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What People Say

Suzanna’s and Annie’s understanding of how to design supportive programs for pre-literate and low literacy adolescent multilingual learners is unparalleled. 

Grounded in a realistic understanding of classroom life, they are masters in the design of comprehensive and carefully-designed curricula for adolescent SIFE students that honors their strengths as learners, their cognitive abilities and rich life experience, and their cultures and languages.


As urban secondary ELL teachers, their years of experience teaching secondary SIFE students from around the world informs their work, as does their rich theoretical grounding in the research related to emergent literacy development at later ages.  







Nancy Cloud, Ed.D., Professor Emerita, Feinstein School of Education & Human Development,

Rhode Island College, Providence, RI


I have been fortunate enough to know Annie and Suzanna for many years and to be able to observe and follow their work with SIFE/SLIFE – whether in the classroom, in the development of the NYC Bridges curriculum, or in workshop presentations. 

Annie and Suzanna are truly consummate professionals with deep knowledge and understanding of who SIFE/SLIFE are, what makes them unique from other English learners, and how to best address their needs. 


The materials and strategies Annie and Suzanna have developed as a result of their experience are practical and effective in enabling educators of SIFE/SLIFE to empower student learning and foster success.  It is commendable that they have now started this non-profit designed to serve this population, which is too often underserved and/or ignored. 


Andrea DeCapua ED.D,

Mutually Adaptive Learning Paradigm


Annie Smith and Suzanna McNamara are two of the most knowledgeable and compassionate SLIFE educators I've encountered. 


They take an asset-based inquiry approach to getting to know students while at the same time clearly understanding the skills and instruction SLIFE students need to become independent learners. 


They are willing to create new curriculum while also investigating what already exists that can be useful.  In short, it's all about the potential and the progress of the student. 


It has been deeply gratifying to see the rapid progress and substantial success of SLIFE students at International Community High School in no small part through the programs, training & opportunities for staff development that Annie and Suzanna have provided.




Eva Sievert-Schiller AP International Community High School 

Bronx, NY

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