Heritage Teacher Summit – Fall 2022

Sorry, ticket sales closed 9/30/22

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We are excited to announce that we are hosting the THIRD annual HERITAGE TEACHER SUMMIT this fall!!! The goal is to provide some very needed VIRTUAL PD for heritage teachers at an extremely affordable price, and to hear from LOTS of amazing heritage teachers across the country doing some amazing stuff!!

Key Details

Tickets will be sold at the link above from August 1st – September 30th, 2022.

As soon as you buy your ticket, you will have immediate access to all the sessions (they have been pre-recorded).

You can watch them at your own pace, whenever you like, until 7/31/23 (a full year from the first day tickets can be purchased).

Tickets are a one time purchase of $39 to get access to all sessions.

A certificate will be provided for 13 hours.

To follow the conversation on Instagram or Twitter, please use the hashtag #HeritageTeacherSummit.


Focusing on Central America: Beyond Trauma, presented by Frances Joy Santiago Bonilla

There are over 3 million Central Americans in the United States today and many of them are sitting in our Heritage Spanish classes. Despite the cultural richness of the region, it’s frequently difficult to find resources that represent our Central American students without focusing exclusively on trauma. So what’s out there? What resources, authors, singers, etc. should teachers be looking for? And how can we make sure that the narrative about Central America shows more than violence and trauma? Come and learn how one teacher has focused on the strength and beauty of Central America in Heritage Spanish and find more resources to add to your repertoire.

Estamos en Comunidad: Connection & Community Beyond the Classroom, presented by Michaela McCaughey

In many heritage classrooms, community is the foundation of everything we do. Estamos en comunidad: it’s nurturing connection and belonging, to each other, to ourselves. This is essential in the classroom, but it goes beyond that. It is also about the broader community, the community our students and their families come from, the local community the Latin American diaspora has created all around the US. And sometimes, the feelings of connection to that community are fractured, layered, and complex. In this presentation, we will explore a variety of ways to bridge this gap and bring the classroom to the community.

How to Build a Unit that Goes Way Beyond Comprehension Questions with Short Film, presented by Arianne Dowd

Short film is a powerful authentic resource and tool to be used with L2 students. Many times, short film does not go beyond a set of comprehension questions. However this session will uncover how a short film can build a unit that incorporates the ACTFL core practices, connects to AP themes, uses the 3 modes of communication, promotes acquisition and builds intercultural communicative competence with the cultural products, practices and perspectives. Assessment ideas are included. Come see how your students can go way beyond comprehension questions with authentic short film.

Learn from, Create and Share Gente/Lugares/Cultura Impactante in a Heritage Classroom, presented by Alana Kubeczka

In this session, you will learn what “Qué impactante” is, how to use them, how to create them AND how to get your students to research, make and share their own as a group or independent project.

“Words are Powerful: The Importance of Explicitly Teaching Academic Language in the Heritage Classroom”, presented by Cecilia Cummaudo

Building students’ literacy is everyone’s job! One of the most important pieces of the literacy puzzle is working on academic vocabulary building. The presenter will discuss why building students’ vocabulary is important. She will also focus on the different types of terms there are, and how to teach them so they can effectively be stored in students’ long term memory and retrieved for usage. She will then talk about six specific steps to follow when teaching vocabulary. Examples will be provided.

The half that hasn’t been told….Shifting narratives in a Latin American Studies Class, presented by Christopher Jahdai Jeffords

Too often in classroom curriculums across the country, there is a half that hasn’t been told, a narrative of history that has been suppressed, waiting to be brought to life. In this session, I will discuss the ways in which I have attempted to shift this narrative in my Latin American studies classroom. Through my curriculum choices and pedagogy, and through the de-centering of dominant colonialist narratives in my classroom, I will show how we can begin to honor the diversity and rich history of our Heritage students, shifting back the narrative, in order to include “the half that hasn’t been told,” and to move our students toward their own, counter-narratives. As I will discuss, this shift is critically important for non-Latinx educators teaching in spaces made up primarily of Latinx/Heritage students. As a non-native teaching in these spaces, I believe it is imperative we center both these histories and our Latinx students’ lived experiences.

Read, Write, Listen, Speak, and MOVE!, presented by Rachel Rodriguez

This session will describe how the presenter has used an instructional framework to create Heritage Spanish lessons that incorporate reading, writing, listening, speaking, and moving. The session will incorporate a vision of why this framework matters for students, as well as practical strategies of how to implement these components in daily lessons. There will also be a special focus on planning for Heritage Spanish on a block schedule.

Spelling instruction: What do we know and what should we do? Presented by Florencia Henshaw

Most heritage speakers express interest in improving their spelling skills, and yet, spelling instruction is rarely discussed in language teacher education programs. This session will provide attendees with a better understanding of orthography development, as well as potential advantages and disadvantages of different approaches. Sample activities will illustrate how to integrate orthography into every lesson in a meaningful way.

Creating a successful program for heritage and native speakers, presented by Nina Hidalgo

Is your school in the process of creating a program for heritage learners? Do you have a program you would like to grow? In this session, we will discuss practical considerations for creating or jump-starting an existing program that serves the diverse needs of Spanish-speaking students in the heritage classroom.

Podcasts: Tools for learning and creating, presented by Kristin Montgomery

Podcasts are a great resource for language learners! This session will cover some of the best podcasts to listen to in your classroom and how you can set up choice listening activities to expand students’ listening skills. You’ll then learn how to have students create their own podcasts in the classroom in a variety of subjects and formats. This is a versatile project that works with all levels.

Build Community and Empathy skills through Reading Activities, presented by Meg Fandel Vernon

Foster empathy skills, community building and stronger relationships through reading.

Who tells our stories matters: Using authentic voices that dignify the diverse identities in the Spanish-speaking world, presented by Maureen Aguilar

Teaching Spanish to scholars who have been exposed to the language through their family’s heritage is special and requires trial and error. Studies have shown that the language acquisition process is not linear and teaching heritage learners is not the exception. It’s challenging, it’s rocky and it requires more than teaching the language. In this workshop you will learn about the importance of researching for resources that are relevant and aligned to your students’ experiences, lifestyles and various identities as a way to advance in Spanish proficiency. In this session, Maureen will center on the importance of advocacy, relevance of authentic and varied stories of the Spanish-speaking world. In addition, Maureen will reference Lorena German’s book “Textured Teaching” and will address the importance and empowerment there is when educators understand the significance of their allyship depending on their teaching context. Whether you teach at an independent institution or a public school, or if you are a white educator teaching Spanish heritage learners, or if you are a Native speaker, teaching predominantly Spanish heritage scholars, there are important shifts to consider within your praxis. Sign up for this session and let’s continue to validate, affirm, build and empower Spanish heritage learners.

Cómo puedes apoyar a tus estudiantes indocumentados a conseguir su sueño universitario, presented by Bertha Delgadillo

Tal vez no tengas muchos. Tal vez algunos ni siquiera te compartan su estatus legal (y no tienen porqué hacerlo)… pero el día que tengas algún estudiante indocumentado que te diga “quiero asistir a la universidad y no puedo debido a mi estatus” ¿Estarás preparado para brindar tu apoyo? En esta presentación compartiré algunos recursos contigo que podrán ser de apoyo para tus estudiantes. Puedes ayudarle a hacer de su sueño una realidad. No es fácil, pero SÍ SE PUEDE.

More sessions will be added as they are confirmed!

Meet our incredible presenters!

Frances Joy Santiago Bonilla has taught Spanish for Heritage Speakers and Spanish Language Arts since 2005. She has just completed her 8th year at a Cristo Rey school in the DC area and is moving to Puerto Rico to continue teaching Spanish Language Arts. She has served as Spanish Department Chair and created curriculum for four levels of Heritage Spanish. Frances is passionate about anti-bias and anti-racist education, project-based learning, and multilingualism. She loves history and reading and blames her Army brat upbringing for her obsession with travel.

Florencia Henshaw has a PhD in second language acquisition and teacher education from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where she is the director of advanced Spanish. She is an award-winning educator who has published and presented nationally and internationally on technology integration, heritage language instruction, and research-based pedagogical practices. She has designed 8 online courses, including a section of Spanish Composition for Heritage Speakers. Dr. Henshaw is also the host of the podcast and YouTube channel “Unpacking Language Pedagogy,” as well as the co-author of “Common Ground: Second Language Acquisition Theory goes to the Classroom.”

Nina Hidalgo is a Michigan native who graduated from Central Michigan University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History, Spanish and Museum Studies. She spent a year at Universidad Austral de Chile where she studied language, culture and literature. Nina earned a teaching degree from Saginaw Valley State and a Master’s in Spanish Linguistics at New Mexico State University. Over the past 17 years, Nina has had the privilege of teaching Elementary, Middle, High School, and college students. This is Nina’s tenth year at Peachtree Ridge High School in Suwanee, Georgia where she has taught Spanish 1-4 and Spanish for Heritage and Native Speakers 1-3. She is passionate about increasing proficiency through reading and empowering and amplifying the voices of heritage learners in the classroom and beyond.

Michaela McCaughey is a high school Spanish Heritage teacher in Providence, Rhode Island. Her students are creative artists who push and inspire her. Within her educational philosophy she focuses on social justice issues, culturally sustaining and critical pedagogy, arts-integration, and (bi)literacy. Completely infatuated with reggaeton, street art, and all things Shakira, Michaela seeks to not simply “teach Spanish,” but to celebrate Latine identity, art, and language.

Arianne Dowd is a Spanish Teacher at South Brunswick High School. She is committed to lifelong learning. She holds dual BAs in Spanish and Psychology with a minor in International Studies from Montclair State University. She has two Master’s degrees, an MA in Spanish Literature from Montclair State University and a MAT in Italian from Rutgers University. In addition, she studied abroad in Seville, Spain, Guadalajara, Mexico, and Urbino, Italy. She is passionate about making the switch in her classroom to using Content-Based Instruction with Comprehensible Input strategies in order to engage all learners.

Alana Kubeczka started her journey in education 25 years ago. She graduated from Texas A&M, and she has spent the majority of her years in education teaching upper elementary bilingual students, both in California and Texas. More recently, she made the move to teach Spanish to English speakers, which led her to continue her work with heritage and native speakers of Spanish in middle and high school. She is passionate about teaching language and culture and enjoys watching her students grow and learn. Alana began teaching heritage and native speakers in a small, established high school program with few resources and no curriculum. She was able to use her experience in the bilingual classroom to create a program that worked. More recently, Alana moved to a middle school where there was a high Hispanic population, but no program for heritage learners, thereby causing students to be placed in programs that were inappropriate and did not provide opportunities for further language development. After gaining the support of administration, she started the Spanish for Spanish Speakers program in her school and has really enjoyed establishing and refining the program and its curriculum. Alana hopes to share her experiences with other educators in an effort to create more opportunities for heritage and native speakers of Spanish.

Christopher Jahdai Jeffords is a Spanish and Latin American Studies educator. He holds an M.Ed in culturally relevant & sustaining pedagogies. He runs a Youth Urban Garden Internship program that focuses on developing food literacy skills and community engagement for all students. He is a board member of the Winston-Salem Urban Food Policy Council, where issues of food insecurity, food infrastructure and programs to educate the community about the importance of healthy, fair, and sustainable local food are discussed and implemented across the city. Jahdai is a white ally and an ABAR educator in all spaces he moves in.

Rachel Rodriguez taught Spanish and Spanish for heritage speakers for 9 years at a small public Early College high school in Asheville, North Carolina. She started the Heritage Spanish courses in her district and is passionate about advocating for the integration of students’ home languages in all classrooms and school communities. While the 2021-2022 school year was her final year in the classroom, she will continue to be an advocate for inclusive, public education. Outside of the classroom she likes to travel, hike, garden, and spend time with her husband, dogs, goats, and chickens!

Meg Fandel Vernon teaches Spanish at Merrill Middle School (Des Moines Public) and mentors world language teachers. Meg has Spanish degrees from Iowa State and Santiago de Compostela, Spain. She teaches exclusively with Comprehensible Input and TPRS strategies. In 2017, she piloted Van Meter High School integrated a proficiency-based program. Meg is passionate about all things middle school and teaches a course for classroom management for Idioma Education and Consulting. Meg was the 2017 Iowa World Language Teacher of the Year. Visit bit.ly/senoritameganteaches to learn more about mentoring or get some free, mini professional development!

Kristin Montgomery has taught heritage and L2 learners in the U.S., Spain, Switzerland, Singapore and most recently Colombia. Teaching everything from Spanish, French, and ESL to Social Studies and Marketing is perfect for her multi-passionate personality. She loves finding interesting and culturally-relevant ways to teach that also incorporate technology. Kristin is passionate about travel and the linguistic diversity of the Spanish-speaking world.

Cecilia Cummaudo teaches Spanish and Spanish for Spanish speakers at a charter school in Southern California that specializes in the Arts. She has worked as a coach in Tina Hargaden’s Curriculum Club and has been a teaching demo coach at CI Liftoff’s Summer Institutes. Cecilia has written leveled readers for Spanish language learners for the E-Lit app. She is passionate about building heritage learners’ literacy and, as a native speaker of Spanish herself, she is especially interested in helping her heritage students feel proud and confident in their linguistic identities. Finally, she is devoted to working towards a more equitable and socially just world by creating and sharing Own Voices stories from Spanish speaking authors.

Maureen Aguilar, a native Honduran, is a Spanish teacher at a charter school in Nashville,TN. Her teaching career started in the Denver-Metro area where she facilitated Advanced Spanish Placement courses for Hispanic heritage learners. Maureen is committed to bringing the diverse stories and cultures of the Spanish-speaking world to the classroom through an anti-racist and anti-bias lens. She achieves this by being a lifelong learner, implementing project based learning, music, dance, and round table discussions. With a Master’s degree in Spanish didactics from Universidad de San Jorge, Spain, she has led workshops and professional development sessions with organizations such as Tennessee World Language Teacher Association and People of Color Conference. Her sessions are focused on the incorporation of Afro Latinidad, culture, and the use of authentic resources in the Spanish curricula. Apart from teaching, Maureen enjoys singing, creating content for her teacher-focused Instagram community, and hiking with her husband Lu and her dog Miranda. 

Bertha Delgadillo, NBCT is a high school Spanish teacher in Savannah, GA. Originally from Tampico, Tamaulipas, México, she enjoys empowering teachers to continue to stay connected to their passion for world language teaching through sharing practical engagement & student agency strategies all while placing students at the center of the learning experience.

More presenter bios will be added as their presentations are confirmed!

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