2017 TESOL Advocacy & Policy Summit Scholarship Awardees

by Crystal Rose-Wainstock

Congratulations to the 2017 TESOL Advocacy & Policy Summit Scholarship Awardees!

Rachel Casey has been teaching English learners in the St. James Public School system for eleven years. She works with sixth through twelfth grade students who come from a variety of places and speak a variety of languages. She has been a member of MinneTESOL for one year, but has gone to numerous conferences about teaching and SLIFE. As a teacher in Southwestern MN, she feels it is important that the rural schools who have ELs get opportunities to discuss and learn from each other more often than what they currently have available.

Michael Schwartz has been an ESL teacher since 1989. He has worked primarily in IEPs, and is currently director of the IEC at St. Cloud State. He is also a faculty member in the MA-TESL program at SCSU where he teaches classes in TESL theory and practice. One class in particular, Seminar in Second Language Writing, addresses the issues of immigrants, SLIFE, and other resident ESL populations and the challenges they face as they learn to negotiate life in a predominantly English speaking context. He also mentors several graduate students each year, many of whom are working toward their K-12 licensure in Minnesota. Michael believes that the more he can prepare these graduate students for their educational careers in working with the various multilingual populations that come to their classes, the greater the benefits for both the teachers and students they will serve.


Sam DiVita is an ESL teacher currently working with newly arrived English learners, ages 14-21, at LEAP High School in St. Paul. For 12 years, his focus has been on teaching English pronunciation, conversation and presentation skills, to level one and two secondary learners. He completed his MA in ESL at Hamline University in 2014. His research area involves suprasegmentals and is focused on improving EL’s oral intelligibility and comprehensibility. Sam travelled to Washington D.C. for the TESOL Advocacy & Policy Summit in 2015 where he met with state legislators to advocate for SLIFE. He believes advocacy involves informing the public about the needs of all ELs and working to improve and extend their learning opportunities within our communities.


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