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Susanne Peña
Florida, United States
Academic Language and Literacy Development | Academic Language Development | Assessment and Evaluation | Curriculum | Dual Language Implementation & Leadership | Dual Language Leadership | Family Engagement | Initial Program Development | Program Review, Development & Sustainability | Program Sustainability | Spanish

Susanne Peña has been an educator in the K-20 setting for over 15 years. She started her career as a teacher in Title I schools in the New York City Department of Education. She has served as District Coordinator for ESL, Bilingual Program & World Languages for the Amityville Union Free School District. In addition to monitoring the implementation of regulations, she supervised and assisted teachers (grades K-12) to align curriculum and instruction to meet the rigor of the CCLS (Common Core Learning Standards) and Bilingual Common Core Language Arts Progressions.

She also served as an instructional coach, supervisor, and evaluator of bilingual and ENL (English as a New Language) teachers at Amityville School District and was the Dual Language Program Coordinator (PK through 8th grade) at PS/IS 180M in Harlem, NY. Ms. Peña has also held the position of Adjunct Instructor at Brooklyn College for Bilingual and Multicultural Education.She has also held the position of Director/Project Manager for the Dual Language STEPS (Support Through Technology Enhanced Programs and Strategies) Grant at the University of Central Florida.

She is the owner and lead consultant for SMP Education Consulting and is currently pursuing her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Teaching English to Students of Other Languages at the University of Central Florida.

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Margarita Calderón
District Of Columbia, United States
Family Engagement | Spanish | Academic Language Development | Dual Language Leadership

Dr. Margarita Espino Calderón, Professor Emerita/Senior Research Scientist, Johns Hopkins University. She worked on numerous research and development projects from 1990 to 2010 for JHU’s Center for Research on Education of Students Placed at Risk, Center for Data-Driven Reform, and the Success for All Foundation. She was Co-Principal Investigator with Robert Slavin on the 5-year randomized evaluation of English immersion, transitional bilingual, and two-way bilingual elementary programs funded by the Institute for Education Sciences/U.S. Dept. of Education. She developed the evidence-based Bilingual Cooperative Integrated Reading and Composition (BCIRC) program for dual language instruction which is included in the What Works Clearinghouse.

As principal investigator in a 5-year study in middle and high schools funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, she developed a program called Expediting Comprehension for English Language Learners (ExC-ELL). Its purpose is to train math, science, social studies, language arts, ESL and special education teachers for integrating academic language, reading comprehension, writing skills and content knowledge to help ELs and their non-EL peers achieve in the mainstream classrooms. Another program, Reading Instructional Goals for Older Readers (RIGOR), was developed for Newcomers with Interrupted Formal Education. Both programs have been proven to be effective and continue to be implemented in hundreds of schools throughout the country.

Currently, Dr. Calderón and faculty from the Graduate School of Education, George Washington University are recipients of a USDOE-OELA Title III five-year grant to implement and further study “A Whole-School Approach to Professional Development with ExC-ELL” in Loudoun and Stafford County schools in Virginia.

Other research has been funded by the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Labor, National Institutes of Child Health and Development, Texas Education Agency, school districts, and State Departments of Education. She collaborated on longitudinal studies with Diane August, Maria Carlo and Catherine Snow on the National Study of Students Reading in Spanish and Transfer of Skills.

For the past ten years, she has been an Expert Consultant for the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights helping States such as Massachusetts and school districts come into compliance.

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José Medina
Maryland, United States
Academic Language Development | Curriculum | Dual Language Leadership | Family Engagement | Initial Program Development | Program Sustainability | Spanish

Dr. José L. Medina is the founder and Chief Educational Advocate at Dr. José Medina: Educational Solutions. Prior to establishing the boutique educational consulting firm, Dr. Medina was a Scientific Researcher and the Director of Dual Language and Bilingual Education at the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) in Washington, DC. José provides dual language technical assistance, professional development, and job-embedded support to dual language programs across the United States and globally. Dr. Medina is also a keynote and motivational speaker who addresses the need for sociocultural competence as a means to create educational access for all students. He is a former dual language school principal and has served as an administrator and educator at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Dr. Medina co-authored the third edition of the widely-used Guiding Principles for Dual Language Education.

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Shawn Slakk
Virginia, United States
Academic Language and Literacy Development | Curriculum | Dual Language Implementation & Leadership | Program Review, Development & Sustainability | Spanish

Shawn Slakk is the CEO and Founder of ABCDSS Consulting Consortium and works with teachers, administrators, school & state agencies to offer strategies and supports for emergent bilinguals and their classmates both K-12 and adults. He is an author, developer and presenter of professional development sessions centered on academic language, literacy and content integration for core-content teachers teaching additional language learners, plus sessions for the coaches and administrators who support them. Shawn is the former coordinator of Rethinking Equity and Teaching for English Language Learners (RETELL) for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. As a former Certified WIDA Trainer and Title III SIOP Coach, Shawn brings a wide understanding of a variety of strategies and how they relate to language and literacy acquisition as well as lesson delivery. He has served as a Spanish and ESL teacher, elementary and middle school administrator. His BA is a double major in English and Spanish. He earned an MA in English: TESOL and a second one in School Administration. His doctoral work in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Virginia focuses on reading and writing content and literacy development for emergent bilinguals. Shawn has presented at NABE and TESOL. He is the coauthor of Integrando lenguaje, lectura, ecritura y contenidos en español e inglés | Integrating Language, Reading, Writing, and Content in English and Spanish.

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Michael Rodríguez
New Mexico, United States
Assessment and Evaluation | Initial Program Development | Program Sustainability

Michael Rodrguez is the Director of Operations for Dual Language Education of New Mexico, a non-profit organization dedicated to developing, supporting, and advocating for high-quality dual language programs throughout the country. After teaching at the secondary level, he spent fifteen years as a site administrator where he focused on ensuring equity and access for all students. Throughout his career, Mr. Rodriguez has helped establish and implement three dual language programs. In his current position, he heads up the Program Development and Leadership branch of the organization, where he helps schools and districts create quality programs with a focus on sustainability.

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