ND/SD EL Hutterite Colony Conference “This Conference Is The Highlight Of My Professional Year!”

2017 English Learner Conference for ND/SD Hutterite Colonies

Last week, the South East Education Cooperative, in conjunction with the SD Department of Education and the Black Hills Special Services Cooperative, held a two-day English Learners conference in Watertown, SD for Hutterite Colony teachers.

Sixty attendees were able to gain insight from Jill Jackson, a national expert on how to teach reading, plan for interventions and manage the latest education crazes! Jill states that, “We are best (and we get the best results) when we keep things simple in the classroom. I know that simple works and I’m practically obsessed with helping you simplify your teaching life. I also know that successful teachers are happy teachers…and I’m totally convinced that all of us teacher-types have to have a life outside of education to be happy in the classroom.”

Her Keynote focused on a Deconstructed Approach to Teaching Informational Writing to PreK-12 Students and then followed with group sessions for PreK-2nd grade on “Teaching Non or Growing Readers to Write Informational Text” and for 3rd-12th graders on “Three Ways to Differentiate Writing Instruction.”

The conference also included keynotes on “What the Deconstructed Approach to Teaching Writing Looks Like for Students” and “Understanding English Learner Accountability in ESSA” and breakouts including an Academic Writing Workshop, Technology and Apps for ELs, Family Engagement for Els, and a Go To Strategies Sampler.

See below for Conference Evaluation Results!

  • Overall, a total of 60 people attended at least one day of the conference. Of the 60 people who attended the 2017 EL Colony Conference, 17 (28.3%) completed the EL Colony Conference Evaluation.
Day Number of Attendees
Day 1 – 6/1/2017 58
Day 2 – 6/2/2017 55

A vast majority of participants were multi-grade colony teachers (66.7%). The rest of the participants were split amongst general education teachers, EL teachers, Special Education/Title I teachers, and paraprofessionals. The lone “Other” participant indicated being both a multi-grade colony teacher and EL teacher.

Of the 17 respondents to the EL Colony Conference evaluation, slightly over half (52.9%) indicated that they had attended this conference previously.

Overall Conference Satisfaction


Attendees Comments

“The writing session with Jill Jackson was awesome!!! I can’t wait to use the book in my classroom.”


“The writing process explanation by Jill Jackson was excellent.”


“All information would be valuable due to my upcoming school year being my first year teaching at a colony school!”


“I am a very visual learner, but the speaker was VERY easy to listen to. She was awesome!!”


“I really enjoyed myself and am looking forward to trying these new ideas on or with my students.”


“Thanks for letting me know about this conversation and for allowing me to share my book with the attendees.”


“Loved that it is “user-friendly” and will be explicit instruction that impacts student learning of writing informational text!”


“This conference is the highlight of my professional year!”


“Loved Jill Jackson! I can’t wait to use it in my classroom.”


“Everything was excellent!”


“Very helpful to learn about new laws and expectations.”


“Thank you for a wonderful time. You made us feel very welcome, and respected as colony teachers. That doesn’t always happen in our own school environment.”


“Thank you for your valuable information and time! (very helpful for a “newbie”)”



Participating School Districts:

In North Dakota In South Dakota In Canada
Edgeley Atall School Newton School
Ellendale Black Hills Special Services
Enderlin Bon Homme Colony Alternative H.S. – 19
Hillsboro Clark Colony Elementary – 05
LaMoure Clearfield Colony Elementary – 07
Milnor Collins Colony Elementary – 06
Valley City Deerfield Colony Elementary – 05
Deubrook Area Schools
Faulkton School District 24-2
Fordham Colony Elementary – 04
Grassland Colony Elementary – 06
Hillcrest Colony Elementary – 05
Hitchcock-Tulare School District
Hutterville Colony Elementary – 01
Hutterville Colony High School – 02
Ipswich Public Schools
Lakeview Colony Elementary – 05
Long Lake Colony Elementary – 05
Menno Schools
Newdale Colony Elementary – 04
Norfeld Colony Elementary – 07
Old Elm Spring Colony Elementary – 03
Pleasant Valley Colony Elementary – 06
Rosette Colony Elementary – 03
Silver Lake Colony – 07
South Dakota Schools
Spink Colony Elementary – 03
Spring Creek Colony Elementary – 04
Spring Valley Colony Elementary – 05
Summit Schools


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