SAGE October Conference Deemed a Success
Attendees were school administrators, instructors, tutors, administrative support, data technicians and graduate students who work with English-as-a Second Language and Adult Basic Education students.
The conference, held at CNM’s Workforce Training Center, was a collaborative effort between SAGE, the New Mexico Adult Education Association (NMAEA) and New Mexico Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (NMTESOL).
“It was a very successful conference drawing an unexpectedly large audience,” said Penny Mortier, a SAGE faculty member and event coordinator. “We spent a lot of time discussing how to prepare for the changes coming to the GED program in 2014 that are going to affect nearly one million people in this country.”
The revised test will require test takers to use a computer instead of paper and pencil. The test itself will be more rigorous and cost $120, a significant increase from previous versions.
“The ESL workshops were also important because of the large number of New Mexican students whose first language is not English,” added Mortier.
SAGE Interim Dean LouAnne Lundgren welcomed the participants on Friday, Oct. 25, the first day of the conference. Referring to the conference theme, “Rising to Meet Tomorrow’s Changes,” she pointed out that when challenges arise, some people give up and quit. She was confident that the New Mexico teaching community was able and willing to embrace those challenges and continue the drive toward excellence.
The two keynote speakers were New Mexico State Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino and Neil Anderson, former president of TESOL International and current professor at Brigham Young University. Each stressed the importance of focusing on the students so they can move on in their lives and seize new opportunities in pursuit of their dreams.
Several SAGE instructors presented workshops during the conference, including Anita Evans, Sue Small, Beth Giebus, Camille Varoz and Michael Vigil.
One of the highlights of the conference was La Ceremonia de la Tierra, where participants brought bags of earth from their home campuses and mixed them into a planter. As they did this, they shared success stories about their programs. A tree was planted in the pot, which was awarded to the Adult Basic Education Program of the Year.
“This conference was a chance to showcase SAGE,” Mortier said. “The Workforce Training Center proved to be a perfect venue. We made important connections with our colleagues and their programs. We all went home feeling invigorated and full of new ideas that we were eager to try out.”