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Upcoming Events

ALA-EL 2021 Winter Conference (Virtual)

    January 20 - 21, 2021
  • Location: AL

January 20-21, 2021 (Virtual)

Special Thanks to Our 
Conference Partners

Imagine Learning Logo

Imagine Learning partners with educators, providing supplemental digital literacy, math, and assessment programs for students in PreK to grade 8.
Christy Sanders

Curriculum Associates iReady Logo
Curriculum Associates research-based products i-Ready®, Ready®, BRIGANCE® and other programs provide teachers & administrators with resources that deliver assessments and data-driven, differentiated instruction for children.
Kelly-Ann Parson
Reading Horizons Logo

Reading Horizons offers training and curriculum tools that prepare teachers to deliver the principles of reading science in both classroom and virtual settings.
Nate Smeding

National Geographic Cengage Logo

National Geographic/Cengage/Big Ideas Math

Steve Hegan

205-331 7339

Session Access

Virtual participants need to complete the
virtual sign-in sheet linked below. 
Please sign in only once for each day. (Available Jan. 21 at Closing Session)

January 20, 2021

12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Welcome and Best Practices from the Field
Presenters: Mobile County Schools, Decatur City Schools, and Russellville City Schools

There are a number of ways to support the language and literacy development of English language learners (ELLs) that also allow students to participate more fully in classroom activities and lessons. Participate in this session to learn from those in the field who are making  a difference for English Learners in Alabama schools. 

1:30 pm - 1:45 pm


1:45 pm - 2:45 pm

Immigration Considerations for Educators
Presenter: Carol Armstrong

Learn the basics of how our immigration system works and how a child’s immigration status may impact his educational rights and opportunities.

2:45 pm - 3:00 pm


3:00 pm - 3:30 pm

ALA-EL Legislative Platform
Presenter: Michael Douglas

Attend this informative session and learn ALA-EL's key policy areas to improve English Learners’ opportunities and outcomes.


January 21, 2021

9:00 am - 10:00 am

Mi  Sueño Americano
Presenter: Frankie Perez

Mi Sueño Americano (My American Dream) is Francisco Frankie Perez's story from non-English speaking, immigrant high school student to a passionate successful, husband, father, teacher, coach, and mentor.  In his presentation, Frankie shares his journey - the ups and downs, the twists and turns, and speaks to the role teachers play in mentoring students and helping them investigate and realize their dreams.  Frankie is the Head Baseball Coach and Career Prep Teacher at Hazel Green High School in Madison County, where he coached the Trojans to their first-ever 6A State Baseball Championship in 2018.

10:00 am - 10:15 am


10:15 am - 11:00 am

Concurrent Breakout Sessions (Choose 1)

Do You Hear What I Hear?
Presenter: Susan Spezzini, UAB
Facilitator: Adriana Andrade

This presentation guides educators in understanding how the sound system of a first language (L1) can interfere with how English Learners (ELs) perceive and produce English sounds, how ELs unconsciously use their L1 sounds and phonological rules when speaking English, and how this can lead to EL output (e.g., omission of final consonants) often incorrectly identified as an error in vocabulary, literacy, and/or grammar. Given that each language has its own unique set of phonemes, the ELs’ inability to distinguish English phonemes (e.g., /b/ vs. /v/ and /l/ vs. /r/) and words (e.g., beat vs. bit) represents neither a speech problem nor a literacy problem, but rather an L1 interference challenge that can be overcome with support from educators trained in second language pronunciation and pedagogical phonology. This presentation examines how the EL brain perceives English phonemes, how ELs actually produce these sounds, and how ELs can overcome these challenges and, in turn, enhance their literacy skills and confidence as users of the English language.

Looking Back on 2020 - Looking Forward to 2021
Presenter: Susan Beard
Facilitator: Mary Ann Hotaling

Information Sharing from the Office of Assessment

Creating Meaningful Pathways for EL Students
Presenter: Sean Stevens
Facilitator: Ressa Chittam

Looking to create new and innovative pathways for EL students? Need to refine and enhance current opportunities in your school? Come learn how to integrate, support, and expand a variety of options for meeting EL students’ interests and how best to advocate for all students.

11:00 am - 12:15 pm


12:15 pm - 1:00 pm

Concurrent Breakout Sessions (Choose 1)

English Learners and Digital Learning
Presenter: Lisa Tabaku
Facilitator: Ressa Chittam

The current pandemic has impacted ELs and their families in many ways and has thrust many educators into relying on digital instruction to meet their needs for language and content development. This session will look at what factors should be considered when planning virtual instruction for ELs, including the digital support features that can serve to provide effective instruction for ELs during and after the pandemic.

Start Them Off Right: EL and the Literacy Act
Presenter: Adriana Andrade
Facilitator: Mary Ann Hotaling

This presentation will provide us with strategies that can be used in the kindergarten classroom that would help our teachers to support and guide EL students in the process of learning how to read.

The Long Road for Long-Term English Learners
Presenter: Ann Marie Batista
Facilitator: Demica Sanders

This session will review challenges facing long term English learners and discuss strategies for moving them to meet exit criteria and academic achievement.

1:00 pm - 1:15 pm


1:15 pm - 2:15 pm

Closing Session: Using The 6 Principles® to Improve EL Programs and Instruction
Presenter: Deborah J. Short, Ph.D.

This session offers an overview of TESOL’s 6 core principles for exemplary teaching of English learners and describes the vision for EL education in the 21st century. The presenter explains optimal conditions for second language learning, showcases effective instructional and assessment   practices, and  discusses how to use The 6 Principles® for teacher development and program  improvement in schools and districts. By implementing the principles in strategic ways, English language educators can promote multilingual learner success.

2:15 pm - 2:45 pm

Business Meeting