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National News

Seal of Biliteracy Becoming National Trend!

The Seal of Biliteracy legislation has been enacted in nearly half the nation with a dozen more states in various stages of the legislative process. This national effort to reward students for their functional biliteracy in English and another language is transforming foreign language programming. The programmatic focus to move students up the proficiency ladder with a goal of Intermediate Mid on the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines as a minimum, points to the importance of multilingualism for college and career readiness. A Seal of Biliteracy strengthens foreign language programming in the state by putting the emphasis on what graduates are able to do with the language and rewarding them for high performance.


2016 ACTFL in Boston a Great Success!

MaFLA was  very involved in the ACTFL Convention in Boston, facilitating workshops, running our Awards and Business Luncheon and our Non-Foreign Language Administrator Workshop as well as running the MaFLA Booth in the Exhibit Hall.  The MaFLA Booth in the Exhibit Hall of the ACTFL Annual Convention was bustling with activity throughout the convention.  MaFLA members, MaFLA friends and curious attendees all stopped by to visit, see what we had to offer and pick up one of the various fun MaFLA gifties that we were giving away!

At the MaFLA booth in ACTFL Exhibit Hall.

At the MaFLA booth in ACTFL Exhibit Hall.


JNCL-NCLIS Legislative Day and Delegate Assembly 2016

Every year, the Joint National Conference on Languages and the National Committee on Languages and International Studies (JNCL-NCLIS) has a Legislative Day and Delegate Assembly to orient language organization and industry leaders on national foreign language legislation and funding priorities for legislative visits to support and strengthen foreign language teaching and programming nationally. Under the leadership of Executive Director William Rivers, the organization has been revitalized with the inclusion in the organizational membership of leaders of the language industry. Find the complete list of the 111 organizational and business members of JNCL-NCLIS, representing hundreds of thousands of language professionals across the nation. This gives foreign language teaching and programming a powerful voice in Washington. Bill Rivers provided testimony at the May 12, 2016, Hearing at the MA State House of the Joint Education Committee for the H422/S336 Seal of Biliteracy legislation.

ACTFL TOY Dr. Ted Zarrow (Latin teacher from Westwood, MA), MaFLA’s Advocacy Coordinator Nicole Sherf and longtime foreign language advocate Phyllis Dragonas participated in successful legislative visits with Senators Warren and Markey and Representatives Moulton, Clark and Lynch. They also had the honor of discussing the importance of long sequences to develop functional biliteracy with Secretary of Education Dr. John King with ACTFL Executive Director Marty Abbott and President Peter Swanson (pictured below).


You will be interested in some of the great resources available through JNCL-NCLIS including research on how foreign languages relate to national security, technology, innovation and STEM among other pertinent topics. You will also want to read more about the exciting report to be released this fall by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. A Commission on Language Learning was requested by a bipartisan group in Congress in 2014 to examine the state of language learning in the United States. Concurrent with the release of the report, ACTFL will be releasing a national campaign called Lead with Languages. See the video for which legislative support was sought at the recent JNCL-NCLIS legislative visits.


News about the ACTFL Annual Conferences:

2015 in San Diego and 2016 in Boston


The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Annual Convention and World languages Expo took place in San Diego, CA, from November 20 to 22, 2015. The theme of the Convention was “Inspire. Engage. Transform.” The Keynote Address “Developing a Global Perspective through Travel” was given by renowned guidebook author and travel television host, Rick Steves. At the MaFLA has long had a strong and cooperative relationship with our umbrella national organization and look forward to our active role in co-sponsoring the ACTFL Convention in Boston November 18-20, 2016. The sessions, workshops and events supported by the theme “ImpACTFL” will energize and transform your teaching and programming.

The most exciting point of the 2015 Convention was being present at the Opening Session announcement of the first ever Teacher of the Year from MA and even the Northeast, Dr. Ted Zarrow, Latin teacher from Westwood High School! Our passionate and eloquent TOY gave a gracious acceptance speech in which he said that foreign languages should never be viewed as an elective and that it should begin at the elementary level… or before. He is an amazing advocate for all of us!  See him pictured below with his MaFLA fans!


Keep checking back for information about the workshop that MaFLA is planning for non-foreign language administrators at the upcoming 2016 ACTFL Convention in Boston. This will be a three-hour panel of foreign language experts addressing the special needs of foreign language teaching, assessment and programming for those who need to hear it most: your principals, superintendents, curriculum specialists, school committee… When the registration materials are prepared, we will ask you help in helping to invite them from your district to this complimentary workshop.

Check out these great resources available through ACTFL:

  • NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements: Progress Indicators for Language Learners were published in 2013 and are a wonderful model to help learners identify what they can do and then what they need to do to function at a targeted language proficiency.  They can be downloaded from the ACTFL Website under ‘Publications.’
  • Check out the summary of our newly updated or refreshed National Standards: the World Readiness Standards for Learning Languages.  It can be downloaded from the ACTFL Website under ‘Publications.’ The new 4th Edition of the National Standards will be released shortly and available for purchase at the ACTFL Website!
  • The Keys to Planning for Learning:  Effective Curriculum, Unit and Lesson Design is a great new resource to guide educators in designing Standards and performance-based curricula.  Authors Donna Clementi and Laura Terrill are engaging and clear and provide valuable tips, templates and advice.  This can be purchased from the ACTFL Website along with the other two Keys books: The Keys to the Classroom for new teachers and The Keys to Assessing Language.


See the Elizabeth Warren interview here.