportunity to hear the work the OBAMA administration is doing and also to share our individual perspectives as researchers, parents, students, and community organizers. You heard from many including students who share their experience being undocumented in the public educational system, being a student with mental health disorders and other disabilities. We also heard from community organizers, non-for-profit organizations who work with families and children in the early years or young adults who dropped out of school and educational researchers and Hispanics like myself.

Thank you President Obama and Juan Sepulveda for this once in a life opportunity to share and become active in the education excellence for Hispanic Americans.

Community  participation part of the day


Make a difference today for teachers working with ELL with special needs

Often times we want to help but don’t know how. We know English language learners need materials that can help them learn but often times they are the last ones thought about.

Today, through a great teacher, I heard of an incredible place online where you can help teachers in any state, city and or school you like by donating towards a project that YOU support.
Here is a teacher searching for a few IPODS for a listening center to help English language learners practice their reading fluency.

“My kids love audio books! I am a 4th grade teacher in a public school in Massachusetts, teaching special education and English language learners, who have been consistently reading below grade level and need something to HOOK them into reading – and a traveling listening center would do it!

One of the biggest problems I face is the lack of audio materials for my students. Because of the variety of needs of my students, I need them to have materials in the classroom, as well as home, to support their learning at school. In the past, my students and I have recorded fluency passages and our own stories onto CDs, but not all my students have computers or CD players to play them on, so they are unable to take them home. Additionally, some of my students in previous years were embarrassed to take CDs with book titles written on them onto the bus and around their classmates because they thought they might be teased.

Last year, one of my students asked me to record a story for her onto her iPod so she could take it on spring break and help her read the book she was interested in. I realized that iPods were the solution to my problem: if I could use iPod shuffles in the classroom (and set up a strict check-out procedure), we would be able to 1) record books so they could read along, 2) practice their fluency (which studies show to have a direct correlation to reading comprehension), and 3) help my English language learners with their oral language development. Additionally, using iPods would also allow me to teach them how to use an increasingly popular and practical piece of technology that they will most likely use throughout their lives. Using an iPod would also allow them to listen to audio books instead of music on an iPod when around their friends – and nobody would ever know!

If you support this project, you would be responsible for providing my students with the technology to track their reading, listen to stories of their interest to help with their comprehension, help them improve their reading fluency, and teach them that reading is fun! HIDE
Give $25
Give $25
To go: $447
Time left: 36 days
Any amount welcome.

My students need 5 iPod shuffles and 5 headphones for a portable listening center. The cost of this proposal is $446, which includes shipping for any materials requested and fulfillment ?.”

I endorse the mission of this great organization will you?
A real way to help teacher working with bilingual students with special needs– how better can that get?

Find others in your area:

Featured on Cleared View Education

We have featured in this great website under special education related topics at number 54!
*Cleared View Education
Here is their description:
100 Best Blogs for Teachers of the Future
August 4th, 2009

Working hard to earn your teaching degree, you are likely ready to jump right into your own classroom already. Before you do so, check out these blogs to help you prepare for the real thing. From resources for teacher to veteran teachers’ perspectives to the special education classroom to education news, politics, and policy, and much more, these blogs offer information on a wide variety of educational topics.

Found great links to other resources websites for teachers!


Available training for Academic Vocabulary Instruction for Pre-K – 2nd Grade ELLs

WestEd’s SchoolsMovingUp: “Academic Vocabulary for Pre-K – Grade 2 English Language Learners”


Presenter: Pamela Spycher , Ph.D., Director of English Learners and the Language Arts (ELLA ) at WestEd
Dates: September 9, 16, 23, & 30, 2009
Time: 3:00 – 4:30 pm (PST)
Cost: $400 (Please see “Group Options” below)

Live e-Workshop Series Description:

In this live, online professional development series, participants will learn and implement research-based methods of academic vocabulary instruction for English language learners in pre-kindergarten (pre-school, age 4) through 2nd grade classrooms. These methods will not only help teachers to boost vocabulary knowledge in students, they will also make instruction more engaging and fun for both students and teachers.

Participants will explore current research on vocabulary instruction for English language learners in the early years of schooling, have opportunities to share their ideas with colleagues, and receive support to practice implementing strategies in their own classrooms. Download a flier to share with a colleague.

For an introduction to this live e-Workshop series topic and the webinar technology, please watch and listen to Pamela Spycher’s free, archived SchoolsMovingUp webinar, English Learners and the Language Arts , or participate in a live encore presentation of this webinar on August 20.

You may use the following American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) funds to pay for this e-Workshop series:
Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Title 1, Part A
Enhancing Education through Technology
To sign up for this e-Workshop, please visit

Your registration fee includes:
A series of four live professional development sessions using online learning technologies to allow participants to interact with a national expert
One Internet connection to the live series
An online community of educators with which to share resources and discuss strategies

Online office hours with the presenter (Times TBD)
An online filing cabinet to share resources with the presenter and other users
Online access to the activities explored in the workshop for classroom implementation
A certificate of completion indicating ten hours to be used for salary credit
Group Options:
Single Sign-In
Up to ten people at one location using one computer and projector to view the e-Workshop
Group members use one designated facilitator's e-mail account to chat and interact with the instructor/coach during office hours
Only this designated onsite facilitator may submit lesson plans, receive feedback, and receive a certificate for professional development hours
Cost: $400
Multiple Sign-In
At least five people from the same agency or organization, each using an individual login ID
Each person in the group can use their own login and e-mail account to chat and interact with the instructor/coach during office hours, submit lesson plans & receive feedback, and receive a certificate for professional development hours
Cost: $300 per person
*Participation in all four live webinars is recommended, but if you are unable to attend a live session, you may view an archive of that session.

For questions about this e-Workshop series, please e-mail or call (510) 302-4248.

Outcomes—participants will:
Identify multiple, research-based strategies for teaching vocabulary to young English language learners
Describe successful methods of teaching vocabulary used in their classrooms or observed in others' classrooms
Apply instructional strategies for teaching vocabulary in their classrooms
Read and discuss recent research on vocabulary instruction for English learners
Develop ways to observe and track students' vocabulary use in the classroom
Establish an action plan for teaching vocabulary and
Identify resources available for further learning
For more information, please see this e-Workshop series syllabus .

Click here to manage your subscription.
National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition and Language Instruction Educational Programs


Great Vocabulary Resources for ELL and Two-Way Program Teachers

ry these websites you will love them for your classroom:

Vocab Grabber
Vocab Grabber is a new feature from the people who created The Visual Thesaurus.“…it intelligently extracts key vocabulary from any text you’re interested in, allowing you to sort, filter, and save the most relevant vocab words.” See


This website performs a similar function as Vocab Grabber but also will select words from the academic word list from a text that you enter. Don't let the simple landing page from WordSift fool you — sites that enable users to visualize text have great classroom applications. View the demo to watch two wonderful applications of WordSift technology for the classroom. See