English Language Learners Think Tank

The primary mission of the ELL think tank is to:

  • Inform NYU teacher preparation programs of issues and topics related to English language learners for inclusion in the aspiring teachers' program;
  • Provide support for partnership schools with English language learners;
  • Share and develop resources and tools to support ELLs;
  • Serve as advocates for ELL students 

The ELL think tank is one of the ways the NYU Partnership School Program helps expand the teaching and learning of the New York City public school community, and is run by Rosa Riccio Pietanza, coordinator of partnership schools for Steinhardt’s teacher education programs.

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April 29th, 2016: Hot off the presses: Miriam Eisenstein Ebsworth, Director of PhD and Post-MA Programs in Multilingual Multicultural Studies at T&L, and Chencen Cai, a PhD candidate in TESOL, have just published "Chinese Language, or Dialect: What's in a Name?" in Perspectives: A Publication of the National Association for Bilingual Education, Vol. 39, Issue 1.

April 14th, 2016: Professor of Multilingual Multicultural Studies Shondel Nero has received the James E. Alatis Prize (pictured) from The International Research Foundation for English Language Education for her paper, "De Facto Language Education Policy through Teachers' Attitudes and Practices: A Critical Ethnographic Study in Three Jamaican Schools". Congratulations, Shondel!
Shondel Nero

April 5th, 2016: On April 4th, 2016, the High School for Dual Language and Asian Studies hosted a press conference announcing the creation of new or expanded dual-language programs in New York City: NYC to add dozens of dual-language programs as they grow in popularity

March 16th, 2016: Republican Ron Unz has joined the race to succeed California senator Barbara Boxer. "Unz, 54, stated in a telephone interview that his primary reason for running is to draw attention to an effort to repeal Proposition 227--a ballot proposal he championed in 1998 that dismantled California's bilngual eduation system" and replaced it with English-only instruction.
In a recent analysis, Cal State San Marcos professors Grace and David McField examined all available studies comparing bilngual education and English immersion. They concluded that when both program quality and research quality are considered, the superiority of bilingual education was much larger than previously reported. "Bilingual programs, when set up and evaluated correctly, do not prevent the acquisition of English--they facilitate it." -Stephen Krashen
Source: McField, G. and McField, D. 2014. "The conistent outcome of bilingual education programs: a meta-analysis of meta-analyses." In: The Miseducation of English Learners, Grace McField (ed.), Information Age Publishing.

February 5th, 2016: Congratulations to the High School for Dual Language and Asian Studies! They are one of the six high schools featured in the following report:

To date we have prepared the curriculum modules for: 

  • Overview on ELLs
  • Teaching Content Areas to ELLs: Math
  • Teaching Content Areas to ELLs: Science
  • Teaching Content Areas to ELLs: Social Studies

(Frank Tang, Joanna Labov, Devorah Tedeschi, Mei Ling Tse, Addie Watson, and ELL Think Tank)

Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives 2013-14

NABE (National Association for Bilingual Educators)

TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages)

US Department of Education and Justice English Learners' Tool Kit:

Education Week: Feds Put Spotlight on Needs of Black ELLs

Non-Regulatory Guidance: English Learners and Title III of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)          

September 23, 2016

NYSABE (New York State Association for Bilingual Educators)

NYTESOL (New York State Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages)

NYSED Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages (OBE & WL)

OBE & WL Newsletters: September 2015

Commissioner's Regulations Part 154:

Implementation of New CR Part 154 to Ensure High-Quality Education for English Language Learners

Overview of the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test

NYU Steinhardt Effective Practices for Holistically Educating English Language Learners in New York State

The ELL Think Tank Meetings except Nov 8, will take place from 4:30 to 6pm in 239 Greene Street, Room 302:

October 11

November 8 : Location: Kimball Hall, 246 Greene Street

December 6

February 7

March 14

April 11

May 9

Thursday, October 8

ELL Services and Support
Hongying Shen
Deputy Director for English Language Learners
Manhattan Field Support Center
New York City Department of Education

Meeting Agenda

Thursday, November 5

Supporting Undocumented Student and Families: Film and Discussion
Tatyana Kleyn
Associate Professor
City College of New York, CUNY

Meeting Agenda

Living Undocumented Lesson Resource Guide

Thursday, December 10

How Are ELLs with Disabilities Doing After High School?
Audrey Trainor
Associate Professor
New York University

Prof. Trainor will address the following question: How Are ELLs with Disabilities Doing After High School? and will offer practical suggestions for teachers of ELLs with disabilities as they move from high school to adulthood.

Meeting Agenda

Thursday, February 11

Presentation by the International Rescue Committee: Ensuring Educational Success for Immigrant Youth Affected by Crisis

Sarah Rowbottom - Refugee Youth Program Manager
Kira O'Brien - Youth Program Supervisor
International Rescue Committee

Meeting Agenda

Wednesday, March 9

English Language Learners In the New York City Context: Examining Time-to-Reclassification, Long-Term ELLs, Testing, and Language Support Programs with a Look at Policy Implications
Dr. Edward Rubio
Ed D Harvard Graduate School of Education

Meeting Agenda

Wednesday, April 13

Next Generation Science Standards and Draft New York State P-12 Science Learning Standards with a Focus on English Language Learners
Okhee Lee
Professor of Childhood Education
New York University

Meeting Agenda



Thursday, May 19

Late-Arriving ELLs and Adolescent SIFE--Addressing Challenges and Opportunities
Marguerite Lukes, PhD
Director of National Initiatives
International Network for Public Schools, Inc.

Thursday, October 6th

Reframing the Conversation: From Achievement Gap to Cultural Dissonance

Helaine W. Marshall, PH.D,  Director of Language Education Programs and Professor of Education, Hudson Graduate Center of Long Island University at Westchester.

Presentation Power Point, References and Article in NASSP Bulletin available at:

Thursday, November 10th

Q&A with Ron Woo, Deputy Director, NYS Statewide Language Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network (RBE-RN) 

 Commissioner's Regulation Part 154

December 8th

Nellie Mulkay, Executive Director, NYS Statewide Language Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network (RBE-RN) 

Workshop Title:  Equity in Education for the NYS English Language Learners

Presentation Power Point

February 9th
Cancelled due to snowstorm

March 9th
The Professionalization of Bilingual Educators: A Search for Standards
An exploration of how contemporary research and theoretical knowledge can be used to challenge contested environments where bilingual educators labor

Aida A. Nevárez-La Torre, Ed. D.
Graduate School of Education
Fordham University
Director Office of Multilingual Education

April 6th
Teacher Certification Requirements to Serve ELLs
Our guest presenters are:
Ron Woo, Deputy Director,
Nancy King, Resource Specialist
NYS Statewide Language Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network (RBE-RN) 
Power Point Presentation

May 4th
Guest Speaker:  Lissette Colón-Collins Assistant Commissioner,
Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages

Guest Presenter:  Dr. Ofelia Garcia

Web Page:[]
Co-Principal Investigator: CUNY-NYSIEB,[]
General Editor, The International Journal of the Sociology of Language
Co-General Editor, Language Policy

Thursday, November 16
Guest Presenter: Aida A. Nevárez-La Torre, Ed.D.
Associate Professor,Graduate School of Education, Fordham University

Presentation topic:The Professionalization of Bilingual Educators: A Search for Standards

Thursday, December 14

Guest Presenter:  Carolyn Strom
Visiting Assistant Professor, New York University
Presentation topic: Early Literacy for ELLs

Thursday, February 8

Guest Presenters:
Miriam Eisenstein Ebsworth, Phd
NYU Steinhardt, Multilingual Multicultural Studies, Dept. of Teaching & Learning
Chencen Cai, Phd Candidate in TESOL
NYU Steinhardt, Dept. of Teaching & Learning.

Presentation Title:

Teachers' Voices: A Discussion of Power, Identity, and Language  Learning in Puerto Rico and Elsewhere.

Thursday, March 22
Guest Presenter: Ron Woo
Deputy Director, NYS Language RBERN, Metropolitan Center at New York University
Presentation Title:
A tiny bit of bigotry: mispronunciation of ELL students' names.
Please join us for an interactive workshop focusing on the mircoaggression impact of mispronouncing English Language Learner names.

Thursday, April 12

Our Guest Presenter is: Martha C. Pennington

Professor Pennington holds a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania and is affiliated with the University of London as Professorial Research Associate in Linguistics (School for Oriental and African Studies) and as Research Fellow in Applied Linguistics and Communication (Birkbeck College).

Presentation Topic:  Book Culture as Counterculture: The Value of Literary Reading for Promoting Language Learning, Diversity, and Equality

Thursday, May 10
We are delighted to announce that our guest presenter is
Susanne Marcus
Great Neck Public Schools / SUNY Stony Brook,
NYS TESOL Past President

The presentation will focus on SLIFE students and the impact of trauma on learning.


Thursday, June 7
Presentation Topic: ESSA

All meetings will take place from 4:30-6:00 pm at:

NYU Steinhardt
Department of Teaching and Learning
East Building, 239 Greene Street
New York, NY 10003
Room 302 - Faculty Commons

RSVP to (Rosa Pietanza)

  • Aida Nevarez de la Torre
  • Avery Carhill
  • Beth Clark-Gareca
  • Carola Suarez Orozco
  • Carolyn Strom
  • Elizabeth Demcheck, Sarah Rowbotton International Rescue Committee 
  • Frank Tang
  • Gail Slater
  • Heather Woodley
  • Helaine Marshall
  • Hong Ying Shen
  • Jennifer Scully
  • Jim Cummins (sponsored by Pearson and NYCDOE Cluster 5)
  • Joanna Labov
  • Jocelyn Santana
  • Jose de la Cruz
  • Kate Menken
  • Lily Stevens
  • Lissette Colón-Collins
  • Lorena Llosa
  • Michael Kieffer
  • Milady Baez
  • Miriam Eisenstein Ebsworth
  • Miriam Uzzan, Yan Li, and students from the High School for Dual Language and Asian Studies
  • Nancy King
  • Nellie Mulkay
  • Ofelia Garcia
  • Pat Lo
  • Pedro Ruiz
  • Ron Woo
  • Sarah Beck
  • Shondel Nero
  • Susan Behrens
  • Tasha Darbes


If you would like to receive ELL Think Tank Announcements, please call or email:

Rosa Pietanza
ELL Think Tank Co-Coordinator  

Miriam Eisenstein Ebsworth 
Or call 212-998-7388 or 917-912-5605.