Happy 2016 Summer to the OFLA members and friends. In this last article as the president of the Ohio Foreign Language Association, I want to take a moment to share highlights from what your OFLA Board and other groups have been up to this academic year.
The Executive Board and Committee Chairs began the academic year with a retreat where we reviewed the OFLA Vision, Mission, and Strategic Plan. The OFLA Vision strives to support and ensure that every Ohio student will be proficient in a second language, which is essential to a world-class education. The OFLA Mission includes a commitment to world language study beginning in the primary grades, so that every learner, from early childhood through adult, acquires a high level of communicative and intercultural competence. The OFLA Strategic Plan supports the establishment of clear expectations for foreign language learners, assists in building the capacity of foreign language teachers to prepare learners to demonstrate their proficiency, and builds support for foreign language instruction among parents, policy leaders, the business community and opinion leaders in the media. The Vision, Mission, and Strategic Plan guided our work throughout the 2015-2016 academic year.
Using the organization’s guiding principles, we first created a seamless process to select and nominate the Ohio Teacher of the Year (TOY). We first created a committee comprised of all former Ohio TOYs along with one representative from the Ohio Department of Education (ODE). The committee helped craft the guidelines and evaluation rubric. The Editor for Electronic Publications and Website created an online submission link and hosting place for our nominations. We advertised the award using all social media venues (e.g. listserv and Facebook), collected, and evaluated submission. The process resulted in the selection of an excellent teacher to represent Ohio at the Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Lisa Shepard from Hilliard Davidson High School was selected as the Ohio 2016 TOY.
In the Fall 2013, the OFLA Board voted to conduct a joint conference with the Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (CSCTFL) for the 2016 conference. As the OFLA president, I served as Local Liaison. As your Local Liaison, I met with the program chair to select keynote speaker, communicated timelines with the executive director, co-organized the OFLA booth at the conference, provided executive director with membership information for inclusion in the conference registration form; wrote the Welcome letter used online to preview the conference; coordinated payments for special sessions at the conference; appointed and helped organize the local committee chairs; surveyed board members regarding conference accommodations and communicated information to executive director; wrote the Welcome letter used in the conference program; as well as planned the OFLA Board welcome meeting, Annual Business Meeting, and Post-Conference Board meeting. All Executive Board Members and Committee Chairs worked diligently to ensure a great joint OFLA/CSCTFL conference.
Finally, another great accomplishment during the 2015-2016 year was the work completed by Martha Halemba, Chair of the Professional Development Committee, toward establishing Ohio’s Seal of Biliteracy. Martha worked tirelessly to assist in crafting the Ohio House Bill dedicated to this initiative. OFLA members supported the efforts by writing to their representatives and senators. The Bill is on its final approval stages.
I want to say how thankful I am for the Board’s service during the 2015-2016 year. Ohio is very fortunate to have an excellent group of professionals who step up and provide service to ensure the organization’s Vision, Mission, and Strategic Plan are implemented each year.