There are many excellent ways that community-based heritage language schools function effectively, offer excellent education and credit for learning and proficiency, and connect with education efforts across the country. There are also many excellent questions to ask about these efforts. Here we list questions that members of this community have asked and answered. This is a wonderful opportunity to collaborate as we continue to learn and move forward together.
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1. How do students receive credit for their language study in a community-based school?
Leaders working with community-based schools have described what they do to address this need.
Connect with the person responsible for world languages in your state and discuss the school’s specific needs with them. To find the person, go to the Seal of Biliteracy website and click on the state https://sealofbiliteracy.org. If no one is listed for the state, search for the DPI Office for World Languages in the state.
President, Czech and Slovak School of North Carolina
Chinese schools, Delaware
High school credits are given/certified by each school district. Contact your state Department of Education and the school district that your school is in. the community-based school must be accredited by the state or school district in order for students to get credits This usually involves having an approved curriculum, assessments, teacher qualifications, and the community-based school itself. The most difficult part is teacher qualifications.
Department Chair, Information Technologies, Delaware Technical Community College
Advisor, Washington Metropolitan Association of Chinese Schools (WMACS)
German schools, Connecticut
Getting accreditation for the school, and credits for the students, has to do with the 'goodwill' of the school district to accept our instruction/testing (AATG/AP (US) and Sprachdiplom 1/2), sometimes with more and sometimes with less documentation. There is no statewide acceptance. In some rare cases in the past, students were able to take our school’s instruction and testing instead of taking the world language courses (e.g., Spanish; German was not offered) in their high school.
President, German Language School Conference (GLSC)
Board Member, German School of Connecticut
Director, German Studies Center, Western Connecticut State University
Japanese schools, California
Japanese community-based heritage language school leaders and parents meet individually with foreign language counselors in the high school where the students attend and get their approval for equivalency. The high schools examine curriculum, teaching materials, assessment methods, hours of the instruction per year, etc., and decide if the heritage language school curriculum is equivalent to the high school language curriculum.
Sometimes the process is stressful. That is, if high schools have Japanese programs and offer Japanese classes, they might be reluctant to give foreign language credits to students in the Japanese heritage language schools, because they need to keep a certain number of students enrolled in their courses to prevent the courses from being canceled.
Professor Emeritus of Japanese, Department of Asian and Asian American Studies, California State University Long Beach