Colorado Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages
PROVIDING SUPPORT AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT FOR EDUCATORS
2019 CoTESOL Spring Conference
Saturday, April 6, 2019
Engaging, Empowering, and Inspiring our Diverse Communities
Spring Conference Liaison
Greeley, CO: Over one-hundred-forty educators convened at Greeley Central High School today for the annual CoTESOL, Colorado Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, spring conference. Greeley-Evans Weld County School District 6, which boasts the fourth largest population of second language learners in the state, co-hosted the conference.
Participants primarily came from the Greeley-Evans area and nearby northern Colorado communities such as Fort Collins, Loveland, Windsor, Yuma, Eaton, Holyoke, Timnath, and Wray, with a handful of attendees traveling from more distant locations like Alamosa, Colorado and Lincoln, Nebraska.
The conference, whose theme was “Engaging, Empowering, and Inspiring Our Diverse Communities,” sought to provide opportunities for networking and professional development to English language educators in Greeley and northeastern Colorado.
Brian Lemos, District 6’s ELD Director, introduced the conference noting that “74% of our student body are students of color.” Lemos further elaborated, “Diversity is the strength of our community, and we take great pride in the different cultures and opportunities we provide to our students, families and educators.”
Dr. Dierdre Pilch, superintendent of District 6, kicked off the conference during the morning keynote, sharing about the obstacles she encountered in her own educational journey at Wheatland High School and Casper College—both in Wyoming—and the teachers who helped her overcome those obstacles. “You are here because you believe that every student must have access, must have equity [to education],” she exhorted, “That is the power of public education.”
Armando Silva, a Greeley-based artist, performed a “live painting” and shared his own experiences growing up as an immigrant during the lunchtime keynote. He challenged educators to be authentic in their relationships with students. “Stop reading it. Start living it. Live your truth a little bit more,” he exhorted. Silva, a graduate of Greeley Public Schools and the University of Northern Colorado, moved to northern Colorado from Zacetecas, Mexico with his family when he was just five years old.
“Between Armando’s performance and the synergy with the high school carnival, this spring conference has been a wonderful reflection of the inclusiveness of the Greeley community,” said Virginia Nicolai, CoTESOL’s conference services liaison.
Over thirty additional breakout sessions offered, allowing participants to earn credit towards renewal of their teaching licensure through the University of Northern Colorado and Colorado Department of Education. District 6
The conference was CoTESOL’s first on the Front Range since 2014. During the past four years, Spring Conference has been held in various locations on Colorado’s Western Slope, including Grand Junction, Montrose, and Glenwood Springs.
CoTESOL (Colorado Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages), an affiliate of TESOL International, is a non-profit organization whose primary purpose is to provide professional development opportunities to its members, primarily through its Annual Fall Convention in Denver and its Spring Conference, which rotates to different locations around the state each year. Founded in 1976, CoTESOL is one of the top five TESOL affiliates in the United States with over 700 active members.