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Create an Equitable and Engaging Bilingual Virtual Classroom for Early Learners

Wednesday, January 13, 2021 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm EST

Create an Equitable and Engaging Bilingual Virtual Classroom for Early Learners

Presented by Dr. Barbara Nemko, Superintendent, Napa County Office of Education (CA); Olivia Martinez, English Language Development & Biliteracy Director, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD (TX); Jennifer Jelavich, Colusa County District Administrator, Colusa County Office of Education (CA); and Pinky Jelavich, Jennifer’s Assistant, Colusa County Office of Education (CA)
Moderated by Ilene Rosenthal, CEO, Footsteps2Brilliance

Sponsored by Footsteps2Brilliance

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Closed captioning will be added to the recording within 2 weeks of the live presentation.
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The greatest challenge of teaching virtually in 2021 comes from serving the youngest and least independent learners. It is crucial to keep young students engaged, especially during these troubling times. This recorded edWebinar focuses on best practices that teachers and administrators have developed to (1) advance both the engagement and progress of their students, (2) innovate new ways to keep their community connected, and (3) engage parents and students in dual language learning.

In this recorded edWebinar, you’ll receive FREE RESOURCES and learn how to develop:

  • Powerful ways to engage your most vulnerable students
  • Classroom activities that motivate all students, including your English learners
  • Partnerships with parents to support blended and at-home learning

The presenters have years of experience using digital resources to connect school and home and close the achievement gap. They share their personal stories on how to effectively implement what they have learned for your own classroom, school, or district.

This recorded edWebinar will be of interest to Pre-K through 3rd grade teachers, librarians, and school and district leaders. 


Barbara NemkoAbout the Presenters

Being named by the Center for Digital Education in 2014 as one of the “Top 40 Innovators in Education” and receiving the Computer Using Educators Platinum Award in 2019, Dr. Barbara Nemko describes herself as passionate about edtech, even though she admits to frequently struggling with her own technology devices. She is a strong advocate of curriculum materials with embedded media that engages and motivates learners and content that can be instantly updated. Two of her favorite edtech programs are the Footsteps2Brilliance early learning for preschoolers (especially helpful for ESL learners and their parents) and tech tutoring where high school students in an alternative setting teach residents of the Senior Center how to use their mobile devices. “You don’t have to be a tech master yourself to understand the power of edtech for learning.”

Working in education her entire life, Dr. Nemko started as a teacher in New York City, then took a position at U.C. Davis evaluating California Department of Education programs. She has been with the Napa County Office of Education for 30 years. In her sixth elected term as Superintendent, Dr. Nemko continues to use her edtech enthusiasm to promote positive programs for over 20,000 students at five districts within Napa County. Her favorite role, however, may be the one she has with her two granddaughters, ages 12 and 10.


Olivia Martinez

Olivia Martinez has been an educator for 24 years working at all levels in bilingual education while serving in multiple capacities as a teacher, specialist and district administrator. Olivia received her master’s degree in bilingual education from the University of Texas-Pan American and is currently the English language development & biliteracy director for Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD. Olivia holds certifications for Principal, EC-12, Early Childhood and Bilingual/ESL EC-6. As a director for the past seven years, she has focused on the high level of linguistic and cognitive development of dual language students through the faithful implementation of the Dual Language Enrichment Program PK-12. As a leader, she has learned to embrace change, take calculated risks, and uses evidence-based research to support her decision making.


Jennifer JelavichJennifer Jelavich is the director of communications and public relations at Colusa County Office of Education. Jennifer has over 20 years of experience integrating technology into teaching and learning. Beginning in 1998, she was the first online teaching specialist at San Francisco State University. In this role, she assisted faculty in developing and implementing interactive online college courses. In her current role, Jennifer has established a county-wide literacy program and provides teacher professional development through virtual classroom modeling and coaching. As a former elementary school teacher and mother of three sons, Jennifer is passionate about creating safe, inspiring, and engaging virtual learning environments that spark imagination and exploration for our youngest learners and families.


Pinky JelavichPinky is Jennifer’s assistant. Pinky has over five years of experience engaging and inspiring any crowd with her cheerful spirit and love for tummy rubs, snuggles and kisses. Pinky has established a county-wide and virtual “Story Time with Pinky.” Her talent during almost every story time: Falling asleep and looking really cute.


Ilene RosenthalAbout the Host

Ilene Rosenthal is the CEO and founder of Footsteps2Brilliance, a breakthrough educational software company that accelerates student achievement by uniting the power of mobile gaming with the latest in cognitive research. Footsteps2Brilliance has won numerous awards and honors, including AEP first prize for “Best ESL/ELL Solution” and Gold Winner from the National Parenting Publications Awards. It has been recognized by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, and the Clinton Global Initiative for its ability to scale early literacy citywide. In addition, it has been honored by the United Nations for the work that it has done to help children in developing countries become literate through its partnership with Teach the World Foundation.


Closed captioning will be added to the recording within 2 weeks of the live presentation.

Join the Helping ELL/ESL Students Succeed community to network with educators, participate in online discussions, receive invitations to upcoming edWebinars, and view recordings of previous programs to earn CE certificates.

Footsteps2BrillianceFootsteps2Brilliance is the premiere bilingual digital solution that connects school and home and involves parents in their children’s education. Our proven equity model accelerates learning for pre-K through 3rd grade students and alleviates the stress of teaching in a blended or virtual environment.



Wednesday, January 13, 2021
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm EST
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