FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON, D.C., November 16th, 2023 -- Last month, the Department of Defense Education Activity (DODEA) announced that it will provide multi-year World Language Advancement and Readiness (WLARA) grants to all ten school districts that applied for the FY23 program cycle. Representing eight different states – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia – the ten awardee districts will receive funding ranging from $500,000 to $2 million to establish and run innovative world language and dual language immersion programs. Languages featured in the award abstracts include Chinese, Spanish, French, and American Sign Language.
The Joint National Committee for Languages and the National Council for Languages and International Studies (JNCL-NCLIS) spearheaded successful efforts to authorize this program through the National Defense Authorization Act and fund its first and subsequent rounds of grants.
This year’s funding represents the third year that DODEA has provided $15 million or more in funding for
WLARA grants. This year’s grantees include:
Enterprise City Schools in Alabama, which is receiving $2 million for its World Language Exploration initiative, system-wide, K-12, world language project that provides unlimited access for students and their families, as well as unlimited access for employees and their families to 25World Languages. The program will also involve summer immersion bootcamps, extracurricular family/community events and activities, partnerships with local businesses/organizations and with World Language clubs in our school system.
Harford County Public Schools in Maryland, which is receiving $500,000 for its Two-Way Immersion in Elementary School Program (TIES). This program includes professional development for elementary school teachers. Harford will continue to encourage students to work towards obtaining a Seal of Biliteracy.
Hillsborough County Public Schools in Florida, which is receiving $2 million for its Exploring World Languages project that will feature: in-person Spanish language instruction specials for elementary students, an “Around the World” in-person summer camp for elementary students, and virtual language enrichment opportunities for elementary students throughout the school year. The project objective is to increase the number of language learning opportunities for elementary students in Spanish, French and American Sign Language (ASL).
International Leadership of Texas, which is receiving $2 million for the China Advanced Language project for K-8 students. All K-8 students will gain free access to leveled Chinese reading materials through online platforms. Students in grades 6-8 will take one additional reading and writing class each week to digest the leveled reading materials. The goal of the CAL project K-8 is to improve the Chinese reading and writing ability of all ILTexas K-8 students and create a large pool of students with higher Chinese language proficiency level to pursue advanced levels of Chinese in ILTexas high schools.
Knob Noster Public Schools in Missouri, which is receiving $1.25 million for its GEAR UP 4WL program that will establish a world language PK-12 pathway. At the elementary level, a World Language exposure program will be established, focusing on Spanish and French to expand opportunities for students as they enter secondary schools. Implementation includes exploring opportunities like dual enrollment and real-world language experiences; expanding with an exploratory cultural focused World Language class (7-8); expanding with an accelerated route in Middle School to increase AP World Language offerings at our High School; offering cultural immersion field trips; providing scholarships for 4th and 5th year World Language participants to attend a cultural trip; introducing a global digital pen pal; and introducing technology to assist in language and cultural experiences.
Newport News Public Schools in Virginia, which is receiving $2 million to bolster its PreK, middle school, and high school Dual Language Immersion program, expose students to additional World Languages in sixth grade and International Languages, Cultures, and Relations in high school, and offer an American Sign Language rotating resource class in elementary school. Professional learning will increase the knowledge and skills of teachers and administrators and will reinforce curriculum best practices.
Santa Rosa County Public Schools in Florida, which is receiving $2 million to introduce an immersion program for elementary students and to utilize technology to increase Spanish and American Sign Language (ASL) course offerings.
Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools in Georgia, which is receiving $500,000 to create the Mighty Mustangs Multilingual Lab for students in grades K-5 to increase their knowledge, skills, and interest in the Spanish language and Hispanic culture. Students will learn to speak grade appropriate Spanish using a digital language lab and experience the Hispanic culture through virtual field trips. The teacher provided through the Mighty Mustangs Multilingual Lab will allow for additional seat hours in Spanish for middle grades students, providing a pathway to earning high school credit.
Virginia Beach Public Schools in Virginia, which is receiving $2 million for its World Languages Pathway to Proficiency which aims to 1) improve student proficiency in the four communicative skills (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) and 2) increase sustained interest in the study of world languages and cultures as students matriculate from middle school to high school and high school to post-secondary pursuits. Project strategies will include the development of high- interest upper-level WL curriculum, in-class technology supports, building teacher capacity around using student data to increase target language proficiency, and development of partnerships in the local and global community.
Wayne County Public Schools in North Carolina, which is receiving $500,000 to establish and implement a middle school Mandarin Chinese program. The students will be able to reflect on their own culture and the target culture and work collaboratively with another school district in Taiwan to enrich language and culture appreciation.
JNCL-NCLIS continues to work closely with Members of Congress and advocates across the nation to ensure the program will receive subsequent rounds of funding. Join JNCL-NCLIS and language advocates across the country on February 27th and 28th for Virtual Language Advocacy Days 2024 to advocate for continued support of this and other key language education legislation. Take action today to ensure continued funding for this program by visiting the JNCL Legislative Action Center to send a letter to your members of Congress.
Established in 1972, the Joint National Committee for Languages (JNCL) and the National Council for Languages and International Studies (NCLIS) unites a national network of leading organizations and businesses comprised of over 300,000 language professionals to advocate for equitable language learning opportunities. Our mission is to ensure that Americans have the opportunity to learn English and at least one other language.