Overheard at the 2022 WIDA Annual Conference

October 14, 2022

ICYMI (in case you missed it) – and let’s be real, even if you didn’t miss it: We highlight some of the 2022 WIDA Annual Conference (#WIDA2022) happenings. Plus, we’ll tell you what we overheard on social media about #WIDA2022.

#WIDA2022 recordings

On October 17, all #WIDA2022 attendees (in-person and virtual) get access to the virtual program session recordings. Look for an email message from WIDA Conferences with more information.

#WIDA session happenings

Juliana Urtubey delivers inspirational keynote address on ‘joyous, just education’ 

Juliana Urtubey, the 2021 National Teacher of the Year, kicked off the 2022 WIDA Annual Conference with a keynote address that highlighted her personal relationship to multilingualism and her efforts to beautify and unify her school and community through murals and gardens.

She began by reading the children’s non-fiction book “Dreamers” by Yuyi Morales. “Dreamers” follows Morales and her son on their journey from Mexico to the United States.

“I read that book because although that might not have been my migration experience, it is one that matters,” Juliana said. “It is one that I have to bring into my classroom. It is one I have to bring into professional learning spaces when I work with educators.”

Juliana was born in Colombia during the height of their civil war. When her family arrived in the U.S. and were getting ready to go to school, her mother saw the school and did not want her daughters to go to it because it had metal detectors and bars over the windows. Juliana said that her mother didn’t leave a war-torn country to put her daughters in a place that didn’t honor their language, countries, context and histories.

“This informed who I was as an educator and made sure every day I was dreaming with my students, with my students’ linguistic gifts and with my students who learned and thought differently than many of their peers,” Juliana said. “So, what I did was I brought the community together. We co-constructed a garden.”

She said that after seven years as a bilingual special education teacher at an elementary school in Las Vegas, 20,000 feet of her school was covered in gardens. When they couldn’t go outside, she brought the garden into the classroom.

They also painted murals in the gardens and, when they ran out of garden space for artwork, they put up murals all over the school walls.

“We wanted our children to know they were beautiful and reflected and celebrated,” Juliana added. “The beautiful thing about the garden that I learned is when you build a horizontal space, everybody has a value.”

#WIDA2022 attendees, view the session recording to learn more about how Juliana’s students raised $80,000 to “make sure joy and justice could come to life” at their school. Plus, find out about the garden gnomies and Ms. Earth – Juliana’s alter ego.

#WIDA2022 overheard: Juliana’s keynote

Education Week covers virtual session on ‘Teacher Collaboration as a Pathway to Equity for Multilingual Learners’ 

If you don’t have access to the #WIDA2022 virtual program session recordings, never fear! Read “5 Ways Teachers Can Collaborate to Support English Learners,” an Education Week article featuring advice from Andrea Honigsfeld and Valentina Gonzalez’s #WIDA2022 session on teacher collaboration.

#WIDA2022 overheard: Virtual program

Curious about all the social media buzz on the #WIDA2022 virtual program sessions? Browse this selection of tweets.

From the “Re-imagining EL Policy: Panel Discussion about Identification, Monitoring, and Reclassification” session:

From the “Teacher Collaboration as a Pathway to Equity for Multilingual Learners” session:

From the “Engaging Multilingual Learners in Self-Assessment and Goal Setting” session:

From the “Re-centering Equity and the Experiences of AAPI Multilingual Learners and Educators: What Matters Most?” session:

Maria Hinojosa rounds out #WIDA2022 with words of encouragement: ‘You have the possibility to transform someone’s life’ 

Maria Hinojosa, an Emmy- and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, closed #WIDA2022 by sharing personal anecdotes, stories about the people and places that she’s featured as a journalist, and words of thanks and encouragement to educators.  

“This is deeply important work and I know you all feel a calling,” Maria said. “I want you to know that I see you. And I celebrate your calling for multilingual people to live and thrive here and around the world.”  

Maria, who dubs herself a “democracy junkie,” talked about how she feels a strong commitment to holding our country accountable to what it says it’s going to do to be the world’s greatest democracy. She said that she feels tied to this commitment because she wasn’t born in the U.S.   

“Everything I do is about furthering democracy,” Maria said. “And ‘democracy,’ not with a big ‘D’ but with a small ‘d.’ That is why the subtitle [of my book] is ‘finding my voice and passing the mic.’ Ultimately, that is the work you are committed to doing as well. Helping our kids find their voice and passing them the mic.”  

Maria said that by running a newsroom (btw, she’s the only Latina with a national nonprofit newsroom in the country), she has the power to change narratives, just like educators do.  

“You have this power,” Maria added. “You are those leaders. You are those beacons. You are holding that torch. You know how many kids and parents and grandparents and tios and primos look up to you and thank you for the work you are doing in every single part of the country.”  

#WIDA2022 attendees, learn more about Maria’s life and reporting by viewing the session recording. And a pro tip from Maria (and this WIDA staffer): Listen to “Suave,” Maria’s Pulitzer Prize-winning podcast.

#WIDA2022 overheard: Maria’s keynote

Save the date for #WIDA2023

Multi-colored paper airplanes with "Adelante" written in front.The 2023 WIDA Annual Conference is set to take place October 17-20 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It’s been ten years since the WIDA Annual Conference was in Wisconsin – WIDA’s home state. We couldn’t be more excited!

So… mark your calendar and set aside your favorite sweaters. Fall is the best time to visit Wisconsin! Think bright sunny skies, a cornucopia of leaf colors and sparkling waterways. Plus, deep-fried cheese curds and a certain fermented beverage abound. No foam cheese heads required.  

Submit your #WIDA2023 session proposal 

Become a #WIDA2023 presenter and share your expertise with other educators. The window to submit a #WIDA2023 concurrent session and workshop proposal opens on November 14. Start brainstorming today and check the #WIDA2023 website in November for more info. All proposals are due January 31, 2023.


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