Touro University TESOL Candidate Meghan Schick on “Making Content Comprehensible for English Learners”

When designing rich and meaningful online courses discussion boards (DBs) are an opportunity to increase both the facilitators’ teaching and the social presence of the students and facilitator. Video DBs create a social presence for students and facilitators, thereby allowing connectedness and group cohesion to develop.

DBs are an important vehicle to measure growth, connect with students beyond text-based contributions, introduce new technology, and interact using different modalities and media. I find that varying the format and giving students the ability to express themselves through different media introduces spaces of discovery, communication, and peer-to-peer learning while giving diverse learning styles various ways to shine.

To gain a further understanding of early interventions as well as the RTI system Touro TESOL candidates were asked to reflect on the importance of providing Multilingual Learners the support and interventions they may need. Candidates also reflected on assessing this student in their native language in order to tell if it is an academic or a language issue.

Video contributions increase “the ability of participants…to project their personal characteristics into the community, thereby presenting themselves to the other participants as real people”

Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2000, p. 89.

Meghan Schick is completing her second semester at Touro Univerity, Graduate School of Education, TESOL & BLE Department and working towards her Master’s in TESOL.

I feel that I have already learned a lot of valuable information that will help me in my career.

Meghan Schick, Touro University TESOL candidate

Meghan Schick: “I thoroughly enjoyed reading Chapter 10 in “Making Content Comprehensible for English Learners.” I am very passionate when it comes to the topics of issues with Reading, RTI, and Special Education for English Learners. As an educator who has the opportunity to work with English learners, I have to be aware of their language proficiency levels. We have to be aware that a student’s difficulty to learn reading might just be from their limited English Proficiency and not mislabel them as special needs.

Echevarria Jana,Vogt,M.E., & Short, D.(2017). Making Content Comprehensible for English Learners: The SIOP Model. Pearson

Meghan Schick, Touro University TESOL candidate


  • How would you avoid the trap of confusing and labeling an entering ESL student with a student with special needs?
  • What is RIT and how might it be useful to you as a TESOL professional?
  • How might you use the RTI-Based Specific Learning Disability Determination Worksheet?


Garrison, R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in a text-based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 2(2 – 3), 87-105. doi: 10.1016/S1096-7516(00)00016-6

Jasmin Cowin plays Claudia Montero’s Evocaciones No. 1 En algún lugar de Plaza Francia


Evocaciones for Harp was written in May 2010 for Floraleda Sacchi. The piece is composed of three movements: it is simple, but deeply emotional and linked to my original land (Argentina) and my city (Buenos Aires). So this is the idea of it: evocations of my city. Evocaciones No. 1 (En algún lugar de Plaza Francia) is inspired from a very nice place in Buenos Aires called Plaza Francia and for this reason one can find the sonorities of French music in it. I liked to stand and walk in Plaza Francia especially at the end of the day. Evocaciones No. 2 (Buenos Aires bajo lluvia) is romantic and depicts the city in the night when it seems crying under the rain. Have you ever been to Buenos Aires? It is a melancholic city. This movement adds to this melancholy of my longing for Buenos Aires as now I am living far away. Evocaciones No. 3 (Buenos Aires despierta) sounds in tango style. It is the most complicated and fast part of the piece. The idea is to represent Buenos Aires awakening early morning and people running to their jobs. (by Claudia Montero, (1960-2021)

This is a live performance with no editing.

Jasmin Bey Cowin, Ed.D. to speak at the virtual 26th Annual NATE Conference Digital Change in the ELT Community in Moscow, Russia

The 2021 NATE Conference is dedicated to Digital Change in the ELT Community. Never has the world faced such fast-paced change and vast digitalization and, as a result, required such spur-of-the-moment creativity and agility from educational professionals. We are in this process together and have a lot of personal and professional experience to share.

Dr. Bey Cowin’s conference topic will be: Innovation, Collaboration, Transformation: Education for a Connected World. The conference host is the National University of Science and Technology.

Globally, the way we educate and are educated is changing at a rapid pace. New technologies and ways of interpreting the world are reshaping educational philosophies and their underpinning pedagogies while transforming modes of delivery in educational institutions worldwide. This presentation explores the necessity of rethinking education for a successful integration in the artificial intelligence (AI) age.

The need to adapt by educational institutions, corporations, teachers, and learners is great. However, what kind of frameworks are necessary for education in the digital age? What resources will be necessary to bring education into digital classrooms from early childhood through tertiary and technical education? What trends and possibilities are on the horizon to educate and train entire generations of educators to stay relevant in the 21st Century and beyond? Five emerging trends for 21st-century education will be explored.

Dr. Jasmin Cowin assumes conference chair position for NYS TESOL 2021 conference

On November 14th, 2020 I was officially installed as the Conference Chair of the NYS TESOL conference 2021 with my Touro colleague Prof. Ching Ching Lin as the incoming President for 2021-2022. Monica Baker assumed the gravel as President 2020-2021. #NYSTESOL2021

Touro College TESOL Candidate Jessica Guzman’s Method Presentation

For this assignment in the course Methods and Materials for Teaching English as a Second Language Touro Teacher Candidates (TCs) plan, record on video teaching a brief mini- lesson to a specific ENL audience in a specifically designed approach to language learning.

Jessica Guzman is an Elementary school teacher holding a Masters degree in Elementary Childhood Education. She is currently a Touro College candidate in the TESOL and Bilingual Department pursuing her TESOL Certification. She chose a quote that best describes her as a teacher. “A teacher who loves teaching teaches students to love learning.” She said, “The most rewarding part of my career is to see my students excited to learn and my greatest accomplishment is becoming a teacher.”

For this assignment in the course Methods and Materials for Teaching English as a Second Language Touro Teacher Candidates (TCs) plan, record on video teaching a brief mini- lesson to a specific ENL audience in a specifically designed approach to language learning.

It is a pleasure to feature Jessica Guzman’s teaching presentation as an example of a thoughtful submission of a “pretend” mini session.

Touro College Candidate Jessica Guzman’s Method Presentation

Touro TESOL Candidate Alessia Tartamella on Program Options and Teaching Models for English Language Learners/Multilingual Learners

Online Discussion boards ensure that course questions and answers are available to all participants, create a repository of shared information and create a permanent record of all postings. Yet, apart from these points, Online Discussion Boards throughout the semester showcase students in-depth analysis of the assigned materials and their scholarly trajectory. This week I am featuring Touro College, TESOL candidate Alessia Tartamella’s excellent contribution.

Alessia Tartamella, a 3rd Grade NYC Public School teacher in Brooklyn, New York, has taught English Language Learners since 2016. She received her Bachelors Degree of Business Administration at Brooklyn College and her Masters Degree in Teaching Children grades 1-6 at Brooklyn College. Currently, she attends Touro College to pursue an extension in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. This will be her last semester at Touro College. “I hope to soon move on to become a certified TESOL teacher in the NYC Public School system.”

  1. In NYS,  what are the  Program Options for English Language Learners/Multilingual Learners?

The Program Options for English Language Learners and Multilingual Learners are Transitional Bilingual Education Program (TBE) , Dual Language (DL) , One Way Dual Language Program, Two Way Dual Language Program and English as a New Language (ENL). (Program Options for English Language Learners/Multilingual Learners, n.d.)

2. Name the five different models currently in use that integrate language and content instruction – refer to Celce-Murcia Unit III readings.

There are different models that teachers may use when lesson planning. According to Celce-Mucia in Unit III, these models were created by experts with different views and embedded theories. The first model is the Hunter model (Hunter, 2004). This model is also known as five-step, seven-step, or nine-step model. Another model is the presentation-practice-production model (PPP). This is used mainly in beginning-level classes of language learning.  The next model is the engage-study-activate (ESA) model. This is a more versatile model than the PPP model because it allows the instructor to adapt the lesson delivery in different ways. This can be taught in different time frames and with students’ engagement in mind.  Another teaching model is the Sheltered Immersion Observation Protocol or SIOP model. This is a model developed with the intention of teaching students learning English from grades K-12th grade.  With this model, the instructor’s intention is to teach language and content at the same time. This model first started as a rubric for teacher’s observations, and evolved into a lesson-planning model.  Finally, the last teaching model is encounter, clarify, remember, internalize, and fluently use (ECRIF). This is a common model used when teachers drill strategies or vocabulary to students. 

3. Name the model that you use most and why.

In my instruction, I mainly use the Sheltered Immersion Observation Protocol or SIOP model. It is very important for students to learn content while learning a new language. In my school, teachers are expected to teach a lot of content to students, even if they do not speak English yet. We are considered a content based school.  This method of teaching English could be challenging for a teacher because it incorporates many things into a lesson, however, for a student who is learning English it allows them to use what they know in their lives and apply it to what they are learning.  This model also allows the teacher to focus on language objectives to get students to the goal or goals of the lesson. Students and teachers can activate prior knowledge, teach vocabulary and apply the lesson to real world situations to motivate students.  Then, students go on and participate in language objectives, strategies and interactions. Finally, students will practice and apply.  This model is what I am required to use in my classroom and one that I enjoy using as a third grade TESOL teacher.

In addition to this model, my school uses the ECRIF model when teaching phonics and reading to students learning how to read. We use a program called Orton-Gillingham, where students participate in language drills that they apply to reading a writing.  This strategy works well for many special education students and some ELLs, but not all. Students are taught the rules of English grammar and spelling.  After they are taught the basic rules through drills and repetition, they use them in practice for reading and writing.

4. Gather some information on student assessment from your school district. What kinds of student assessments are regularly administered, and in what language? If the district includes non-native speakers of English, are testing and assessment requirements modified or altered in any way to accommodate them? If so, how?

There are different assessments given to students in different situations.  During a student’s registration process, they are assessed through an interview and questions to determine the child’s ability in English and if the child may need special education services. This interview process is done by a trained teacher, sometimes a TESOL one and the school psychologist, if necessary. 

For learning, my school district uses different forms of assessments, but they are not altered to accommodate non-native speakers of English.  In the beginning of the year, students are given reading, writing, and math assessments. All students take the same assessment and they are all given without the teacher reading the questions to them.  However, my school district uses an online program called iReady that is tailored to all student’s needs. While the student takes the assessment, the online program adapts itself to the child’s ability.  It alters questions in different subject domains and only asks the just-right amount of questions for a child.  When the student continuously does not know answers to questions, the assessment ends. If a student continuously gets questions correct, the assessment continues on, adding difficulty to the assessment. This is a good way to get accurate ability levels in all students and does not allow them to feel discouraged. This assessment also reads to students, includes videos and engaging characters to keep students interested and excited. 

5. What is the purpose of Commissioner’s Regulations – Sections 117 (Links to an external site.)

The purpose of the Commissioners Regulations Sections 117 is that students must be given a screening prior to entering a school to develop a plan for learning for each child.  The students should be given this assessment to ensure they are placed in the correct learning setting. This is to ensure students with special needs are given a fair placement.  Additionally, speakers of other languages should be given a choice of a placement in a Dual language class, or ENL class when registering, if the school has the option. 

6. How do the BLUEPRINT FOR ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNER/MULTILINGUAL LEARNER (ELL/MLL) SUCCESS (Links to an external site.) and CR Part 154 Comprehensive ELL Education Plan (CEEP) and ENL staffing requirements connect with each other?   (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)

These three resources have many things in common, but the most common theme is the plan for fair instruction for English Language Learners.  These three resources highlight the importance of a structured program for the diverse levels of English Language Learners.  They all enforce inclusivity and structure.  The Blueprint for English Language Learners/MLL success highlights 8 different aspects to teaching English at the highest regard.  The mission of this blueprint is described as “The mission of the New York State Education Department’s (NYSED) Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages (OBEWL) is to ensure that all New York State (NYS) students, including English Language Learners/ Multilingual Learners (ELLs/MLLs), attain the highest level of academic success and language proficiency. ” (The Blueprint for English Language Learners/MLL success, n.d.).  

The Commissioner’s Regulations 154 states that all English Language Learners must experience learning as described in the education plan for ELLs. Principals and staff must submit a plan of action for these students.  By using the ENL staffing requirements, principals can align staffing and instruction to fit the needs of the students in the school. These three resources go hand in hand because they demonstrate the appropriate planning and instruction required for a school to fairly and legally education ELL students. 

7. List 3 surprising fact you learned about in Celce-Murcia Chapter 32: Approaches to School-Based Bilingual Education Mary McGroarty & Shannon Fitzsimmons-

  • “Bilingual education is not only for recent immigrants; there are also approaches aimed at monolingual students who speak only the majority language and wish to develop strong proficiency in another language” (Celce-Murcia, 503)
  • “In the United States, there is a great deal of interest in two-way immersion model designed to serve both language minority and language majority children who wish to learn through the medium of two languages and develop literacy skills in both languages. ” (Celce-Murcia, 506)
  • Although teachers are vital, they are not the only relevant personnel. The presence of school administrators who understand bilingual instruction, other bilingual instructional personnel such as classroom aides and librarians, and bilingual staff members such as shcool secretary increase the likelihood of consistent and effective bilingual instruction.


Blueprint for English Language Learner/ Multilingual Learner Success THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERS ITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK Office of Bilingual Education and World L anguages. (n.d.). (Links to an external site.)

Celce-Murcia, M., Brinton, D., & Snow, M. A. (2014). Teaching English as a second or foreign language. Boston: National Geographic Learning

CR Part 154 Comprehensive ELL Education Plan (CEEP). (n.d.). New York State Education Department. Retrieved September 28, 2020, from

CR Part 154-2 (K-8) English as New Language (ENL) Units of Study and Staffing Requirements. (n.d.). Retrieved September 28, 2020, from

Program Options for ELLs/MLLs. (n.d.). New York State Education Department. Retrieved September 28, 2020, from

The Rotary Club of New York’s United Nations International Breakfast Meeting presents: The Honorable Ambassador Elin Suleymanov to Azerbaijan

As Chair of the Rotary Club of New York’s UN International Breakfast Meetings it is my great pleasure to announce that on Wed, July 29, 2020 we will welcome The Honorable Ambassador Elin Suleymanov to Azerbaijan. Please register

In October of 2011, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev appointed Elin Suleymanov as Azerbaijan’s Ambassador to the United States of America. Prior to that, for over five years, Mr. Suleymanov had been the nation’s first Consul General to Los Angeles and the Western States leading the team, which established Azerbaijani diplomatic presence on the West Coast. Earlier, he served as Senior Counselor at the Foreign Relations Department, Office of the President in Baku, Azerbaijan and as Press Officer of the Azerbaijani Embassy in Washington, DC. Mr. Suleymanov’s experience before joining diplomatic service includes working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Azerbaijan and Glaverbel Czech, a leading manufacturing company in East-Central Europe.

A graduate of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in Medford, Massachusetts, Mr. Suleymanov also holds graduate degrees from the Political Geography department of the Moscow State University, Russia, and from the University of Toledo, Ohio. Mr. Suleymanov has authored numerous articles and is a frequent presenter at academic events. He speaks Azerbaijani, English, Russian languages.

Prof. Jasmin Cowin at the 2020 NAFSA eConnection On-Demand Content Area!

The 2020 NAFSA eConnection On-Demand Content Area eConnection attendees had a unique opportunity to view virtual sessions and posters, and listen to audio presentations at their own pace throughout July.

eConnection attendees had a unique opportunity to view virtual sessions and posters, and listen to audio presentations at their own pace throughout July. The poster fair launched on Day 2 of eConnection (May 27, 2020), our Learning day. The sessions launched on Day 5 of eConnection (June 17, 2020), our Looking Into the Future.

The COVID19 Budget Crunch and Implications on the NYC Department Education Budget

The Peterson Foundation states that “State and local governments fund many of the services that Americans come into contact with on a daily basis, including education, healthcare, infrastructure, income support programs, and police departments. However, governors, state budget officers, and economists are warning that state budgets have been severely impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.”

The Peterson Foundation states that “State and local governments fund many of the services that Americans come into contact with on a daily basis, including education, healthcare, infrastructure, income support programs, and police departments. However, governors, state budget officers, and economists are warning that state budgets have been severely impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.”

In the wake of COVID19, New York City has had to make significant budget cuts for the Department of Education (DOE). For this reason, 3-K for All will no longer be expanding to Districts 1 (Chinatown, East Village, Lower East Side), 12 (Central Bronx), 14 (Greenpoint, Williamsburg), and 29 (Southeast Queens) in September 2020; instead, the DOE plans to offer 3-K in these districts beginning in fall 2021. The DOE will continue to offer year-round programs as planned, including in Districts 1, 12, 14, and 29. These programs, including Head Start, are still available on the 3-K application for families who qualify based on their income and needs. To learn more about eligibility, visit  

One of the biggest cuts to the DOE budget is a $40 million cut to School Allocation Memorandums, which allow principals to use money for what they need at their schools, officials said. There’s also a hiring freeze that’s expected to save the DOE millions. Per Carranza’s letter to teachers, that means “that virtually all vacant positions will not be backfilled. ”

NYC Department of Education Chancellor Richard Carranza sent staffers an email on July 1, 2020 that summarized the following budget cuts:

While many important questions remain, I want to share what we know about the budget.  

Overall, the Adopted Budget includes $400 million in new cuts, and $125 million in restorations of previous cuts, across FY 2020 and FY 2021.  

New cuts to FY 2021 include:  

  • $50 million in summer busing savings as a result of Summer in the City programming going remote this summer.  
  • $30 million in savings to central and field offices resulting from the hiring freeze and OTPS reductions. As stated to divisional COOs, this means that virtually all vacant positions will not be backfilled.  
  • $10 million in cuts to the Schools Out NYC (SONYC) afterschool program.
  • $21 million in cuts to per session budgets, reducing the amount of enrichment, services, and support for students outside of the school day, as well as teacher professional development. 
  • Reductions to centrally-administered school support initiatives, including Comprehensive School Support, EduStat, Teaching Fellows, Teacher’s Choice, Teacher and Principal Leadership programs, and Community Schools.   
  • Further reductions to central OTPS budgets that support travel, food, and other contract spending. 

We will continue to keep you posted as developments arise, but it’s also important to recognize that there was some positive news. Restorations of previous cuts include:  

  • A previously proposed $100 million Fair Student Funding reduction has now been restored. A school-based hiring freeze remains in effect.  
  • The Single Shepherd program, as well as certain social worker positions, have been restored after previously proposed cuts. This will maintain critical academic and mental health counseling support to historically underserved schools.  

Even with these restorations, going back to last July, the net impact of budget reductions over Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021 has been over a billion dollars.  

And that is sobering news!