45th anniversary of DLE marked at Voice Your Language Conference

March 5, 2024
VYL organizers
From left: Voice Your Language organizers Sharon Sabino Galicia, Cecilia G Ceballos, Sandra M. Diaz Raudales, Jesus Sebastian Quiroz, Vanessa Stone and Javier Diego Jacinto.

The Department of Dual Language and English Learner Education (DLE) marked an important milestone at the 9th annual Voice Your Language Conference on Feb. 10 at the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center.

The student-organized conference on multilingual education featured a legacy panel in honor of DLE’s 45th anniversary as a department. Former chairs Alberto Ochoa, Karen Cadiero-Kaplan, Cristina Alfaro and emerita faculty member Evangelina Jones took the stage to talk about the path from the founding of the Multicultural Department in 1978 to what today is the largest producer of bilingual educators in California.

“The fact that Alberto, Cristina, Karen and Evangelina were able to serve on a panel and give their testimonios around the history of the department and their role was beautiful,” said Sera Hernández, associate professor and current DLE chair. “And to have Dr. Ochoa, as an original faculty member, was pretty profound.〞

The events’ keynotes were provided by Cati de los Ríos, UC Berkeley associate professor and former high school teacher, and Guillermo Gómez, ethnic studies lead educator for the San Diego Unified School District and DLE lecturer. Chicana and Chicano Studies faculty members Isidro Ortiz and Roberto D. Hernández provided a memorable broche de oro (finishing touch) to close the festivities. About 200 students, faculty and community members attended the event.

Hernández expressed appreciation for current and former students from the Developing Effective Bilingual Educators with Resources Project (DEBER) who helped run this year’s event.

“When Voice Your Language was originally dreamt up, it had the focus of creating a space for multilingual education issues,” she added. “Oftentimes, we have to fly somewhere and go to a conference to get access to these types of spaces. We wanted to bring that here for our students, but also our local community, our faculty and our local educators and educational leaders who are working to best serve bilingual and multilingual learners.〞

Alma Flor Ada Awardees Named

Voice Your Language was hosted on the heels of the 2024 San Diego Dual Language Conference, which DLE hosted from Jan. 26-27 in partnership with the San Diego County Office of Education. 

In addition to providing professional development for credential candidates and master’s students, the conference served as the location for conferring the 2024 Alma Flor Ada Award — DLE’s annual book award which aims to create a new canon for multilingual educators.

This year’s winners were the picture book "Paletero Man" by Lucky Diaz and the novel "The House on Mango Street" by Sandra Cisneros, with a 40th-anniversary edition released this year. Cisneros, who was away in Italy, recorded a video greeting for conference attendees.

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