New Initiatives

The NYS Manhattan Staten Island BETAC is committed to building the capacity of teachers, school leaders, and other personnel through a wide range of professional development offerings. We have designed several new initiatives that are in keeping with our mission to provide our educational community with professional development that focuses on effective teaching and learning practices that are culturally and linguistically responsive to the educational needs of our English language learners (ELLs). The following represents an overview of these new professional development initiatives for the current school year.


New Teachers’ Institute

Established for new teachers of ELLs

A New Teachers’ Institute has been established for new teachers of ELLs. Understanding the many challenges that new teachers encounter during their first years of service and responding directly to what principals say teachers need in the area of assessment, the New Teachers’ Institute is designed to provide a coherent series of PD workshops on practical assessment approaches to support the achievement of ELLs. Workshop topics will include NYSESLAT training; how to analyze assessment data to understand student progress and adjust instruction; and how to differentiate instruction to accommodate varying student levels. The overall goal is to support beginning teachers in building a solid foundation base on the key role of assessment in driving classroom instruction.


Study Group for New Principals/APs of SINI Schools

For new principals and assistant principals of SINI Schools

Created specifically for new principals and assistant principals of SINI Schools (schools in need of improvement) is the launching of a Study Group. Recognizing the key role of school principals in providing equitable and quality education for ELLs, the Study Group will afford new school leaders an opportunity to engage in collegial study to explore and discuss selected chapters in Mike Schomoker’s book, Results Now.

Two key themes, effective supervisory and professional development practices for teachers of ELLs, will be reviewed in order for the participants to develop a shared understanding of these crucial school topics and begin to examine more closely their own school practices in these areas. The Study Group will meet once a month for four sessions beginning in October 2009. An expected outcome of the study groups is for the new school leaders to avail themselves of the opportunity to receive school-site support from the Study Group’s facilitator based on participants’ needs and interests related to the areas of teacher supervision and professional development.


SINI School Site Support and Technical Assistance

Offered as a complement to the Study Group

Guided by the importance of providing school specific PD and offered as a complement to the Study Group, participating new administrators in the Study Group can request technical assistance and/or professional development services throughout the school year. The support provided by BETAC staff will be school specific and customized to the needs of the school leader, and can include school observation visits, planning sessions with school leaders, walk throughs, review of Language Allocation Policy, and other tailored support that is specifically related to the ELL population.

An important goal of this initiative is to provide schools with practical tools to engage in self study to look more closely at the quality of programs and services provided to English language learners. With this in mind, BETAC staff members will also offer individualized technical assistance to interested new principals of SINI schools on how to implement the PET (Program Evaluation Toolkit) which is a comprehensive self-assessment tool to examine their instructional programs for ELLs.


ELLs Academy

Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Supports

In response to the myriad academic and social challenges that many English language learners encounter in our school system (Long Term ELLs, Students with Interrupted Formal Education, and Students with Disabilities), the ELLs Academy will provide participants with a variety of targeted learning opportunities such as conferences and workshops. The ELLs Academy, through presentations from national and local experts, will provide the opportunity for participants to:

  • Understand the basic structure of culturally and linguistically responsive supports such as Response to Intervention (RTI) for ELLs;
  • Analyze research that supports literacy instruction for learners who are culturally and linguistically diverse;
  • Understand and reflect on the general education structures that can support the needs of ELLs through culturally and linguistically responsive practices;
  • Recognize the challenges faced at the national as well as the local level as it relates to the drop-out rate among ELLs and explore possible solutions.


Saturday ELLs Early Childhood Academy

A focus on emergent literacy and language development

The ELLs Academy will focus on emergent literacy and language development in English and the native language for general and special education early childhood English language learners. The program will connect research experts with master bilingual early childhood classroom teachers who will model effective instructional practices for ELLs to provide a strong foundation for later academic achievement. In the process, the Academy will cultivate a professional community of learners to discuss, share, and develop appropriate classroom practices based on current research. The participants will also discuss and share appropriate ongoing authentic assessment strategies to redesign their lessons to improve instructional practices.