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Rhode Island Teachers of English Language Learners

Constitution and Bylaws

Article I Name

The name of the organization shall be Rhode Island Teachers of English Language Learners (RITELL) and shall be abbreviated RITELL. The association shall be an affiliate of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other languages (TESOL), an international professional organization whose mission is to develop and maintain professional expertise in English language teaching and learning for speakers of other languages worldwide.

Article II Mission

RITELL’s mission is to develop, maintain and promote professional expertise in English language teaching for speakers of other languages by determining the professional development and advocacy needs of teachers serving English Language Learners in Early Childhood, Elementary, Secondary, Adult, Workplace and Higher Education Programs in Rhode Island.

Article III Purpose

RITELL is a professional, non-profit organization organized for the following purposes:

  • To develop, maintain, and promote professional expertise, research and scholarship in English language teaching and learning for speakers of other languages in Rhode Island.
  • To work cooperatively toward the improvement of instruction in all programs which seek to provide English Language Learners an opportunity to acquire English language proficiency;
  • To disseminate information, and provide direction and support to its membership in promoting excellence in the teaching of English to speakers of other languages;
  • To encourage informed participation, advocacy and leadership at the local and state levels regarding the education of English Language Learners in Rhode Island;
  • To promote intercultural understanding and effective cross-cultural communication and the valuing of the native languages and cultures of the learners and their families;
  • To cooperate in appropriate ways with other groups having similar concerns.

Notwithstanding any other provision of these articles, RITELL is organized exclusively for aforementioned educational purposes as specified in section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, and shall not carry on activities not permitted to be carried on by a corporation exempt from federal income tax under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954.

No part of the net earnings of the association shall benefit any member or officer of the association, or, any private individual (except that reasonable compensation may be paid for services rendered to or for the association), and no member or officer shall be entitled to share in the distribution of any of the association’s assets upon dissolution of the association.

No substantial part of the activities of the association shall be carrying on propaganda; or otherwise attempting to influence legislation [except as otherwise provided by the Internal Revenue code section 501 (h)] or participating in, or intervening in (including the publication or distribution of statements), any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office.

The assets of the association shall be permanently dedicated to exempt purposes, as described in section 501 (c) (3). Therefore, in the event of dissolution, all of the remaining assets and property of the association shall, after payment of necessary expenses thereof, be distributed to such organizations as shall qualify under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended, or to another organization to be used in such manner as in the judgment of a Justice of the Supreme Court of Rhode Island will best accomplish the general purposes for which this association was formed.

Article IV Membership

Section I Categories of Membership

  1. General: Any interested individual who applies for membership and pays the annual dues shall be a member of the association and entitled to one vote.
  2. Student/Retired/Part-Time Teachers: Any interested individual pursuing a full time course of study shall be considered a student member of the association and shall enjoy all the privileges of individual membership at a discounted membership rate. The discounted rate will also apply to retirees and part-time teachers who work with English Language Learners. Appropriate documentation as established by the Board of Directors is required for the discounted membership category. Anyone receiving the discounted membership must qualify as a person experiencing financial hardship that justifies a discounted membership rate.
  3. Half-year Membership: Any interested individual who becomes a member after April 1s t shall be entitled to become a member at a rate equal to half of the yearly fee for general membership. This special rate will only apply for the first membership year.
Every member will receive e-mail confirmation acknowledging receipt of their dues as proof of membership.

Section II Membership Year

The Membership year will run from October 1 to September 30. Members will be notified annually, by electronic means only, of their expired membership by the Membership Officer. Because of the electronic distribution of membership notices, members are responsible for notifying RITELL of any changes in their e-mail addresses.

Article V Meetings

An Annual Business Meeting open to all members will be held as a part of the spring professional development event although, in special circumstances, a different date and time may be determined by the Board of Directors for this meeting. Other member meetings may be called at the discretion of the Board.

Article VI Board of Directors/Coordinating Council

The Board of Directors or Coordinating Council of RITELL will consist of 8-11 members. Candidates will run for the Board of Directors and be elected by the general membership. From among those elected to the Board of Directors or Coordinating Council of RITELL, and by a majority vote of the Board of Directors, officers will be named to the following offices: President, Vice President, Recording Secretary, Membership Secretary, Treasurer, Advocacy Representative, Editor, and a Representative at Large. The Board can add additional positions as needed, up to 11 members total. The term of office for Board of Directors/Coordinating Council members shall be three years with the possibility of one renewal for an additional three years. Officers will be appointed from within the Executive Board as previously outlined. The Board of Directors/Coordinating Council will be elected from the general membership in the following manner: A slate will be prepared by the Recording Secretary prior to the Spring meeting of the people interested in filling Board of Directors/Coordinating Council positions. All members nominated to serve on the Board shall be paid members of RITELL. In case of a tie, a run-off election will be held at the annual meeting prior to announcing the election results. No member may submit more than one ballot. In order to meet the requirements of TESOL affiliates, at least two members of the board, in addition to the President, must be members of TESOL. Therefore, all nominees should be advised of these requirements prior to submitting their name for consideration.

Should vacancies arise on the Board, it will be filled by a vote of the Executive Board/Coordinating Council until the next election, at which time the normal election procedures will be followed.

The Board of Directors/Coordinating Council shall jointly plan all conferences and events for the association. In addition to the offering of professional development events, they are also charged with the routine maintenance of the association. All other actions of the association are to be guided by policies established by members. In order to formulate a policy for the association, the proposed policy must be presented to members at the Annual Business Meeting and must be approved by 40% of all members in good standing of the association. Proposed policies may be approved at the Annual Business Meeting provided a sufficient number of members are present, or they will be mailed to members for approval. Routine business of the association will not be subject to membership approval, only major policy initiatives that would affect the mission and purpose of the association or major financial decisions affecting the association.

In addition, the Board shall meet at least quarterly throughout the year to direct the work of the association and to control its funds. For these quarterly meetings, a quorum consisting of half plus one members of the Board must be present for all voting purposes.

Officer Responsibilities

  1. President: The President shall preside at all business meetings of the association and at all meetings of the Board of Directors, and can sign checks on behalf of the association, provided such expenses have been approved by the Board of Directors/Coordinating Council, and a record of any expenditure is presented to the Treasurer. S/he shall be an ex-officio member of all committees and shall act as the liaison between the association and other organizations, including TESOL. Should the President be unable to preside at a meeting, the Vice President will. If both are absent, another officer will preside.
  2. Vice President: The Vice President shall oversee the RITELL website and the job clearinghouse; RI Works. Should the need arise, the Vice President may act in the role of President and perform all the associated functions and responsibilities of the President.
  3. Recording Secretary: The Recording Secretary shall keep the minutes and attendance of Board meetings and shall also keep the minutes of the Annual Business Meeting. The minutes and attendance records shall be available to members on request. The Recording Secretary shall prepare all conference flyers, printed programs, and any other materials needed for any meetings of the association. He/She will also be responsible for preparing the ballot of interested candidates running for the Board of Directors/Coordinating Council prior to the annual meeting at which such elections are to be conducted.
  4. Membership Secretary: The Membership Secretary shall be responsible for all matters pertaining to membership. This includes the preparation of membership applications, the receipt of membership dues and the maintenance of membership information. The Membership Secretary shall oversee recruitment efforts to expand membership. This may include maintaining the membership lists for Special Interest Groups and their Coordinators, should such groups be formed. This would be done in collaboration with the Representative-At-large. The membership secretary shall maintain membership e-mail addresses and other contact information. S/he shall be listed on the association’s bank accounts so that he/she may make deposits of membership dues to the association’s financial account as they are received, reporting all deposits to the Treasurer.
  5. Treasurer: The Treasurer shall collect all monies due to the association, and shall keep them in accounts authorized by the Board of Directors. S/he shall pay all debts incurred by the association upon approval of the Board of Directors/Coordinating Council and may sign checks. The Treasurer shall provide a financial statement to be read at each meeting of the Board of Directors. Furthermore, s/he shall prepare, for the Board’s approval, a budget for each fiscal year.
  6. Advocacy Representative: The Advocacy Representative shall serve as the contact for sociopolitical or legislative issues which concern members of RITELL. S/he should meet with other Advocacy Representatives in the region and become a part of the TESOL Affiliate Advocacy Network. The Advocacy Representative will reach out to membership at association meetings and through other appropriate means to gain input from the members concerning the actions the association might take in response to current sociopolitical or legislative issues affecting members and their students. All actions taken by the association will be approved by the Board of Directors/Coordinating Council and must fall within legal limits established for non-profit associations
  7. Editor: The Editor shall oversee the production of the RITELL newsletter. The Editor shall also oversee the content of any regular means of communication with members, such as a periodic RITELL e-bulletin. To fulfill his/her obligations, the editor shall solicit newsworthy articles from among the membership as well as announcements of noteworthy publications or upcoming events of interest. The Editor may also include national and international news/articles that apply to English Language learning and teaching. The newsletter should represent the interests of all constituency groups of the association. The Newsletter will be published at least two times each membership year and may be done electronically to reduce costs for the association.
  8. Representative at Large: In the event that Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are formed, the Representative at Large will be charged with communication with all Special Interest Groups and their coordinators. In addition, and in coordination with the Membership Secretary, the Representative at Large will coordinate efforts to encourage participation in these entities. In order to form a Special Interest Group, interested members must submit the proposed name of the group and its proposed Coordinator to the Board. Any RITELL member may propose a Special Interest Group by a written request signed by at least 20 members in good standing. Special Interest Groups will be formed upon approval by two-thirds of the Board of Directors.

Article VII Amendments

RITELL Constitution and Bylaws 6
Any member may propose an amendment to the constitution. Such petitions for amendments must be signed by at least 25 members and are to be submitted to the President not less than 45 days prior to the Annual Business Meeting. A proposed amendment must then be presented to the Board of Directors and approved by at least two-thirds of the Board of Directors in order for the proposal to move forward to the members for consideration.

Proposed amendments approved by two-thirds of the Board shall be distributed to the members at least 14 days before the Annual Business Meeting, so that it can be discussed at the Annual Business Meeting. To become effective, the proposed amendment must be ratified by 55% of the members. This may be done in person at the Annual Business Meeting provided that 55% of members are present or the amendment may be sent to members by mail for ratification. If an amendment fails to be ratified, it may be proposed in the same manner at another point in time.

Article VII Voting

At all meetings, except for the election of officers, all votes shall be by voice. For election of officers, a ballot will be provided and all votes shall be cast anonymously. Members of the Board of Directors/Coordinating Council will be elected by a majority vote and this election will occur as the first item of business at the annual meeting of the organization. At the conclusion of the balloting, the chairman of such meeting shall communicate to the secretary the results to be included in the minutes of that meeting. In case of a tie, a runoff election will be held at the annual meeting prior to announcing the election results.

Officers will be named through a process of majority vote of the Board of Directors/Coordinating Council at the first meeting after their election. The offices to be held by each member of the Board of Directors will then be announced to members of the association via electronic means.

Article VIII Parliamentary Authority

Roberts Rules of Order shall govern the meetings of RITELL in all cases to which they are applicable. The President may appoint a parliamentarian to give advice on procedural matters.

RITELL c/o Nancy Cloud  |  P.O Box 9292  |  Providence, RI 02940  |  ritellteachers@gmail.com


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