As the school year winds down, it is always a good time to reflect on the past year and to plan for the next. This is true for classrooms and for OFLA. The OFLA Board, under the leadership of Richard Emch, has already begun. As we look back, we see that there were two things that absorbed the most time for members of the OFLA Board were the Conference and the Regional Professional Development offerings.
Here are the highlights. The Conference was the culmination of many hours of work by dozens of people. It is so nice to say that all that time and effort paid off. The presenters were amazing. Ohio teachers really know how to help each other—sharing ideas, perspectives, activities and materials. The primary speakers were so talented. They are on the cutting edge of world language education and brought so many new ideas and new techniques to the table; there was surely something for everyone. Even during the social times on Friday night, there was still a lot of learning going on, from John DeMado’s inspiring talk to the dance lessons by Joseph Rittenhouse. Conversations, in small and large groups, with new teachers and those who have some experience were the highlight of the weekend. Many thanks go to the conference committee, Richard Emch, Martha Castaneda and Roz Terek, who were involved in all the planning and who used this as a learning experience for next year’s conference. Without their support and opinions the conference would not have been so amazing. Also, thanks go to all the committee chairs and members who worked behind the scenes to be sure that all the details were taken care of. Thanks to all of the members who attended, who gave great feedback so we know what worked and what needs improvement.
Regional Professional Development was a resounding success, thanks especially to Martha Pero and her teams of teachers who were always willing to learn something one week and present it the next. It’s been a rollercoaster ride for the last few years as we all are working hard to understand the new standards, the new paradigm of teaching languages, the new evaluation laws, the new methods and the new paperwork involved in all of it. Look for information coming soon on the OFLA Listserv with the new offerings for this summer.
Other initiatives that OFLA committees have created to help Ohio teachers include the update of the College Guide, provided by the OFLA Secondary Language Learning Committee, under the leadership of Chair, Debbie McCorkle. This committee is also working on a useful guide to OTES for observations in a world language classroom. The Beginning Teachers Committee, under Chair, Lucas Hoffman, is always in tune with what help and information new teachers need and can use. Camp OFLA is ready for its 10th year, an incredible advocacy opportunity for world language education. It touches youth campers, showing them how much fun learning a language can be, causing them to ask for more. It touches the teenage counselors, inspiring many to become language teachers. It touches the new and pre-service teachers, giving them experience working with younger students.
There are so many others who work tirelessly behind the scenes. This is to celebrate all of the pieces of the puzzle that makes up the administration of OFLA.
- Paying bills on time and keeping us in the black, Treasurer Alan Turner
- Keeping membership rolls and data up to date and straightened out, Membership Chair Julie Frye
- Keeping the listserv running smoothly, Technology Chair Theresa Minick
- Keeping the website informative and free from unexpected hackers, Editor of Electronic Publications, Cheryl Johnson
- Editing and publishing the Cardinal, Editor for Print Publications, Beth Hanlon
- Keeping the social media sites full of fun and interesting information, Advocacy/PR Chair Sarah Shackelford
- Keeping the By-laws and policies cleaned up and current, By-Laws Chair Mark Himmelein
- Organizing the scholarship applications and awards, Scholarship Jody Ballah
- Connecting with the University members, Gaby Semaan, Chair of the College, Teacher Education and Licensure.
Ohio World languages has an incredible reputation in the rest of the country for being on the cutting edge of our profession. One of the reasons for this is not only the amazing leadership we have in our organization, but also the cooperation there is between OFLA and the Ohio Department of Education Consultants, Ryan Wertz, Paula Sondej and Kathy Shelton. The working relationship among us is envied by many other states that do not enjoy such cooperation.
It’s been an amazing year as president of OFLA. It is exciting to be a part of a world where The Times, They Are a-Changin’. For the future, it’s onward and upward—full speed ahead.