Ryan Wertz and Kathy Shelton, World Language Consultants, Ohio Department of Education
We would like to begin by welcoming everyone back for the 2018-2019 academic year. It’s shaping up to be an important year for world language educators here in the Buckeye State. Here’s a summary of all the state-level initiatives taking place in Ohio this year:
Before the new school year ever began, more than one hundred K-12 world language educators attended a workshop that ODE world language consultants held at the Ohio Department of Agriculture facilities in Columbus. Over the course of two days, our team led sessions on Implementing Backward Design, the 3 Modes of Communication, IPAs and Cultural Resources, Writing IPAs, the Ohio Model Curriculum for K-12 World Languages, the NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements for both Communication and Intercultural Competence, Using the ODE Rubrics to Score Writing Samples, Teaching Grammar in Context, and Target Language Strategies (Thanks to OFLA Past-President Beth Hanlon for leading that last one!). Feedback from the workshop was very positive, and given the popularity of the event, we are already thinking about workshop possibilities for summer 2019. Stay tuned!
Department-sponsored PD sessions are not limited to just the summer months. ODE consultants provide regional professional development on a variety of timely topics throughout the school year. Please look at the Ohio Ed Updates for World Languages that is e-mailed to all world language license holders for information about professional development offerings being held at different times throughout the year somewhere near you.
ODE Bids Farewell to Paula Sondej!
The end of August was a happy-sad time here at the Ohio Department of Education. We bid adiós and au revoir to our dear friend and now former colleague, Paula Sondej, as she retired after six years enthusiastically serving the language educators and learners of Ohio as a state world language specialist. Being the humble and modest person that she is, Paula chose to exit the Department – and OFLA- quietly without calling any attention to herself. Paula regarded her fellow OFLA members with great esteem and enjoyed the collegiality and collaboration at our annual conferences. As she transitions into the next phase of her life, Paula will be missed by us all. While the Department has expressed an interest in eventually filling her part-time position, we understand it is not going to happen anytime soon.
Each Child Our Future – Ohio’s New Five-Year Plan for Education
In late August the State Board of Education and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria joined key partners in unveiling Each Child, Our Future, Ohio’s five-year strategic plan for education. Co-designed over the last year by parents, educators, employers, philanthropic leaders, policymakers and students, the plan seeks to lift aspirations, guide development of state-level policies and promote quality education practices across the state. Each Child, Our Future aims to ensure every child is challenged, prepared and empowered to become a resilient, lifelong learner who contributes to society. To learn more and to read the plan, click here. Note that the plan specifically mentions world languages as part of a well-rounded education.
Reorganization of the Ohio Department of Education
As a result of the implementation of Each Child Our Future, the Department has undergone a major reorganization. Gone are the former office and center within the agency where we worked for many years: The Office of Curriculum and Instruction in the Center for Curriculum and Assessment. We are now part of the new Office of Learning and Instructional Strategies within a new center, which has been named the Center for Teaching, Leading and Learning. The good news is that our World Language team is intact, and our many initiatives continue uninterrupted!
Updating Ohio’s World Language Learning Standards
Ohio’s Learning Standards for K-12 World Languages are nearly seven years old, and it is time to refresh them. Please note that a major rewrite will NOT be undertaken. The timeline for the revisionary process has been updated as follows:
Early Fall 2018 Establish the revisionary process
Mid Fall 2018 Post current standards online for initial public feedback
Late Fall 2018 Advisory committee reviews feedback and makes recommendations
Winter 2018 Working group refreshes standards
Spring 2019 Seek public feedback on draft refreshed standards
April-May 2019 Final revision of draft refreshed standards document
June 2019 Initiate process for State Board approval of the refreshed standards
Early Fall 2019 Tentative adoption of refreshed standards by the State Board
Opportunities for you to contribute include providing online feedback this fall on the current standards and on the draft revised standards next spring. For those who would like to contribute at a higher level, we soon will be seeking volunteers to serve on the advisory and working committees later this year and into the winter. An online application will be available soon for those wishing to be considered.
Ohio’s New Seal of Biliteracy Program
Anecdotal evidence suggests that approximately 30 public districts and private schools instituted the state’s new Seal of Biliteracy program during the 2017-2018 school year. The period for public districts to report their Class of 2018 Seal of Biliteracy recipients in EMIS will close on October 19th. Although it will take some months for the Department to process the Seal of Biliteracy data from last school year, commentaries shared by participating schools and district would seem to indicate that, minimally, a couple hundred Ohio students have earned the Seal of Biliteracy during the program’s first year. This is great news! However, if your district or high school has not yet implemented the program and your deserving students don’t yet have the ability to earn a Seal of Biliteracy, check out the information resources on the Department’s Seal of Biliteracy webpage and advocate for local participation with the help of your parents and students. Be sure to call us if you or your administrators have any questions!