EDUCATION ALUMNA USES PERSONAL JOURNEY TO INSPIRE THE NEXT GENERATION
"Emily Francis leapt from her seat in the audience of The Ellen Show and made a run for the stage. Only after she was perched alongside Ellen Degeneres did the 2016 Cabarrus County Schools Teacher of the Year realize that in her excitement, she hadn’t given the famous talk show host time to finish her introduction. But looking back at her journey—from a one room shack in Guatemala, to a New York airport facing immigration authorities, to crossing the stage at UNC Charlotte to accept a graduate degree in Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL)—it’s clear that Emily Francis had been racing toward a moment like this her entire life." ~ The Language of Love
I love how this article was introduced! The Cato College of Education at UNC Charlotte featured my story on their website this month. They also embedded wonderful pictures and videos they took while visiting me at Concord High School.
To read the entire article and watch the videos, follow this link: https://inside.uncc.edu/featured-stories/the-language-of-hope
Thank you for reading!
VirtuEL Conference Keynote
What Every Teacher of English Learners Should Know
On Saturday, June 23rd, 2018 I had the greatest privilege to join several inspiring and amazing educators from around the world at the 2nd annual VirtuEL Conference. Tan Huynh (@TanELLclassroom) and Carol Salva (@MsSalvac) are the founders of this amazing and FREE online annual conference for teachers of English learners (and all classroom teachers in general).
The lineup of presenters is EPIC - from classroom teachers to authors and professionals in the field. Each presentation is short but loaded with great and very helpful information to support our students. To see all presentations click here: bit.ly/VirtuEL
I was honored to be the mid-conference keynote where Carol Salva interviews me and I share my immigrant/newcomer story. I also share what motivates me to do what I do and what all educators should keep in mind in regards to their language learners. If you'd like to watch/hear the interview, just see Youtube video below or go to the VirtuEL webpage.
I also would like to invite you to follow the hashtag #VirtuEL18 where you'll be connected with amazing educators who share our passion to support language learners.
If you watch the interview, I would LOVE your feedback and learn from you how you will perhaps use this video at your school or in your county.
I leave you with this quote and thought...what are your language learners doing because of YOU?!?
Thank you for reading!
Today was this young lady's last day at Irvin Elementary school. She will be a sixth grader next school year!
Caridad came to Irvin during our 2012-2013 school year. Not only was she new to our school but she was also new to this country. She came from Haiti at the age of 7 and her first language is French. When I first met her, she was this sweet and shy girl. Her mother asked for us to call her 'DaDa' since that was what she was used to. It didn't take long for Caridad to warm up and feel comfortable in my classroom. She quickly began participating and taking risks with speaking, reading, and writing. Her outgoing and enthusiastic character contributed to her fast learning of the English language and her grade-level content. By the time she ended first grade, she was very close to grade level in reading and math.
When Caridad began second grade, she had the courage to speak up and let her teachers and classmates know that she didn't want to be called DaDa. She said, "I don't want to be called Dada because my name is Caridad!" Oh, how I wish I had the courage to speak up like she did when they were mispronouncing my name in high school.
To make a long story short, by the end of second grade, Caridad had caught up with her peers. Academically, she was on grade level and it was only a matter of time for me to find out if she had met her linguistic goals as well.
The school year 2015-2016 was the year when Caridad started 3rd grade. Now, this is the grade level where standardized assessments are administered. This is usually a year where the majority of my ELs students struggle since the assessments are all at grade level text. However, that was not the case for Caridad. I have to mention that during her 3rd grade, she didn't receive explicit ESL services because her last ACCESS scores were pretty high (just not high enough to exit).
All throughout the year, Caridad stayed on grade level. Her teacher and I had no doubt that she was going to do great on her EOGs! And she did! Not only did she pass her ELA and Math EOGs but she scored the highest in her class. AND she also placed out of ESL this year!
With only three years in the country, she was now moving onto 4th grade as an ESL monitored student and above grade level in reading and math.
She continued to be monitored through ESL during her 4th and 5th-grade and her scores not only maintained on grade level but she was always above her peers. She was always involved in extra curriculum activities and after school programs. She was loved by all teachers and her peers.
I was thrilled when I found out that her letter was chosen to be read at the 5th grade graduation ceremony. I twitted about her and it went crazy! :)
Caridad came to me and asked me to help her with her letter and I was thrilled to help her. I was honored that she would think about me to guide her through a very important event.
I shared with her how neat it'll be for her to start her letter saying something in French...and she agreed! I shared with her how important it'll be for everyone to hear her speak her native language and know where she started to where she is now.
If you want to read her letter, here it is! I also have a video of her reading during the end-of-year ceremony.
Gifted program recognition!
Highest math and science achievement!
I am very proud of Caridad's accomplishments. She worked hard! She made it! and she'll go far!
Her success is not attributed to me or her teachers, however, I can't help but think that we provided the opportunities she needed to succeed...and she did!
Her academic and linguistic success reaffirms my WHY! I teach because I believe education is a powerful weapon to fight ignorance and poverty. I teach because it is such a satisfaction to see students grow, learn, and become more!
I wish nothing but the best for Caridad and all our students who leave elementary school today to a new phase in their life. I will miss them...and I will never forget them!
Thank you for reading!