The annual state-wide CATESOL (California Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) will be taking place here in Sacramento in a couple of weeks.

I’m looking forward to meeting people and learning a lot. On the Friday of the conference I’ll be on a panel organized by Marian Thacher on “Using Technology To Grow Democracy.” I’ll be talking about our Family Literacy Project and our international Sister Classes collaboration. Several other talented teachers, including Barry Bakin, will also be on the panel.

On that Saturday morning, I’ll be leading a presentation/demonstration on “Using Computers To Learn English and Build Relationships.” I’ll be covering how we use technology to develop and strengthen face-to-face relationships at our school, and why that is one of the many reasons we just became one of the very few high schools who have exited fourth-year Program Improvement Status.

By the way, Ted Appel, our principal, and I are co-authoring an article highlighting how working with a student body that’s over half English Language Learners helped our school get out of Program Improvement. Of course, that’s contrary to the conventional wisdom. We’ll be sharing how we look at our ELL students through an asset, instead of a deficit, lens.

I’ll look forward to seeing some of you at the conference!