ESL Symposia

English as a Second Language Symposia of the University of Arkansas

Empowering Multilingual Learners:
Access and Resources

Flyer for the 2024, 16th-annual ESL Symposium16th Annual ESL Symposium

9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024

The symposium is online and free of charge. Flyer (PDF)

☞ Registration will provide link to Zoom☜
Deadline to register: Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024. The event has passed. Please check back for information on the 17th symposium.

The symposia series is sponsored by the U of A College of Education and Health Professions.

Keynote Speakers

'Creating Radical Spaces of Hope for Multilingual Learners'

Maria Coady

Maria Coady, Ph.D., is the Goodnight Distinguished Professor in Educational Equity and a Professor of Multilingual Education at North Carolina State University. Dr. Coady examines bilingual education and biliteracy development, rural education, and teacher and leader preparation. Her books include The Coral Way Bilingual Program (2020), Connecting School and the Multilingual Home: Theory and Practice for Rural Educators (2019), Why TESOL (with E. W. Ariza). Her edited books are Early Language Learning Policies in the 21st Century (with S. Zein, 2021) and Educating Multilingual Students in Rural Schools: Illuminating Diversity in Rural Communities in the United States (with P. Golombek and N. Marichal, 2023). Dr. Coady consults with the U.S. Department of Justice and Office of Civil Rights on language and educational rights for multilingual learners and families. In 2020 she was awarded the AERA Exemplary Contributions to Practice-Engaged Research award.

Abstract — The number of multilingual learners (MLs) across the U.S. continues to soar, particularly in rural communities that have traditionally had little linguistic diversity. Using research from across several studies, this presentation describes four guiding principles for working with MLs in schools and communities, creating a "radical space of hope" for ML students and their families. These principles include representation, shared vision, building puentes with the community and recentering families.

'Applications for Practice in Rural Settings and Beyond'

Grisel CuadradoGrisel Cuadrado, M.Ed. is the Instructional Leader at Coats Elementary School in Harnett County, North Carolina. She started as a Spanish teacher at Overhills Middle School and after a year of training at Sandhills Leadership Academy, she joined the administration team at Coats Elementary. She has been a principal for five years after serving four years as the assistant principal at Coats. Mrs. Cuadrado works closely with rural multilingual students, families and communities. She works in a K-5 rural school where 40 percent of students are multilingual. Mrs. Cuadrado leads a kindergarten through fifth grade 50/50 Dual-Language Immersion Program in English and Spanish that started in fall 2013.

Abstract — While English Language Development instruction is necessary to support Hispanic English Learners (ELs) and MLs to access the general curriculum, it has become increasingly evident that ELs and MLs benefit from Spanish Dual Language Immersion programs. We also examine the importance of family engagement in the implementation of a sustainable Dual Language Program in a rural community.

Community Resource Panel


9-9:10 a.m. Opening remarks and symposium overview
9:10-10:10 Keynote I: "Creating Radical Spaces of Hope for Multilingual Learners," Maria Coady, Ph.D.
10:10-10:20 Break
10:20-11:20 Keynote II: "Applications for Practice in Rural Settings and Beyond," Grisel Cuadrado, M.Ed.
11:20-11:30 Break
11:30-12:30 p.m. Community resource panel: Cathy Luo, M.D., Chinese Association of Northwest Arkansas; Diana Dominguez, owner, Más Libritos Bookstore, Springdale; Moo Wah, Karen interpreter/translator, Green Forest School District

For more information on the 16th annual ESL Symposium, please contact Diana Gonzales Worthen, Ph.D., Janet Penner-Williams, Ed.D., or Alissa Blair, Ph.D.

Past Programs

  • 2023, 15th annual, "Partnering to Serve Multilingual Learners in Classrooms, Schools and Communities"
  • 2022, 14th annual, "Landmark Legislation and Arkansas Act 663 Bilingual Education/Dual Immersion"
  • 2021, 13th annual, "Toward Flexible Teaching and Learning: Research-based Practices for Supporting Emergent Bilingual Students in Web-based Contexts"
  • 2020, 12th annual, "A Language-Based Approach for Content Instruction for ELs"
  • 2019, 11th annual (PDF), "Assessment, Standards Implementation and Language and Literacy Development, with Focus on English Language Learners
  • 2018, 10th annual (PDF), "Connecting with Parents of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse students to Promote Positive Outcomes"
  • 2017, 9th annual (PDF), "Teaching English Learners through the Lens of Constructivism, Culturally-Relevant Pedagogy, and Community Building "
  • 2016, 8th annual (PDF), "Advances in Teaching Academic Literacy to English Language Learners"
  • 2015, 7th annual (PDF), "Teaching Language, Literacy and Content to the Diverse EL Populations"
  • 2014, 6th annual (PDF), "English Language Learners and their Teachers in an Era of New Standards"
  • 2013, 5th annual (PDF), "What’s Different About Differentiating for English Learners?"
  • 2012, 4th annual (PDF), "Weaving Pedagogical Practices for Teaching English Language Learners with Disabilities"
  • 2011, 3rd annual (PDF), "Fidelity Meets Differentiated Instruction: Strategies in Action for ELLs"
  • 2010, 2nd annual (PDF), "Understanding and Meeting the Challenges of Teaching Culturally and Linguistically Different Students"
  • 2009, first (PDF), "Using Brain Research to Enhance and Energize Language Instruction"