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April 2003

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KATESOL Spring Conference

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Report from KATESOL Spring Conference

KATESOL Banner provided by Don BlackmanThe Kansas Association of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (KATESOL) celebrated its 20th annual spring conference on Saturday, April 5th, in Hays, Kansas, hosted by the Department of Special Education/ESOL at Fort Hays State University. ESOL educators from across the state converged on the Fort Hays campus for a full day of workshops, presentations, publishers' displays and the opportunity to network and share ideas with colleagues from as far away as Goodland, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri.

Steve Wolf, Director of Migrant/ESOL for Great Bend's USD #428, and Robert Vinton, Director of Migrant/ESOL for Dodge City's USD #443, were two of the distinguished attendees at the KATESOL Spring Conference. Great Bend covered costs for any teacher in USD #428 wishing to attend the event, and the exciting work being done at Great Bend's Riley Elementary School with "Success for All" was mentioned in several sessions. Dodge City Public Schools have embarked on an ambitious project to get every general education teacher in the entire district endorsed for ESOL. The presence of Wolf and Vinton at KATESOL 2003 reflected the importance of ESOL issues in Kansas schools today and KATESOL's role in promoting the interests of English language learners in the state.

Congratulatory letter from KATESOL founder Betty SoppelsaSending her congratulations to KATESOL members for their continued efforts on behalf of English language learners in Kansas was Betty Soppelsa, the first president of KATESOL (1982-83), who now serves the NAFSA Association of International Educators as Deputy Executive Director, in Washington, D.C. Her congratulatory letter can be viewed here.

Many publishers contributed books to give away to teachers attending this year's KATESOL event in Hays. And one publishers' representative, Dorothy Hagan, a native of Dodge City who now lives in Missouri, was present to share new materials from Hampton-Brown and Big Books by George with conference attendees. Many books were also given away as raffle prizes at the noontime keynote dinner, as well as later at a general gathering in the hallway after the final session of the day. Outgoing KATESOL Second Vice-President Joyce Drydale, of HOKSBA Literacy Missions in Wichita, Kansas, organized the conference program and outgoing KATESOL Member-at-Large Mary Head, of Blue Valley Northwest High School in Overland Park, Kansas, organized the publishers' displays. Continuing KATESOL Secretary/Treasurer Bernice Altenhofen, ELL Coordinator for Junction City Schools, USD #475, handled pre-registration and on-site registration for the nearly 50 attendees this year. Continuing Member-at-Large Carol Thompson, of Wichita, helped with on-site logistics on the second floor of Rarick Hall, where concurrent sessions and publishers' displays were held. KATESOL Newsletter Editor Howard Pollock, of the University of Kansas in Lawrence, also attended this year's conference. Outgoing KATESOL President Don Blackman, of Garden City, presided over the events of the day, including the keynote address and the annual KATESOL business meeting.

Morning sessions included Nancy Kraft, Director of the Kansas Parent Information Resource Center,, speaking on "No Child Left Behind: Strategies for Initiating Home and School Partnerships with LEP Families." Don Blackman spoke on "Understanding Mennonite Culture and Learning," where he shared approaches he has used to teach first language literacy as a support for second language learning. Robb Scott, Assistant Professor of Special Education/ESOL at Fort Hays State University, and newly elected First Vice-President of KATESOL/BE, shared information from his visit to the recent NJTESOL/NJBE conference on culturally and linguistically diverse exceptional learners. Scott's presentation was titled "Do We Need A Bilingual Special Education Endorsement in Kansas? Recommended Practices for CLD Pre-referral Procedures." Other morning sessions included Bernice Altenhofen's workshop on "Integrated Vocabulary Activities." Altenhofen described how activities familiar to ESOL teachers have been integrated into the reading program of general education regular classroom teachers who have ELLs, not only benefiting those students but also their English-speaking peers. Rudolph Bustos, a licensed social worker, school psychologist and guidance counselor, Adjunct Professor of Special Education at Fort Hays State University, spoke on "Hispanic Migrant Children and Health Care: Speaking the Languages of Healing." Bustos explained the strong correlation between a child's health and social status and his or her ability to learn. Another morning session was Mary Head's "Special Voice of America Activities," in which she demonstrated and then gave participants a chance to practice using VOA Special English news broadcasts, vocabulary and grammar activities and teacher and student generated quizzes, all accessible at

Dr. Placido Arturo (Art) Hoernicke, Chair of the Special Education/ESOL Department at Fort Hays State University, gave welcoming remarks at the Keynote Lunch, held in the South Dining Hall of the Fort Hays Memorial Union. Dr. Hoernicke said that Fort Hays was very happy to be hosting the KATESOL Spring Conference, and he encouraged teachers to call, e-mail or fax their senators and representatives in Washington in support of the "Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, also called the "Student Adjustment Act," which would allow children of undocumented immigrants to go to college, become legal residents and work in the U.S. legally.

Dr. Hoernicke introduced Keynote Speaker Dr. Socorro Herrera, of Kansas State University, who along with her students from K-State's "Project Besitos," Bilingual Education Students Interacting to Obtain Success,, treated KATESOL conference participants to an unusual and unforgettable Keynote Address. These young men and women presented an engaging array of dramatic readings from their own and others' experiences as immigrants in Kansas schools. At the end of this presentation, Dr. Herrera asked each of these young people, currently working on their teaching degrees and licenses through K-State, to tell why they chose a teaching career and what had helped them overcome difficulties as they struggled to adapt to a new culture and language while growing up in Kansas. Their answers were eloquent and moving reminders of how crucially important the work of ESOL educators and all teachers can be in the lives of our students.

The Besitos project at K-State provides full-tuition four-year scholarships, to get a teaching degree at K-State, for graduating high school seniors who speak at least one other language in addition to English. Dr. Herrera mentioned in concluding her keynote address that there are still slots available for the entering freshman class of fall 2003. The e-mail for more information is: Project Besitos is a federally funded Title III grant which supports a Career Ladder Project. This project will certify/endorse and sponsor students to earn a B.S. in education and become qualified, bilingual/ESL endorsed teachers.

Following the keynote, outgoing KATESOL President Don Blackman presided over the Annual KATESOL Business Meeting. The first and most remarkable order of business was consideration of a motion to meld KATESOL and the now defunct KABE (Kansas Association of Bilingual Educators) into a single organization, KATESOL/BE. After lively discussion of the pros and cons, an overwhelming majority of members present voted in favor of the motion and the name is now officially KATESOL/BE, contingent only on a check of the KATESOL by-laws to ensure the correct procedures are being followed. One of the best arguments put forth in favor of this change, by newly elected KATESOL/BE President Chris Renner, of Emporia State University, was that members of KATESOL/BE will benefit from resources of both NABE and TESOL. It was also decided at the business meeting, by unanimous vote, that the 2004 KATESOL/BE Spring Conference will be held at Fort Hays State University. Additionally, Janet Booth, an ESL teacher in Olathe, was nominated and elected by unanimous vote to fill the Member-at-Large position being vacated by Mary Head.

Afternoon sessions included Kristin Grayson, of Emporia State University, demonstrating "Language Learning Through Arts Integration," to show how the teaching of the core curriculum and target language through music, visual arts and physical movement strengthens the acquisition of language, language structures and comprehension of content areas. Gina Halksworth, a student in the Masters of Liberal Studies (M.L.S.) degree at Fort Hays State University, with an emphasis in ESOL,, presented data from her ongoing masters project, "Building a Program for Delivering ESOL Services in a Rural Kansas School." Yuhua Tsui, from the University of Kansas, presented on "Reading Strategy Usage and its Relation to Reading Performance of Students at the Lower Level of Proficiency." Another afternoon session was Joyce Drydale's "Communication Activities" workshop on games, role-playing and hands-on activities for practicing English skills in a non-threatening environment.

Roundtable of ESOL Endorsement Program Directors

This year's KATESOL Spring Conference also provided a venue for Directors of ESOL Endorsement Programs at institutions of higher education in Kansas to meet and discuss their needs and the needs of Kansas schools and teachers. Participants in this roundtable discussion were:

Dr. Paul Markham, University of Kansas
Dr. Art Hoernicke, Fort Hays State University
Dr. Socorro Herrera, Kansas State University
Dr. Abdelila Salim Sehlauoi, Emporia State University
Dr. Anh Tran, Wichita State University
Ms. Melanie Stuart, Kansas Department of Education

Roundtable participants discussed the new English Language Proficiency state assessments for English languages learners in Kansas schools, as well as the new content test for teachers who complete ESOL endorsement programs after July 1, 2003. Participants also expressed concern for the first-language needs of English language learners, including the need for school libraries to provide more multilingual reading materials for children. Melanie Stuart, from the Kansas Department of Education, reminded panelists and the audience of teachers and administrators that the ELL population in Kansas is growing at three times the rate of other states, so the work of ESOL educators will be more important than ever.

Audience members asked panelists to explain how their different ESOL endorsement programs address the legal rights of English language learners; where funding could be found for non-endorsement enrichment ESOL coursework for teachers in schools, particularly in second language acquisition; and what the prognosis is for the growth of bilingual, multilingual and dual language programs in Kansas.

The Keynote and the Roundtable will be made available by streaming video online for free by Fort Hays State University, the host of KATESOL Spring Conference 2003. For that link, please write to .

Report by Robb Scott, Hays, KANSAS

2003 ESL MiniConference Online