Arlington teachers participated actively in the recent ACTFL Convention in Boston. See how they promoted their attendance: http://arlingtonworldlanguages.blogspot.com
The Seal of Biliteracy recognizes high school graduates for proficiency in English and at least one other foreign language with a seal on the high school diploma. The exciting component of the Seal is that it places the focus on what students can do with the language rather than focusing on seat time. It also provides evidence to universities and businesses that our students have attained this crucial twenty-first century skill. Currently sixteen states nationally have adopted state Seal legislation and we want Massachusetts to be next!
Work is still being undertaken by the Language Opportunity Coalition to pass the Seal of Biliteracy. Read the August Legislative Update HERE.
Seal Workgroup Overseeing MA Pilot in More than 30 Districts
Concurrently with the legislative efforts, MaFLA is very involved in outlining the tiers of Seal awards for districts to use within the various levels and types of programming from Preschool through College level. To that end, certificates for the Seal are the first level to be given at the elementary level where immersion, dual language or FLES programming is available. The idea is to have students document their proficiency through portfolios and other tasks at that level. In the middle, high school and college levels a three tiered Seal would be available to those students who document the acceptable level of English through MCAS and foreign language: a Silver Seal for those who document Intermediate Mid proficiency, a Gold Seal for those with Intermediate High proficiency and a Platinum Seal for those with Advanced Low. The Seal Workgroup is delineating the list of acceptable tests in the variety of languages to maintain the integrity of proficiency focus of the Seal. The Seal Workgroup is creating a TOOLKIT for the Seal to help districts implement the Seal as well as a promotional PowerPoint that you can adapt for your needs to promote and provide information on the Seal in your district. See the results of the 2015-16 Seal of Biliteracy Pilot in MA.
If you have any questions, please contact Nicole Sherf, MaFLA’s Advocacy Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to Know More About the Seal?
- Read the ACTFL/NABE/TESOL/NCSSFL Guidelines for Implementing the Seal of Biliteracy. Aligned with this collaboration, MaFLA, working with MABE and MATSOL, under the umbrella of the Language Opportunity Coalition is following these guidelines to create the Seal parameters for the state.
- Find Seal updates and national news as well as information about the progress of our legislative bid in Massachusetts at http://languageopportunity.org/.
- Read the Seal legislation and see which legislators cosponsored the bills: H522 An Act to Establish a State Seal of Biliteracy (Representative Kay Khan, lead sponsor) and S336 An Act to Promote Global Trade and Economic Development through Biliteracy (Senator Karen Spilka, lead sponsor)
- Read the Language Opportunity for Our Kids (LOOK) bill legislation H498 (Representative Jeffrey Sánchez, lead sponsor) and S262 (Senator DiDomenico, lead sponsor).
- Almost half the states across the nation have already adopted Seal of Biliteracy legislation. This map and other resources and information can be found at sealofbiliteracy.org.
- See the Ed Week article “Nearly Half of US States Offer Special Recognition for Bilingual Graduates”.
- In Massachusetts, the need for bilingual employees has nearly tripled in five years. See the report.
If you have any questions, please contact Nicole Sherf, MaFLA’s Advocacy Coordinator, at email@example.com
As you go through the great list of co-sponsors of the House and Senate versions of the Seal of Biliteracy, if you recognize the names of your representatives, please contact them and thank them for their support! The Massachusetts State Government website has become much easier to use. Find your representative at the click of a mouse.
Various members of the MaFLA Board collaborated on Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Committees for teacher evaluation resources specific to foreign languages. They are available here. MaFLA has been discussing model District Determined Measures with the DESE as well and will make resources available when we have them. In the meantime, a 3-hour workshop on DDMs will be presented at the Annual Conference, October 23-25, 2014. In addition, MaFLA is preparing a special issue of the quarterly MaFLA Newsletter for end-of-year 2014. If you would like to share a DDM, please contact Guest Editor, Jeanne O’Hearn.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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