It gives me great pleasure to greet you as the incoming president of this prestigious organization, NYSABE, for the year 2004-2005. Truthfully, I am honored to represent you. My challenge is to meet the needs of such a diverse membership. I come to you as a former language learner, teacher, teacher trainer, Assistant Principal, Principal, coordinator of ELL/BIL/FL. Assistant Superintendent, a parent and last but not least a friend. Throughout the years, I have been involved with NYSABE and have also occupied many positions on the board. To that end, I am hoping that I will be able to represent you well. I have acquired many years of experience in the field. Moreover, I am aware of the challenges we face daily in our positions. I am cognizant of the impact your work assignment has on the delivery of services to English Language Learners. This letter is to invite all of you to rededicate yourselves to this important mission to serve those who need us the most, our ELL student population.
Are ELL students better off today?
This question can be answered in many ways, but let us be clear, this is a call to arms. We need to continue to join our voices and actions with the NYSABE delegates to bring about changes that are necessary for ELLs statewide. We have the duty to work diligently to ensure that our student’s rights to their language and culture are being nurtured so that they may be used as tools for teaching and learning. It is for this reason we have chosen as our theme this year: Bilingual Education: Language and Culture-Pillars of our International Community.
Current research in the filed reminds of the unique values of language background in lesson delivery and the need to cultivate these to enhance learning. We must also value our contributions to the educational process in this state. Our diverse learners must learn through our actions that there are benefits and values that cannot be denied when their language and culture are made an integral part of their education. The failure to recognize such contributions will have a negative impact on building coalition for harmony and hope in our international community.
David Mauricio, our past president, has worked relentlessly to keep our organization on the forefront of issues impacting our population. You have helped him to raise our voices by responding to his call for a larger membership to improve our communication with other NYSABE members in the state. Due to his leadership, our membership has doubled. We are pleased with this gain. To date, our newsletter is read in over two thousand household. This is for the first time in twenty-seven years that we are enjoying such a wide recognition. Our efforts to increase membership in NYSABE must continue. We can do this by pledging to recruit more colleagues for the organization so that our ELLs may have a stronger voice in the decision making processes that will affect their education and thereby their success in life. In unity there is strength! This is why I am reaching out to you to assist the delegate assembly and I to meet the following goals:
- Advocacy- By keeping an ongoing contact with local, state and federal representatives so they can place and keep our ELL population as a priority on their agenda.
- Membership increase – By sharing information with colleagues to reaffirm that Two Languages are better than one. And encourage them to join our organization to acquire knowledge and experience that will benefit our struggle.
- Contribution of resources to our organization – By ensuring that funding and services are available to support Ell initiatives and to duplicate best practices in the field of Bilingual Education and ESL.
- Self empowerment – By attending scheduled educational seminars held by your regional delegates, as well as other educational institutions, and by attending our 28th annual conference, scheduled for March 3-6, 2005, at the Hilton Rye Town, Rye Brook, NY.
I am looking forward to a productive year. I also hope to see all of you at our conference. Until that occasion, you will hear from us via our newsletter and our web site. Where we will share important information with you. Likewise, feel free to share your concerns with as well as your scholarly work that supports our goals by visiting our web site at nysabe.org or by emailing me, Jean Mirvil, at .
Keep up with your commitment and dedication to our ELL population and to our organization.