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South Texas Literacy Symposium 2024 – Inspiring Hope & Prosperity Through Arts & Literacy

South TX Symposium Program Details

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8:45 AM – 9:15 AM: Opening General Session

Greetings, welcome, and introductions

Dr. Dahlia Guerra, Special Assistant to the Dean, UTRGV
Dr. Jeffrey Ward, Dean of College of Fine Arts, UTRGV
Kendra de la Garza, President, South Texas Literacy Coalition
Dr. Jenny McCormack Walker, Executive Director, Literacy Texas

9:15 AM – 9:45 AM: Keynote Address (30 min)

“Inspiring Hope and Prosperity Through Arts and Literacy”

Best-selling Dominican American poet, translator, playwright and award-winning author of several books for children and adults Jasminne Mendez will open the symposium with this keynote address. This session will help set the tone for the symposium by describing the challenges and rewards of reaching people with personal growth and development through literacy.

Presenter: Jasminne Mendez


Best-selling Dominican-American poet, translator, playwright, and award-winning author of books for children and adults.

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM: Breakout Session 1 (60 min)

Early Literacy Success

Learn how to provide parents and caregivers with information about how parental involvement can impact a child’s success in early literacy, and encourage parents and caregivers to engage.

Printable activities for early literacy will be provided in the session.

PD Category (assigned by TCALL): PENDING

Presenter: Leticia Rosalez

E&C Literacy

Bio pending

A Teacher’s Dozen: Activities to Engage Your Learners

In-person, virtual, hy-flex… donut worry! No matter what your English language classroom looks like, dunk into our session to learn how to spice up your teaching and make any lesson more engaging.

It can take a lot of time to manage a multi-level classroom, so having the right resources at your fingertips is essential. BurlingtonEnglish helps take the pressure off teachers by providing a wealth of resources to help them easily meet the diverse needs of their students.

In this session, we will use Burlington’s flexible, standards-based curriculum to explore four essential elements of instruction – curriculum, assessment, classroom management, and student engagement – to help every student in your class achieve academic and career growth.

PD Category (assigned by TCALL): LIT

Presenter: Christina Robledo

TCALL (Texas Center for the Advancement of Literacy and Learning)

Christina Robledo is a Customer Representative in South Texas. She completed her Master’s degree at University of Nottingham in Applied Linguistics and English Language Teaching. Some of her areas of study include translanguaging, language identity, and intercultural communication competence in the ESL/EFL classroom.

Since joining BurlingtonEnglish (BE) Christina has shared her knowledge of ESL with her programs through teacher and student trainings as well as providing support in using BE. Prior to joining BurlingtonEnglish, she taught EFL and academic English abroad in China and Taiwan, and England. In her free time she enjoys reading, studying Spanish, and taking on the role of sous-chef at home alongside her husband.

Hands-On Banking: Taking Ownership of Your Finances in 2024

Description pending

PD Category (assigned by TCALL): PENDING

Presenter: Sonia Gonzalez

Wells Fargo Bank

Bio pending

11:05 AM – 11:30 AM: Lightning Talks – Resources & Strategies (25 min)

A Success Story of Adult Education: Tips to Strive to Preserve

This motivational session will be informative and inspiring from someone who has come through a marvelous journey of educational success.

PD Category (assigned by TCALL): PENDING

Presenter: Christina DeMara

Local author and business owner

Bio pending

PaperPie and the Literacy Mission

Come to this lightning session to learn about reaching learners with visual, aural, and kinesthetic techniques.

PD Category (assigned by TCALL): PENDING

Presenter: Dr. Jaclyn Miller

PaperPie Learning – Educational Development Corporation

Bio pending

Teaching Reading to Anyone – the Fluency Concept

Description pending

PD Category (assigned by TCALL): PENDING

Presenter: Dr. Arlene Longoria

BLOOM Project, Region 1 ESC

Bio pending



Panel Discussion: Inspiring Hope and Prosperity Through Arts and Literacy

Guiding questions:

  • What are the roles of Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Learning in the future for adult and youth learners?
  • What are the pros and cons from your perspective?
  • What are some alternatives?

1:30 PM – 2:30 PM: Breakout Session 2 (60 min)

Managing a Team of Outstanding Volunteers

Volunteers are the lifeblood of community-based organizations and nonprofits. Recruiting, training, managing, and motivating volunteers require careful planning and management techniques. Come learn how to make your volunteer team amazing.

PD Category (assigned by TCALL): PENDING

Loa, Martin

Presenter: Martin Loa


Martin Loa is Senior Customer Manager for Burlington English. He has served in that capacity for the past 6 years. He utilizes his 20 plus years of adult education experience to assist programs with implementation of ESL curriculum to better meet the needs of their specific populations. His formal education in curriculum instruction enables him to develop and implement targeted trainings to address best practices.

Martin has served as a consultant delivering evidence-based and research-based training for the state professional development grantee for the last 7 years. His expertise includes ESL, Digital Literacy, Financial Literacy, ABE, IETs, and Literacy Organization-specific topics. Martin has over 15 years of experience presenting at local, state, and national conferences.

The Impact of Soft Skills on Your Future

In this session we’ll explore communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity – skills for success in today’s workforce.

PD Category (assigned by TCALL): PENDING

Presenter: David Gutierrez

Workforce Solutions

Bio pending

Fund Your Mission

This session will provide valuable insights on grant-writing, donor cultivation, online fundraising, and other resource development opportunities.

PD Category (assigned by TCALL): PENDING

Presenter: Laura Lyles Reagan

Author, grant-writer, consultant

Bio pending

2:40 PM – 3:00 PM: Closing General Session


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Checked/updated 2/25/2024

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