Our panel discussion on Language Immersion in Urban Public Schools: Benefits and Challenges was a very successful inaugural event for the DC Language Immersion Project.

Here is the permanent youtube link to the recording of the panel.

Here is the storify.

Several people asked for the slides/docs of the panelists’ engaging presentations – here they are!

Marty Abbott – Language Immersion on Urban Public Schools: Benefits and Challenges

Gina Bowler and Delores Millhouse – Parents are Powerful Advocates

Maquita Alexander – Chinese Immersion, Implementation, Reflections and Next Steps

Lynn Fulton-Archer – From Vision to Implementation: Delaware’s Focus on “Providing Students with a World of Advantages”

Thank you to our great panelists (bios are below) and to our inspiring moderator Kavitha Cardoza!

Marty Abbott

Martha Abbott is the Executive Director of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) where she was the Director of Education since 2004. Prior to joining ACTFL, she was the Director of High School Instruction in the Fairfax County Public Schools (VA) and also served as its Foreign Language Coordinator and as a high school teacher of Spanish and Latin. Abbott has also taught briefly at the elementary and postsecondary levels. She has held a wide variety of leadership positions including President of ACTFL in 2003, Chair of the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages in 1999, and President of the Foreign Language Association of Virginia in 1996. She earned her B.A. Degree in Spanish with a minor in Latin from the University of Mary Washington and her M.S. in Spanish Linguistics from Georgetown University.

Gina Bowler

Gina Bowler co-founded the grassroots parental advocacy group, My Bilingual Child.  Her career includes federal service in the environmental field and the Peace Corps in the areas of policy, regulatory and voluntary program management, and business development and marketing/communications.  She earned a B.A. in Economics and Business from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master’s in Public Administration from George Washington University.  She lives in Maryland with her husband and two daughters.  She can be reached at mybilingualchild@gmail.com.

Delores Millhouse

Delores Millhouse is the co-founder of My Bilingual Child, a parental advocacy group created to advocate for the inclusion of Spanish Language Immersion programs in the Prince George’s County Public School System. She has always been a voice in her community advocating for opportunities that empower community members to create change to include financial stability, improved educational programs, along with family and community services. As a tri-sector leader, she has over 18 years experience, managing results-driven operations offering expertise in business analysis, project/program management, public relations strategies and community outreach. Mrs. Millhouse is a certified project manager who holds a bachelor’s degree from North Carolina Central University and a master’s in business from Trinity University.  Along with being an educational advocate, Mrs. Millhouse works fulltime for the Office of the Chief Financial Officer for the District of Columbia Government and loves spending quality time with her energetic, 4 year old son and loving husband.

Maquita Alexander

Maquita Alexander is the Head of School of Washington Yu Ying PCS. Prior to becoming Head of School in 2012, she served as the Principal of the school from 2009.  She has led the educational effort of the School to develop a first of its kind Chinese immersion program and the School’s International Baccalaureate program. Maquita has honed a Chinese program team with whom she works closely to develop effective classroom management strategies for new immersion teachers.  Maquita has twenty years of teaching and administrative experience, including fifteen years in the Fairfax County Public School system, eight of which she served as an elementary school teacher.  She has a Master of Arts in Educational Technology Leadership from George Washington University, a Master of Teaching in Elementary Education from Virginia Commonwealth University, and an administrative certification in Curriculum and Administration from George Mason University.  She is a founding advisory board member of Chinese Early Learning Immersion Network. She has presented on Immersion Education at the National Chinese Language Conference and The American Council Teachers of Foreign Language multiple times.

Donna Sothern

Donna Sothern is currently a bilingual immersion educator in the District of Colombia Public Schools serving 4th and 5th grade students at Cleveland Elementary.  She has also served the District in the capacity of Bilingual Service Provider, English as Second Language Teacher, Adult Education instructor.  After School Coordinator, professional development advisor, SMART BOARD trainer and contractor over the past 15 years.  Prior to her service in the District of Colombia she served as the 1st Principal of Escuela Canticos de Gozo en San Jacinto, Chiquimula, Guatemala where she helped to initiate a Bilingual program of study for students in a rural area.  Donna has also had the opportunity to teach in summer intensive classes at the Menxing Foreign Language Training Center in Hailar, Inner Mongolia, China.  She received her undergraduate training at Saint Mary’s College of Maryland and later continued her graduate studies at American University of Washington, DC.  Currently, she is pursuing Post Graduate Studies at Catholic University of America.  She is most passionate about students having the opportunity to study, learn and master new languages through an enjoyable communicative approach.

Lynn Fulton-Archer

Lynn Fulton-Archer is a language educator with 20 years of experience in classrooms from Kindergarten through grades 16+.  She is passionate about giving students early language learning experiences and has spent more than half her career focused on helping schools and districts create such opportunities for all early learners.  Lynn is currently the Education Specialist for World Language Immersion at the Delaware Department of Education where she is working to coordinate and oversee implementation of a statewide network of Immersion Programs in Chinese and Spanish.  She has been active locally, regionally and nationally as a session presenter at numerous conferences, as a consultant for school districts, and as a member of the board of various language organizations, including the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.  She continues to work with administrators, teachers, students on a daily basis to create engaging learning opportunities that will lead students to high levels of proficiency.

Sally Schwartz

Sally Schwartz is a third generation Washingtonian, graduate of Wilson SHS, and former social studies teacher on the original faculty of Duke Ellington School of the Arts. She is the Founder and Executive Director of Globalize DC (formerly DC Center for Global Education and Leadership or CGEL), a local nonprofit which promotes a strategic and equitable approach to global education in DC public schools, and works to mobilize the unique resources of the nation’s capital to expand access to global education and language learning for students and educators across the city. Prior to launching CGEL, Sally served for nine years as DCPS Director of International Programs, where she worked closely with partner organizations, including embassies, international organizations, NGOs, and US government agencies, to support global education and world languages in DCPS schools. This work included implementation of MOUs with the Spanish and Chinese governments for visiting language teachers, as well as other language-focused collaborations with organizations such as Alliance Francaise, Americans Promoting Study Abroad, and the Teaching Critical Language Program. She is Associate Producer on the recently released documentary, Beyond The Wall, which follows four DC high school students on a summer Chinese language program in Beijing in summer 2009. Sally earned her A.B. degree in government, with a specialization in international race relations, from Cornell University, and an M.A. in history (Latin American/Caribbean) from Howard University.

Sara Arranz (virtual classroom)

Sara Arranz-Ramiro is a Pre-kindergarten Spanish Immersion teacher at Cleveland Elementary School.  Previously, she has worked as an Early Childhood, Elementary and middle schools teacher in (London) UK and British Council School in Oviedo, Spain. A native of Spain, Sara received her bachelor’s degree in Foreign Language Education from the University of Valladolid, Spain, and received an Erasmus Scholarship at the Katholieke Vlaamse Hogeschool in Antwerp, Belgium.  Sara is currently working on her master’s degree in Spanish as Foreign Languages, she is graduating at the end of the year. She is a former Teacher Ambassador and Social Ambassador for the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS).  She is a current Leading Educator. Find her @PKExploradores

Below is the full program

Language Immersion in Urban Public Schools: Exploring the benefits and challenges

Thursday December 4th, 2014 at 6pm

Great Hall of MLK Library, 901 G Street NW

Co-hosted by DC Public LibraryDC State Board of Education and DC Language Immersion Project

Sponsored by Ward 5 Council on EducationWard 2 Education NetworkWard 7 Education CouncilWard 4 Education Alliance, Ward 8 Education Council, Ward 1 Education Collaborative, Capitol Hill Public Schools Parent Organization (CHPSPO)Education Town Hall

Moderated by Kavitha Cardoza

Program

Welcome by Richard Reyes-Gavilan, Executive Director of DC Public Libraries (TBC)

Remarks by Mark Jones, President of DC State Board of Education Screening of clip from documentary “Speaking in tongues”

Marty Abbott, Executive Director at American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) – What research shows about the benefits of education in a Language Immersion context

Delores Millhouse and Gina Bowler of My Bilingual Child – How a grassroots community organization successfully advocated for the creation of three additional Language Immersion schools in Prince Georges County

Maquita Alexander, Head of School at Washington Yu Ying PCS – Implementation and timing issues in new Language Immersion programs

Donna Sothern, Spanish immersion teacher at Cleveland Elementary DCPS – Effects of bilingual education on classroom dynamics and learning

Lynn Fulton-Archer, Education Specialist, World Language Immersion, Delaware Department of Education – Implementation of the Governor’s World Language Expansion Initiative – Language Immersion as a turnaround tool

Sally Schwartz, Founder and Executive Director at Globalize DC – The missing link between DC jobs and the jobs of our children

Q&A

Visit Ms. Arranz’s virtual immersion classroom before and after the panel discussion! Ms. Arranz will be available before and after the panel discussion to answer your questions on how a Language Immersion classroom is different from a regular classroom, how Language Immersion is an accelerated program as opposed to remedial, and addressing common parents’ anxieties relating to Language Immersion.

 

This panel discussion is intended to inform parents, educators, administrators, and community from all eight wards on the benefits and challenges of implementing Language Immersion programs in our public elementary schools. The hope is that a coalition of stakeholders across the traditional public and charter sectors will engage in drafting a strategic plan for expanding Language Immersion offerings in DC.

 

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