CEEL Hosts Popular Annual Conference Online; Alumna Earns Award for Bilingual Educators

The Center for Equity for English Learners (CEEL), a program of LMU School of Education, hosted the 28th Jornada Pedagógica Internacional on Saturday, February 6. The conference is held entirely in Spanish and is designed for bilingual teachers working in bilingual or dual-language immersion programs, as well as bilingual teacher education faculty, professional developers, and Spanish speakers and families who want to promote the use of Spanish in their homes and communities.

At the conference, CEEL awarded the 3rd Annual Alma Flor Ada Award en pro de la Justicia Social to Verónica Covarrubias ’00. Covarrubias, a first-grade teacher in the dual immersion program at Jefferson Elementary School in the Santa Ana Unified School District, earned a liberal arts degree and a bilingual teaching credential at LMU Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts and LMU School of Education. She received the award for excellence as a bilingual teacher and for her focus on social justice and advocacy for English Learners. ”I am really humbled and honored to receive this award,” she says. ”I once wanted to drop out of school and was also told that I was ’not going to be a teacher.’ So as a teacher, I push my students to work to their potential and to make the world a better place. I thank CEEL for their work in the community and LMU for inspiring me to promote justice for the greater good.”

The conference was held virtually for the first time in its history due to the pandemic. Attendees included more than 200 PK-12 educators, professors, and families from 25 school districts across the country, along with participants from non-profit organizations, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and VIPs from the Mexican and Spanish Consulates. “The online format helped us tap into a wider audience than we’d have typically reached with this event,” says Magaly Lavadenz, Ph.D., distinguished professor at LMU and founding executive director of CEEL. “Over the 28 years we’ve hosted this event, one of the hallmarks of the Jornada has been the warm professional learning community that is established among attendees. It is our hope that they learned from the experts as well as each other, and continue to stay connected on these matters.”