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Colorado TESOL News

Colorado Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages

Volume 35 Number 2

Fall 2013


 Early registration is now closed.  Thanks to the nearly 700 who have already registered.  ONSITE registration opens at the Red Lion Hotel  both Nov 8 and Nov 9 at 8:00 a.m. (check or cash, NO credit card).
PARDON OUR DUST:  The lobby entrance to the Red Lion Hotel is being remodeled.  Watch for signs to the temporary entrance.
 Academic Credit Options
Academic Credit Options Available to Convention Registrants through the University of Colorado Denver (.pdf)
Convention Program
  • Daily Schedule of Sessions (.pdf)
  • Presentation Abstracts (.pdf)
  • Convention at a Glance (.pdf) 
    Plenary Speakers 
    debracavagejessica keith 
     (From left to right)  Deborah Short, Christina M. Cavage, Jessica Williams, Keith Folse

    2013 Fall Convention

    Blazing New Trails

    Jennifer Shank, 2nd Vice President


    The upcoming 37th Annual CoTESOL Convention is filled with fantastic presentations from university researchers to practitioners in the field. Our theme this year, Blazing New Trails, is fitting due to the changing educational landscape in Colorado. From revised standards and evaluation system in the K-12 setting to the various needs in higher educational sites, this convention will sure to meet the needs of all convention participants.


    Featured speakers will address various strategies and techniques that support linguistic and culturally diverse populations. Debra Short, Director of the American Language Research and Training Center for Applied Linguistics and renowned author, addresses the integration of language and content as well as the methods that support learning in reading and writing. Christina Cavage, Dean of General Studies, ESL and Learning Support at Savannah Technical College, focuses on the research and theoretical background of blended learning as well as the advantages for all stakeholders. Jessica Williams from the University of Illinois at Chicago explores ways in which instruction and materials can become better accessible. Finally, Keith Folse from National Geographic and Cengage Learning will enlighten his audience in how to answer difficult questions that happen in the middle of most language lessons. This year's plenary speakers will surely provide valuable information for a wide range of participants.


    In addition, CoTESOL has lined up numerous publishers to display their materials as well as provide training around their most popular and practical instructional designs and techniques that can be applied directly to the learning environment. Also, CoTESOL SIGs (Special Interest Groups) will be facilitating training and providing information around the many changes and needs found in Colorado. Everyone is welcome to attend these session.


    In closing, the CoTESOL Board would like to thank the various presenters from across Colorado and beyond. Your continued involvement and contributions to the annual convention have created and maintained an organization that exceeds expectations. Thank you for joining us on November 8-9. We look forward to seeing you year after year!!!



    Jennifer Shank

    CoTESOL Second Vice President

    2014 CoTESOL Ballot and Constitution Update
    Erin Kimmel, President


                    I'm excited to announce that for the first time, the CoTESOL board will be approved by the membership prior to the annual meeting by an electronic ballot. This change will allow incoming board members sufficient time to arrange to attend the convention and be formally welcomed, as well as giving members more time to review the candidates. Please vote at the below link by Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 5:00pm MDT:

                    The board has also completed a revision of the 1997 Constitution. The proposed revision can be reviewed at the link below, and comments can be forwarded to until Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 5:00 pm MDT. The revision will be put to a voice vote at the annual meeting, held during the convention luncheon on November 9, 2013:


    Letter from the CoTESOL President

    Erin Kimmel, President


    This year's CoTESOL convention will mark the end of my 5th year of service on the board, and the end of my term as President. It is an honor to have the opportunity to hold these positions, and also to have the chance to reflect publicly on that experience. 

    Although I'm a native to Denver, I started living abroad when I was in college and ended up spending more than a decade overseas. As a society, we now have a wide appreciation of the power of networks, but the loss of mine made the professional move back home very difficult. I found a job, but it wasn't until my former boss, Christine Deines, nominated me to be on the board that I really established myself here. Being on CoTESOL gave me an amazing perspective on all aspects of teaching English here in Colorado, and a rich and deep network that I rely on frequently to do my work to this day. However, I'm not sure that the word network is adequate in this context, because what I really found on the CoTESOL board were colleagues, friends, and mentors. CoTESOL meets on Friday evenings, which seems initially shocking, but I think lends all our meetings a conviviality that is hard to find in other professional contexts. We share a meal, have informed discussion, and almost inevitably find a consensus on issues.   

    One of the biggest mentors to me on the board has been Larry Fisher, the Executive Secretary of fifteen years. You may know Larry as the person to whom you send your registration forms, or who fixes your meal ticket at the convention; he is also one of the most generous people I know and his efforts make our organization one of the most successful affiliates in the TESOL group. His vast institutional knowledge and sense of fun are assets that are invaluable to the workings of the group, and I've learned so much from this shared wisdom and organizational philosophy. 

    While there is no doubt that CoTESOL involves work, I've found tremendous benefits to being a part of this board. I've had the opportunity to meet famous names in the field, to learn from some of our best talent in Colorado, to attend conventions with colleagues from around the world, and to appreciate the time and energy that a group of very busy professionals volunteer to make our conventions a success. I consider myself privileged to have had the opportunity, and extend deep gratitude to everyone who has supported me along the way. I know I'll feel the embrace of this group long after my tenure is finished.




    Buffalo Bill to Visit Convention for Photo Op


    by Genevieve Hale, Adult Ed SIG Co-chair

    This year's CoTESOL theme  "Blazing New Trails"    was chosen because Colorado is leading the nation in various education reforms and innovative approaches to education.  This theme is also fitting due to the Western heritage and independent, rugged spirit of Coloradoans.  Who better to represent the spirit of Coloradoans than Buffalo Bill who once said "I could never resist the call of the trail."  It is said that Buffalo Bill cared deeply about people and particularly children and was a champion of women's rights.  Buffalo Bill first came to Colorado in 1859 as part of the Gold Rush although he didn't have much success.  Over the years, he returned to Colorado 35 times performing in his Wild West show.  After his death, Buffalo Bill was buried on Lookout Mountain near Golden.  His memory lives on though, and this year we will have Buffalo Bill on hand at the convention for photo opportunities.  Please stop by the vendor area and have a chat with him and take a photo.  We look forward to seeing you at the convention.  Happy trails!

    Liz Masterson and Cinnamon Sue to Perform at CoTESOL Convention
    Dieter Bruhn, Hospitality/Entertainment Liaison



    Friday, November 8 at 5:00 pm

    Jefferson Grand Ballroom, Red Lion Hotel 


    In line with our Convention theme, "Blazing New Trails", famed Western music singer Liz Masterson and her sidekick, Cinnamon Sue, will be wowing the audience at our CoTESOL Convention on Friday, November 8 at 5:00 p.m. in the Jefferson Grand Ballroom at the Red Lion Hotel.


    Liz, a Denver native and award-winning singer, began performing Western music in 1982 and was quickly recognized as a "trail blazer" for the revival of this art form. She was named the 1998 Western Music Female Performer of the Year, and she also received the Patsy Montana Cowgirl Award in 2000.


    Susan Dailey, also known as Cinnamon Sue, is an acclaimed mandolin player and expert harmony singer. She and Liz are currently developing Western Heritage Programs that combine music, stories, and visual art and are designed to be both educational and entertaining.


    CoTESOL is fortunate to have such renowned performers, so be sure to put this on your calendar as a must-see part of your CoTESOL Convention plans. 

    Colorado participates in 2013 TESOL Advocacy & Policy Summit

    Angela Bell, Socio-Political Liaison

    Stephanie Dewing, Teacher Education/Action Research SIG Co-Chair


    On June 16-18, 2013 Angela Bell and Stephanie Dewing, joined by other advocates- Jorge Garcia from the BUENO policy center and Jim Lyons, a Washington based attorney & advisor to the BUENO Policy Center

    came together with over 50 other members of TESOL International Association in Washington, DC for the 2013 TESOL Advocacy & Policy Summit, formerly TESOL Advocacy Day. Now in its eighth year, the program featured a full a day of issue briefings and activities around education legislation and advocacy, followed by a day of visits to Congressional offices on Capitol Hill. With representatives from over 20 US affiliates in attendance, the goals of Advocacy Day were not only to lobby on key issues for TESOL, but also to provide an interactive learning experience for participants on elements of advocacy. By the end of the event, TESOL members had visited the offices of approximately 100 Representatives and Senators.


    As contrasted with TESOL Advocacy Day in the past, which typically focused on a single piece of legislation, the TESOL Advocacy & Policy Summit had a broader policy agenda. The program of the Summit was essentially divided into two parts: policy and advocacy. The goal was to not only learn more about federal policy issues impacting ESL and ELLs, but to provide a hands-on learning experience on elements of advocacy.


    To fully prepare for the Summit, participants were required to do several things in advance. For example, participants had to set up their own individual meetings with their Congressional representatives. To assist with this, TESOL International Association provided directions and guidance, as well as the list of specific representatives and senators to contact. It is surprisingly easy to schedule a meeting with staff of your representatives in D.C. If you are interested in learning more, please contact Angela at or Stephanie at


    Participants were also sent talking points and background information on key issues so they could begin to familiarize themselves with the issues in advance. To help make their Congressional meetings more effective, participants were also encouraged to find examples from their own programs to illustrate the talking points. For example, Chris Tombari was concerned that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) has eliminated the "Ability To Benefit" test for students who do not have high school diplomas or GEDs, which may hurt students who cannot prove they went to high school because their documents are irretrievable.We initiated a discussion on this issue with other advocates and US Department of Education staff to see how they could support a review of this new rule. We were also able to collect personal stories of how the federal budget cuts to education, when added to the state and local cuts, really hurt our programs and to explain that as our ELL numbers rise in Colorado, our programs are getting less money to support them.


    The first part of the Summit focused on policy issues. Following a welcome reception and overview of policy issues the evening before, the program started the morning of June 17 with briefings from experts on key issues and legislation. Adam Fernandez, Legislative Associate with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) and co-chair of the Hispanic Education Coalition (HEC) started the morning with a discussion of some of the issues in immigration reform and reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) impacting ELLs. This was followed by a panel featuring Joanne Urrutia from the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) and Supreet Anand of the Title III Group at the U.S. Department of Education who co-presented on the activities of their offices. To close out the morning, Debra Suarez from the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) at the US Department of Education provided an update on new initiatives for adult ESL and adult education.

    Following these briefings, the Summit shifted its focus to advocacy with a series of activities to help participants learn more about the advocacy process, and prepare for their meetings with members of Congress. Participants had a chance to meet in small groups to discuss various issues they faced locally, and to share tips and ideas in meeting with legislators.


    To maximize the impact of the Summit, key members of Congress serving on the education and appropriations committees in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives were identified for meetings. On June 18, participants went to Capitol Hill to have meetings with members of Congress and staff. Participants attending from the same state were teamed up so they could meet with the legislators in small groups. This year, Angela, Stephanie, Jorge, and Jim met with staff from the offices of Senators Udall and Bennet and Congressmen Polis and Lamborn to discuss the impact of budget cuts to ELL programs and to share success stories from programs that are provided the appropriate resources. It was an important week, as Immigration Reform was being debated the week we were there. It is impressive to be able to walk into our representatives' offices and even have lunch in their cafeteria below the House and Senate. It is an experience I would encourage each of you to find time to do. While it is difficult to get face time with the senators and representatives, it is rather easy to meet with their staffers, who we found to be very knowledgeable about education, and eager to learn more about English learners. It is important that we maintain a voice to advocate for our ELLs; by having CoTESOL affiliate representatives establishing relationships with the education staffers, it helps us to have access to those who make decisions that affect our ELLs and their families.


    At the end of the day, the participants shared their experiences and what they learned. It was interesting to hear what other people experienced on their visit. It was even better having several of us visit together; it made our voice even stronger. Overall, all of the participants agreed this event was a very positive experience for them and for TESOL International Association.


    Additional information about the 2013 TESOL Advocacy & Policy Summit will be available soon online at If you are interested in learning more about your Congressional representatives current legislative issues, go the TESOL U.S. Advocacy Action Center at
    Quick Links

    If you have an questions or comments about this newsletter, please contact the CoTESOL Communications Liaison.
    Hilario Benzon
    Christine Deines,
    Communications Liaisons/
    Newsletter Editors 


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    Executive Board
    CoTESOL Executive Board
    Past President
    1st Vice PresidentChris
    2nd Vice PresidentJennifer
    Executive SecretaryLarry
    Communications LiaisonHilario
    Communications LiaisonChristine
    Publishers' LiaisonRuth
    Hospitality and EntertainmentDieter
    Socio-Political LiaisonAngela
    Adult Ed SIG Co-ChairAlena
    Adult Ed SIG Co-ChairGenevieve
    Teacher Education / Action Research SIG Co-ChairConnie
    Teacher Education / Action Research SIG Co-ChairStephanie
    IEP/Higher Ed SIG Co-ChairMeghan
    IEP/Higher Ed SIG Co-ChairLeslie
    Secondary Ed SIG Co-ChairKelly
    Secondary Ed SIG Co-ChairSarah
    Elementary Ed SIG Co-ChairSandy
    Elementary Ed SIG Co-ChairKenneth
    Content Area Ed SIG Co-ChairSusan
    Content Area Ed SIG Co-ChairNina


    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