Ryan Wertz and Kathy Shelton, World Language Consultants, Ohio Department of Education
Happy New Year, everyone! We hope 2019 will be a year full of energized teaching and learning, one marked by significant proficiency gains and intercultural development for your students. Here at the Ohio Department of Education, your world language team remains firmly committed to supporting your work through strong standards, helpful model curriculum tools and resources, a robust Seal of Biliteracy program, and focused professional development opportunities.
Update on the Revision of Ohio’s World Language Learning Standards
The revision of Ohio’s Learning Standards for K-12 World Languages is finally underway! The current 2012 standards were posted online in mid-December along with a survey tool to collect stakeholder feedback, and they will remain accessible to the public through January 21, 2019. The comments we receive will form the basis for refreshing the standards. Hopefully, you took some time to complete the survey and provide your own comments. If the survey is still open at the time this article is posted and you haven’t yet provided your feedback, we would strongly encourage you to have a say in the future set of standards that will inform your future work!
The timeline for the revisionary process was recently updated, and it is as follows:
Winter 2018-19 Post current WL learning standards online for initial public feedback
February 2019 Advisory committee reviews feedback and makes recommendations
March-April 2019 Working group refreshes standards
May-June 2019 Seek public feedback on draft refreshed standards
Summer 2019 Final revision of draft refreshed standards
Early Fall 2019 Initiate process for State Board approval of the refreshed standards
Mid-Late Fall 2019 Tentative adoption of refreshed standards by the State Board
We would like to thank the state’s various world language stakeholder organizations for nominating their members to serve on our Standards Advisory Committee. The committee’s composition is being finalized and will be announced soon. We would also like to thank the many world language educators who applied to serve on our Standards Revision Work Group. Literally hundreds of you applied to participate in this important work! We have begun the process of reading through the many applications we received to build a working group that is representative of the diversity of stakeholders that have a vested interest in this process. We are only able to place approximately 20 people on the committee, so we apologize in advance if you applied to be considered, and we are not able to incorporate you into working group.
Once we have generated a draft of the refreshed standards, it is vital that all Ohio world language educators review them and provide us with feedback. Only with strong public participation will we generate standards that will meet the needs of a broad cross-section of our state’s language educators. Your participation in the public review process DOES make a difference!!
Seal of Biliteracy Update
Ohio’s new Seal of Biliteracy Program continues to generate great interest as additional schools and districts consider offering the award to their future graduating seniors. One of the most frequently asked questions we receive centers on what schools/districts need to do formally to offer the Ohio Seal of Biliteracy to their students. Contrary to popular belief, there is no need to contact the Ohio Department of Education to formally request to participate. Instead, we recommend the following:
1. Advertise the program visibly on your school or district website. The Department will look on your website if we receive any seal-related inquiries from stakeholders in your area.
2. Get information about the Seal of Biliteracy and its benefits out to students (and their parents!) before they enter your language program so that everyone understands the time and intensity of study required to earn the award.
3. Coordinate all Seal of Biliteracy-related activities with your ESL counterparts and your school counselors.
4. Ensure equity by offering the Seal of Biliteracy in ALL high schools in your district and to ALL world language speakers, including heritage students and English learners.
5. Create a formal application process for seniors and end-of-year juniors to use to indicate that they want to be considered /assessed for the Seal of Biliteracy.
6. Decide as a department or district which of the ODE-approved world language assessment(s) you will use to measure the proficiency of your commonly taught language students.
7. Use the discounted pricing afforded through the Ohio Foreign Language Association’s special relationship with LTI (AAPPL) and Avant Assessment (STAMP 4s).
8. Take advantage of practice versions of approved world language proficiency assessments to prepare students for testing.
9. Ensure the validity of your students’ assessment results by never proctoring your own students’ proficiency tests. Always have a building or district testing coordinator or other neutral staff member proctor assessments being used to determine Seal of Biliteracy eligibility.
10. Work with your district’s online platform/transcript vendor to have the required Seal of Biliteracy language programmed into your electronic transcripts.
11. In public schools, work with your building or district EMIS data coordinator to report Seal of Biliteracy recipients to the Department using language-specific EMIS program codes. Private and independent schools should safeguard detailed records about their Seal of Biliteracy recipients over the long term.
12. Celebrate the success of students who qualify for a Seal of Biliteracy at graduation. Certificates, plaques, medals, ceremonies, cords, etc., are all appropriate ways to recognize Seal of Biliteracy recipients. Download the Ohio Seal of Biliteracy image for use in your local recognition activities.
As always, we encourage you to check out the informational 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 contact us directly if you or your administrators have any questions!
International Teacher Exchange Programs
Periodically we like to remind our stakeholders about the Ohio Department of Education’s various international teacher exchange programs, which help support the State Board of Education’s vision that Ohio learners be “workforce ready and successfully participate in the global economy as productive citizens.” These programs also supply an important source of language and language immersion teachers as the supply of qualified world language educators continues to diminish. Additionally, having a visiting educator in your school provides a great basis for forming long-term sister school relationships and engaging learners in meaningful, project-based learning opportunities with their student partners abroad. Our Ohio programs include:
1. Chinese Guest Teacher Program
2. Spanish Visiting Teacher Program
3. Teacher-for-Teacher Exchange Program with the Académie de Rouen, France
4. Visiting Chinese Teacher from Taiwan Program
5. Teaching English in Taiwan Program
Specific information about each program, including links to applications, deadlines for applying, etc., can be found on the Department’s Visiting International Teachers webpage. We invite you to learn more about the Department’s various partner programs and think of ways one or more of these programs could help enhance the learning opportunities available to your students.