20 Jan VDOE report to FLAVA (March 2014)
The year is already off to a fast start with lots of happenings in Foreign Language education. Below are some of the topics that we have been working on at the Virginia Department of Education; as well as some “news you can use” from the larger foreign language community. I hope you will look over the information and participate where you can. From the Foreign Language Standards of Learning review to National Foreign Language Week, there is something for everyone in 2014.
Foreign Language SOL Review
On Thursday, February 27th the Board of Education received for first review the proposed revised Foreign Language Standards of Learning. The proposed revisions will be posted on the Web for public comment from March 1 – 31, 2014 at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/sol/standards_docs/foreign_language/index.shtml. Public Hearings will be held on March 27, 2014 after the regular Board of Education meeting in Richmond at the Monroe Building, and a second hearing will take place in Roanoke on a date between March 20 and April 10, with the exact date still to be determined.
At its meeting February 28, 2013, the Board of Education approved a proposal to amend the Regulations Governing Local School Boards and School Divisions (8VAC 20- 720) to include the addition of provisions from the Guidelines for Local Textbook Approval, thus changing them from optional guidelines to required regulations. A public comment forum opened February 10, 2014 and will close March 12, 2014. The amendment to the regulation will become effective March 27, 2014. For more information on this regulatory action, or to submit a public comment during the comment period, please visit http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/ViewStage.cfm?stageid=6495. Please contact Christonya Brown at 804-225-2893 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
On October 8, 2013 the Superintendent for Public Instruction signed the Memorandum of Understanding with Taiwan. The VDOE and representatives from the Taiwan Embassy are currently working on a draft work plan. We are also pursuing a MOU with Germany, as well as continuing the current MOU with France and Spain. In addition, the DOE will meet with representatives from Canton de Vaud on May 2nd to discuss the potential MOU with Switzerland.
French-American Partner Schools
There are still several French schools waiting for partner schools in Virginia, so now is the time to get your school involved. Several of the current partner schools are working on site visits and joint projects, as well as planning future adult and student exchange opportunities. Our French partner region is also looking to support student-to-student exchanges in any school, if they are not a partner school. The French partner region currently has students looking to do a 6 month stay in the U.S. and then to host the American student for a 6 month stay in France. French teachers or administrators should contact me for applications and additional information to begin a partnership or for more information about the student exchange.
National Foreign Language Week Superintendents’ Memo Posted
The week of March 3-9, 2014, has been designated as National Foreign Language Week. Alpha Mu Gamma foreign language honor society has sponsored National Foreign Language Week since 1957, and the theme for 2014 is “Don’t Let Learning a Language Slip Through Your Fingers.” For general information about the event and the annual poster, please visit their Web site at http://www.lacitycollege.edu/academic/honor/amg/nflw.html.
VDOE announced the information to all Virginia school divisions via Supts.’ Memo #026-14 available on the Web at: http://www.doe.virginia.gov/administrators/superintendents_memos/2014/026-14.shtml.
Foreign Language Academies
Preparation for the 2014 Governor’s Foreign Language Academies is underway and we look forward to another exciting summer for our students. We received over 700 applications for the Academies and the Selection Committee will meet in March to undertake the difficult task of ranking the student applications.
Current and pre-service teachers can apply to observe at any of the Governor’s Academies for 2-7 days and earn points toward re-licensure, pending the approval of the local school administration. Applications are due in May and are available from the Academy Web page at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/instruction/foreign_language/language_academies/applications.shtml under “Applications for Staff and Teacher Observers.”
For more information, please contact: Lisa Harris, Specialist for Foreign Languages, Virginia Department of Education, P.O. Box 2120, Richmond, VA 23218-2120; Phone: 804-225-3666; Fax: 804-786-1597; E-mail: Lisa.Harris@doe.virginia.gov Web site: http://www.doe.virginia.gov/instruction/foreign_language/index.shtml