Collaborating With Schools and Umbrella Organizations to Build Strong Schools and Programs
Language Representatives describe the ways that they connect with and build their language communities and the community-based schools teaching their languages, through collaboration and combined advocacy efforts. These are examples of ways that Language Representatives can connect with their language community and schools so that all of us work in collaboration.
Angela Hasheva, Founder and Director, Bulgarian School of Seattle, Washington - February, 2019
Since joining the Coalition, Angela is doing as much as possible to approach and learn about the Bulgarian community-based heritage language schools and communities across the United States. She has talked with school principals, education partners, and government leaders and officials.
In reviewing information about community-based Bulgarian schools, she has learned that nearly half (20) of the 43 schools have completed the Coalition school survey. It can be seen, from their responses, that they share values and goals, highly focused passion, and good working relationships.
Angela has now launched a NEW focus group with the leaders of these schools, to build a strategic plan that will set the course for the schools for the next three to five years – define their vision and values, refine the mission, solidify priorities, and provide a framework for aligning their work with the priorities. During the Annual Community-Based Heritage Language Schools Conference in October 2018, the group will synthesize this information to solidify schools’ priorities, develop a theory of action, define schools’ vision and values, refine their mission, and set measurable goals. By the end of 2018, they will share what they have created and collect feedback from the communities and schools. With the assistance of the Coalition, they hope to form a steering committee to guide this work.
The work they are engaged in together includes the National Initiative for Bulgarian Language Teaching & Learning (NIBLTL), in which 30 coordinators have collaborated to foster the growth of the next generation of Bulgarian language curriculum development. They are also advocating for a long sequence of study, increased digital opportunities, and expanding access to opportunities for Bulgarian heritage students. Both the High School Credit Language Program and the NIBLTL reports provide a wealth of information about this work, which must be anchored in research-based language teaching and learning and provide the tools needed to move students toward true proficiency.
The goal and hope is that with the help of the Coalition and collaborations of the schools and communities, the Bulgarian Community-Based Heritage Language Schools will soar to great heights.
Masako Douglas, Ph.D., Professor of Japanese and Coordinator of the Japanese Program of Asian and Asian American Studies, California State University Long Beach
Article 1. Outreach to Japanese language educators at higher education and Japanese heritage language schools - September, 2017
As Chair of the Japanese as a Heritage Language Special Interest Group of the American Association of Teaching of Japanese (JHL SIG of AATJ), Masako reached out to this group and asked if a board member could tell participants at their JHL SIG meeting in Spring 2018, about the Coalition, the October 2018 conference, and the school survey. JHL SIG members receive the information from the Coalition via its new group mail and the JHL SIG web site (https://www.aatj.org/sig-japanese-heritage-language). She also sent the information to the JHL schools that are in the Coalition schools database.
Based on school survey results, Masako created a map of the JHL schools, followed up with the contact person for the school when information was incomplete, and continued to fill in missing information. She has now set up a shared space in Google Docs to communicate with the other three Japanese Language Representatives to jointly look for more JHL schools or programs, which are generally very small and operate in isolation, without public attention. Four Japanese Language Representatives record their progress in the shared Google Doc, so that they can avoid overlap in their search for the schools.
Article 2. Recognition of Japanese as a Heritage Language (JHL) in Education: A successful orchestrated global effort by JHL educators, researchers, and parents - June, 2019
Students in Community-Based Schools Earning the Seal of Biliteracy and the Global Seal
In the first article in this newsletter, Jitka Sebek and Marta McCabe describe the ways that the Czech language schools in the U.S. have made it possible for students in these schools to earn the Seal of Biliteracy and the Global Seal.
Other organizations also focus on heritage language learners and provide information and resources.
The Alliance for the Advancement of Heritage Languages has many helpful resources, including profiles of heritage language programs and Heritage Briefs on many different topics.
The Heritage Language Schools of Eindhoven (HLSE) seek to maintain and develop the heritage languages of children in the Netherlands.
The International and Heritage Languages Association was founded in 1977 to bring together heritage language schools in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, which were operating in isolation. When teachers participated in a conference, they discovered that their challenges and rewards were similar across schools, regardless of the languages they taught, and they continue to collaborate and learn from each other.
The National Heritage Language Resource Center (NHLRC) at UCLA, one of 16 Language Resource Centers funded by the U.S. Department of Education, develops effective pedagogical approaches to teaching heritage language learners, by creating a research base and by pursuing curriculum design, materials development, and teacher education.
The International Languages Educators' Association (ILEA) of Ontario, Canada, is a professional association dedicated to the field of international language education. ILEA works with community-based heritage language schools. In Ontario, these programs have been mandated for 40 years, and a school district must provide a program if approached by the community (with 23 students it must be provided, although most school boards do it with fewer students, in order to be inclusive of all communities). School boards collect grants from the Ministry of Education to run the programs (hire staff, provide space, offer professional development for teachers, etc.). This paper, which describes how ILE (International Language Organizations, for us, community-based heritage language schools), gives valuable information about how to build and sustain the key features of these schools.
Móðurmál – MÓÐURMÁL (the Association on Bilingualism) – is an umbrella organisation of community-based heritage language schools in Iceland. Its goals are to teach children their heritage languages, support HL schools and HL teachers, support parents of plurilingual children, take part in research on bilingualism and HL, develop HL instruction, and support active plurilingualism in Icelandic society. Móðurmál also runs a large library with over 6,000 books in over 50 languages, available for children and youth across Iceland.