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Colorado TESOL News

Colorado Teachers of English to Speakers of Other LanguagesWinter 2011
Dear CoTESOL Member

It's a pleasure to introduce myself as the new CoTESOL communications liaison.  The first order of business is to pay tribute to Barbara Fletcher, who dedicated many years of service as CoTESOL newsletter editor.   Going forward the board has decided to replace the costly paper newsletter with digital formats.  So stay tuned as we roll out a variety of new means to communicate with the membership.


J. Hilario Benzon

ESL/Dual Language Resource Teacher  []

TESOL 2011

Rocky Mountain TESOL (Arizona, Colorado, Intermountain) Reception at TESOL 2011 New Orleans 


Are you going to TESOL 2011 New Orleans?  Then joing the other attendees from the Rocky Mountain region for the annual Rocky Mountain reception to be held Thursday, Thursday, March 17, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the La Chinaiserie room on the top floor of the Windsor Court Hotel.  There will be complimentary appetizers and a cash bar.

Redlion hotel

2010 Convention Evaluation Results

by Shannon Svaldi, 1st Vice President


Once again, we're here post-convention taking stock of the successes and challenges.  This year, we had more feedback than ever, growing from 3 convention evaluations last year to a whopping 71 this year! It's not yet at the level we'd like, but it is a far cry from last year.  So, everyone who participated, thank you!


So, down to the nitty-gritty of what people said .... Overall, the membership seems to be very satisfied with the work of its board.  However, as in any organization, there are a few points made by the majority of respondents that need attention.


First, SIG forums and the publisher raffle both have very low attendance.  Second, members continue to express that the venue leaves a number of things to be desired.


In response, the board decided in its February meeting to:


  • Hone the SIG mission statements in an effort to more clearly guide the forums and draw in their members;
  • Explore the possibility of introducing a silent auction to the publisher raffle so as to draw more members;
  • Work with publishers to offer items that are of greater interest to the members; and
  • Over the next year, assess at least five different venues around the Denver Metro area to ensure the membership is getting as much as possible out of the funds spent on the venue.


We hope that there will be a direct impact on the 2011 convention regarding the SIG forums and raffle. However, due to the need for planning and booking venues, we do not expect the venue to change for 2011, but rather hope to have delineated some options for the 2012 convention.


Thanks once again to everyone for keeping the board informed about your experience and thoughts. And, if you didn't participate in the evaluation this year, we hope next year you'll take a few moments to share with us so we can better serve our membership.

Elementary Education SIGs Excited for A New Year

by Hilario Benzon and Jennifer Shank,

Elementary Education SIG Co-Chairs


As most of you know, CoTESOL has many Special Interest Groups or SIGs that connect members based on professional areas of interest and expertise. The Elementary Education SIG fosters recognition of English as a Second Language (ESL) as an academic discipline in elementary education, increasing awareness of elementary educators' needs in both the field and the association of CoTESOL, and developing new professional resources for teachers and their students.


As in years past and like other SIGs, the Elementary Education SIG is co-chaired by two people: Hilario Benzon from Jefferson County Public Schools and Jennifer Shank from Denver Public Schools. Together, the two co-chairs are excited to join forces to continue to make CoTESOL's Elementary Education SIG an effective and useful resource and forum for our membership.


Hilario Benzon is in his second year as an Elementary Education SIG co-chair. He is an ESL/Dual Language Resource Teacher in Jefferson County. He has been teaching ESL students since 2003. Previously, he worked as an ESL Teacher and a sixth grade teacher at an elementary school in Jeffco. Prior to Jeffco, Hilario was a Math content teacher at Adams City Middle School in Commerce City. In 1993, he received his B.S. from Syracuse University in business. Upon graduating from Syracuse, Hilario was commissioned an officer in the United States Air Force and Air Force Reserve where he served for 11 years before separating from active and reserve duty to become a teacher. During this time, he also received his M.B.A from Colorado State University in 1998. He completed his teaching licensure through the University of Colorado at Denver. In 2007, he earned his M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Linguistically Diverse Education. Hilario believes that schools must forge partnerships with their communities to affect meaningful change for schools, students, and families.


Jennifer Shank began teaching in Boulder Valley SD as a part-time ESL teacher at Nederland Elementary.  This position spurred her interest in adding this type of endorsement to her teaching license.  She completed coursework at the University of Northern Colorado (UNCO) in 2000 for her graduate level K-12 Linguistically Diverse Endorsement   The following year, Jennifer moved to New Mexico and lived on the Navajo Nation for 4 years where she was able to apply the knowledge and skills gained through coursework at UNCO.  While in NM, she completed her MA in Educational Leadership at Western New Mexico University.  After leaving the reservation, Jennifer settled in Leadville, CO as the Dean of Students at the middle school as well as an adjunct ESL instructor for Colorado Mountain College (CMC).  A couple of years later, she began work in Eagle County Schools as an ELA instructional coach which lead to an ELA director position.  Jennifer continued at CMC as a part-time coach for ESL faculty.  In addition, she has served on CDE's Office of Language, Culture and Equity Advisory Committee for the past 4 years.  Presently, she is completing coursework at the University of Colorado Denver in the EdD program, Leadership for Educational Equity.  Finally, as a Positive Behavior Support Coach in Denver Public Schools, Jennifer is an apprentice to the Office of Professional Development in supporting Culturally Responsive Classroom Management, a hybrid professional development course.  As her current position in DPS is stimulus funded and coming to a close, Jennifer plans to continue her career in the area of ELA in some capacity along the Front Range of Colorado.


As the professionals charged with the responsibility of assuring that children of all linguistic backgrounds receive the necessary English language instruction to achieve both academic and interpersonal success, this year the co-chairs have come together with the following objectives for the Elementary Education SIG:

  • To foster the recognition of English as a Second Language as an academic discipline in elementary education;  
  • To serve as a vehicle of communication for English language educators in elementary education;
  • To stimulate development and adaptation of appropriate materials at the elementary level;  and
  • To make the organization more responsive to the needs of ESL in elementary education.  

Both Jennifer and Hilario are looking forward to a productive year as Elementary Education SIG co-chairs. 


Elementary Education SIG Co-Chairs:

Hilario Benzon and Jennifer Shank


 2011 CoTESOL Board Off and Running

  by Hilario Benzon, Communications Liaison


On February 3, 2011, the new 2011 Board of CoTESOL met for its inaugural meeting at the Colorado Department of Education. The meeting was hosted by 2011 President Christine Deines of CDE. The Board of both returning and incoming members enthusiastically met to set the tone and goals for the upcoming year. 


The Board opened the meeting recapping the CoTESOL Convention 2010. We reviewed convention surveys and discussed what we thought went well and areas of improvement. We also discussed new ideas about possible technological opportunities for upcoming conferences such as making use of a wiki, blogs, and instant messaging.


Under New Business, the Board formed a sub-committee to review and propose changes to the CoTESOL Constitution, Bylaws, and Mission Statement. Next we discussed strengths and weaknesses in a thoughtful discussion about CoTESOL's Special Interest Groups (SIGs).

As a Board, we then set personal goals for contributing to the organization. Each board member shared their own personal goals and what he or she might want to work on this year. We then discussed the transition from a paper newsletter to an online digital newsletter. We closed the meeting with Larry Fisher giving a financial wrap-up of convention. All in all, February's board meeting set a productive and promising tone for the year to come. 

CoTESOL boardmembers  at Feb 11 Board Meeting at CDE.
COTESOL Goes to New Orleans
Fall Convention Feedback
Elementary Education SIG Update
February Board Meeting
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Upcoming Events

35th anniversary
CoTESOL 35th Annual Fall Convention and Exhibition
"35 Years and Beyond:  Creating, Crafting, and Innovating"

November 11-12, 2011
Red Lion Hotel Denver Southeast
3200 S. Parker Rd., Aurora, CO., 80014

Executive Board
COTESOL Executive Board


 Past President Dieter Bruhn
 President Christine Deines
 1st Vice President Shannon Svaldi
 2nd Vice President Erin Kimmel
 Executive Secretary Larry Fisher
 Publishers' Liaison Ruth Moore
 Socio-Political Liaisons Liz Henry
 Adult Ed SIG Co-Chair Katie Collins
 Adult Ed SIG Co-Chair Rita Berberian
 Teacher Education / Action Research SIG Co-Chair Gaye Horne
 Teacher Education / Action Research SIG Co-Chair Christopher  Tombari
 IEP/Higher Ed SIG Co-Chair Elena Freeman
 IEP/Higher Ed SIG Co-Chair Kristen Sturm
 Secondary Ed SIG Co-Chair Christine Loven-  Santos
 Secondary Ed SIG Co-Chair Liliana Graham
 Elementary Ed SIG Co-Chair Jennifer Shank
 Elementary Ed SIG Co-Chair Hilario Benzon
 Content Area Ed SIG Co-Chair Leeann Ribble
 Content Area Ed SIG Co-Chair Sandy Stokely
Mission Statement


 CoTESOL supports its members.

  • Encourages participation in professional discourse.
  • Supports collaboration, networking, leadership and research.
  • Provides professional development.
  • Disseminates information


CoTESOL supports students and education.


  • Advocates and fosters respect for language and culture.
  • Promotes high standards.
  • Upholds the profession of English language teaching.  
Contact Information


c/o Larry Fisher

63 UCB

Boulder, CO.  80309