The Maryland English Language Learning Family Involvement Network was created to share information and resources in support of English Language Learning (ELL) families living in Maryland. MELLFIN was founded in 2001, when a group of diverse stakeholders gathered to examine the growing need for a collaborative body that could share effective strategies to effectively meet the needs of Maryland's increasingly diverse and fast growing English language learning population.
Each year MELLFIN hosts a statewide conference. MELLFIN general statewide meetings are convened a minimum of two times annually, however there are several subcommittees which meet frequently, and MELLFIN often sponsors professional development activities and trainings.
Through our work with families, communities and immigrant and refugee-serving organizations we have identified areas of advocacy that can strengthen our ability to support families as they navigate the Maryland public school system and seek to create stronger partnerships with schools to improve school communities.
Working with the state of Maryland to establish a two tiered uniform statewide certification program for interpreters who work in the field of education. We propose a system of training and exams which would lead to both a basic level certification and also an advanced level which would include training and testing in regards to proficiency for interpreting in the field of special education and should be provided by the Maryland State Department of Education.
Encouraging the state of Maryland to require that all new teachers seeking teacher certification receive at least 3 credit hours in ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) Classroom Instruction with an English Language Learner (ELL) family involvement component.
We also strongly support the enactment of the Dream Act; we feel that this is a positive proposal in that it will encourage this growing segment of our workforce to become skilled and will decrease the tendency of intelligent highly able undocumented youth to drop out of high school due to their feeling that college is not an option for them.