Creating K-12 Pathways
In much the same manner as the Cincinnati Public School District offers students pathways in creative and performing arts, Montessori, technical careers and STEM education; Live A Language envisions the opportunity for students to develop their skills in world languages and cultures.
The CPS District has a solid start on World Language Pathways. Live A Language Foundations’ goal is to strengthen and build on that existing structure by assuring continuous world language instruction from kindergarten through grade 12. The District has shown it recognizes the advantage of starting 2nd language learning at an early age* as evidenced in the Spanish immersion program at the Academy of Multilingual Immersion Studies (K-8); the German program at Fairview-Clifton German Language School (K-6); and the Arabic, Chinese, Japanese & Russian programs at the Academy of World Languages (K-8). The missing link is often the opportunity for continuous study beyond elementary school resulting in learners graduating from 12th grade with a proficiency level of superior as measured by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Performance Guidelines for K-12 Learners. There is a difference between fluency and proficiency. Fluency refers solely to speaking ability, whereas proficiency includes comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing.
Seal of Biliteracy
The Live A Language Foundation has been instrumental in supporting the State of Ohio’s adoption of the Seal of Biliteracy (1/9/2017). LAL’s current focus is on promoting the Seal district wide as a means of motivating students to pursue world language learning. The Seal of Biliteracy is an award recognizing a student who has attained proficiency in English and one or more other world languages by high school graduation. The recognition of attaining Biliteracy becomes part of a student’s high school transcript and diploma. The Seal serves to certify attainment of language proficiency for students, employers, and universities.
The Ohio Foreign Language Association (OFLA) continues its work at the state level to raise awareness and implementation of the Seal.
How the Ohio Seal of Biliteracy Serves Ohio Students and Reasons for Multiliteracy
- Natural progression for Ohio. Ohio has moved to proficiency based teaching and assessment in recent years.
- Ohio is currently a leader in foreign language teaching and needs to also be in the forefront of the implementation of the Seal of Biliteracy.
- Ohio students are competing at major universities against others who have the seal.
- Ohio does business with many international companies.
- Global citizens require knowledge of many languages and cultures.
- Biliteracy develops critical thinking skills.
- Biliteracy is a tool for students to be successful in their chosen profession.
- The SEAL is not cost prohibitive. The only cost is for assessments …approximately $20.
- The SEAL can raise the level of English for ESL students.
Of particular interest is working to incorporate pathways in languages regarded as “critical”. The United States declares a language as “critical-need” if the demand for professionals fluent in the language cannot currently be met. “Critical” is also referenced in accord with areas of the world where the United States is significantly involved economically or defensively and has high demand for individuals who can communicate effectively with the nationals. The Defense Language and National Security Education Office (DLNSEO) promotes and programmatically supports sustained foreign language study at the kindergarten through 12th grade (K-12) levels to improve foreign language proficiency outcomes in critical languages, as there is a severe shortage of US citizens graduating from high school with foreign language proficiency and in-depth knowledge of other cultures and regions. Cincinnati Public Schools currently offers instruction in five of the languages identified as critical.
- Arabic (K-8 Academy of World Languages)
- Chinese (K-8 Academy of World Languages)
- Korean (James N. Gamble Montessori HS)
- Japanese (K-8 Academy of World Languages)
- Russian (K-8 Academy of World Languages)
National Security Language Initiative (NSLI)
NSLI programs target Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Russian languages and the Indic, Persian, and Turkic language families. The NSLI is committed to making a long-term investment in the nation’s critical foreign language learning capabilities and competencies by accomplishing the following goals:
- Increase the number of US residents studying critical-need languages and starting them at an earlier age
- Increase the number of advanced-level speakers of world languages, with an emphasis on mastery of critical-need languages
- Increase the number of teachers of critical-need languages and providing resources for them
One Million Strong Mandarin Chinese Initiative
On September 25, 2015, President Obama announced the launch of “1 Million Strong,” an initiative that aims to bring the total number of stateside learners of Mandarin Chinese to 1 million b the year 2020. “If our countries are going to do more together around the world,” said Obama, “then speaking each other’s language, truly understanding each other, is a good place to start.”
Check the PHOTO GALLERY to enjoy pictures of CPS students studying world languages.