Professional Learning Partnership Testimonials

Run, don't walk to learn with Confianza. You will come out of the professional learning with so many valuable tools to add to your toolbox of strategies to to improve family engagement.  I have been able to anticipate tricky spots and am now able to be much more proactive.  --Anne Bianchini, Kindergarten Teacher in Winchester Public Schools, MA, Strong Home-School Connections Blended Course

Confianza's professional learning has raised awareness of the importance of language in every aspect of learning at our school.  There is greater understanding that this work is not just the domain of the EAL teacher. --Jemma Link, EAL Teacher, American International School of Bucharest, Romaina, Customized School Partnership

The Action Cycle has helped teachers improve teachers' practice through reflection and action planning. Regardless of the topic (Writing, Collaboration Strategies, Vocabulary Instruction, Assessment), Confianza's professional development model supports teachers in their work to increase student achievement with English learners.--Paul Teixeira, Director of ELL and Title III, Malden Public Schools; Customized District Partnership

Thank you so much for this course and your guidance and instruction! I hope that I said it clearly enough on my course evaluation, but I wanted to thank you for helping me to better my teaching techniques through open and honest collaboration and leadership. The benefits of this class will be far reaching for me. --Mary Murphy, Director of Drama Productions, Bourne High School, MA; ELL Teacher Leadership & Collaboration Strategies Online Course

I was so pleased to find Evaluation and Leadership for ELL Equity in my search for professional development opportunities. The structure of the course and valuable feedback from the facilitator allowed me to come away with a toolbox of best practices to address the needs of our students and guide our teaching staff. I highly recommend this course and look forward to future courses provided by Confianza!  --Shannon Hayes, Coordinator, Inquilinos Boricuas en Accion, Boston, MA; Leadership & Evaluation for ELL Equity Online Course 

Working with Sarah Ottow and her team enhanced the capacity of our district to teach all students. Our building principals, central office staff and teachers have been inspired by their engaging hands on professional development. Confianza has helped us to create vibrant co-teaching teams and provided us with valuable observational data about our language and literacy practices.--Daniel Mayer, Westborough Public Schools, Assistant Superintendent, Standard System District Partnership

In an effort to provide learning around ALL (Academic Language Learners), Marisa engaged our coordinator team in a dialogue around how our current curriculum meets the needs of ALL students at their instructional level. While the professional learning focused on language access for ALL's, the embedded and modeled strategies in the workshop afforded our team the opportunity to delve into intentional planning systematically within our current curriculum. Imagine a learning environment where all students are successful; that's what Confianza promotes, encourages, and supports with a workshop that outshines all others. -- Melissa Kandal
6-12 Humanities Coordinator, School District of Waukesha, WI, Curriculum Analysis: Culturally & Linguistically Diverse Students
The class and the assignments truly were helpful! I’ve already started seeing ways they are influencing my thinking and my teaching practice. So cool! --Jackie O'Doherty, ESL Teacher, Needham Public Schools, MA; Differentiation & Academic Language Online Course 

When I take a professional development course, I really want to get something out of it.  This course really applies more to my position as a school counselor, and it has helped me gain some insight as to how other support personnel deal with the ELL population in their school systems.  It has also has given me some good tips on how to integrate the family piece.  --Beth Czech, Guidance Counselor, Seekonk, MA; Strong Home-School Connections Online Course 

Thank you for welcoming me into the studies of ELL through Confianza these past several weeks. I have learned a great deal and will continue to be in touch with our ELL specialist and find the parallels of the ELL and Arts teaching strategies. I look forward to enriching my teaching with the knowledge you have given me!  --Karen Romero-Leger, Art Teacher, Lenox, MA; Differentiation & Academic Language Online Course 

Sarah knows the needs and demands of the field well due to her ongoing work in schools and with ESL teachers, which allows her to focus her instructional topics on things that are most relevant. She's connected to the national level work of WIDA, and could incorporate resources from them. She has a lot of classroom experience, and understands that teachers need concrete tools as well as time to apply them to real-life situations. Sarah led a full day statewide workshop for EL Administrators and ESL/SPED teachers on the topic of Collaboration Strategies for English Learner Success. We appreciated her thoughtfulness as we collaboratively planned the session based on the needs from the field. --Lina Musayev, Massachusetts Charter Public School Association, Managing Director, Capacity Building Network, Customized District/Network Partnership

If you are looking for support on how to tackle instruction for culturally and linguistically diverse learners, I would highly recommend partnering with Confianza. Working with Sarah Ottow was a wonderful experience. Through a series of thoughtfully planned workshops, she was able to break down the enormous topic of analyzing curriculum with a lens for culturally and linguistically diverse learners into meaningful and manageable pieces. I was so impressed with her ability to navigate difficult conversations of privilege and identity and really appreciated her balance of theory and practice. --Melissa Katz, Director, ELL/MLL NYC Charter School Center & Special Education Collaboration, Analyzing Curriculum for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners

Sarah has served as an external thought partner/coach to the director of a new and innovative program in our district. Her ability to ask the right questions, provide insightful feedback, and model the use of observational tools has added to the success of the program.  --Kinnon Foley, Director of English Language Learners, Lawrence Public Schools, ENLACE Newcomer Academy, Customized District Partnership


Our collaboration with Sarah helped us open new territory at the Teaching Channel. Using the Teaching Channel Teams platform, she designed a learning plan about ELLs and academic language and guided a group of teachers from across the globe through her learning sequence. Her facilitation of the group was top notch! And participates gained a lot by working with Sarah.  --Paul Teske, Senior Director of Engagement, Teaching Channel Teams

It is my pleasure to give my highest recommendation to the outstanding organization, Confianza, for its products and services that assist educators in successfully education English language learners both for accelerating linguistic and academic growth.  Confianza 'translates' research into step-by-step protocols for educators to immediately use in classrooms and professional learning communities.  --Tim Boals, Executive Director, WIDA at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, University of Wisconsin-Madison

From our first phone conversation, I was impressed by Confianza’s willingness to listen and let us tell “our story” about the challenges we face in serving students and community members who are not native English speakers. Confianza’s early research and preparation focused on student and community member characteristics in the Williston area, as well as the history and perspectives of WSC. It was the approach I hoped for as we engaged a group unfamiliar with northwestern North Dakota. Marisa brought a “real world” perspective to the training, and the fact she “walked the walk” in her own classroom gave her immediate credibility with faculty and lead to a positive connection with faculty and staff alike. Her comments and recommendations resonated on both a personal and professional level with our staff, and it was evident that she made a meaningful impression and impact during her short stay.  As a result of Confianza’s training and expertise. WSC now has an action plan to formalize education services for ELL students in regular classrooms as well as in the Adult Learning Center. Cross-curricular and cross-departmental plans were developed to support students in the upcoming school year, and I am optimistic our faculty and staff will build and improve on this early planning as the year progresses. I am very impressed with the planning, professionalism, and consulting and educational support delivered by the Confianza group and recommend them without reservation.  --John Miller, Ed.D., Acting President and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Williston State College

Sarah is very knowledgeable about teaching English Learners and is a wonderful presenter. She was able to tailor her presentation in order to make it as useful as possible for our group. All of her planning paid off and our group was very impressed!  --Amy Duma, Director, Teacher and School Programs, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, DC; Customized Training for Teaching Artists