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JNCL-NCLIS Celebrates Inaugural World Language Advancement and Readiness Program Grants


WASHINGTON, D.C., October 7, 2021 -- Last week, the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) announced awards for the inaugural World Language Advancement and Readiness grant program. Totaling nearly $20 million, these awards will allow nine public school districts, spread across seven states, to establish, improve, or expand innovative world language programs. Languages represented by the awards include American Sign Language, French, German, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish.

This program, which requires as a condition of eligibility that applying school districts host Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Programs (JROTC), was authorized in the FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act and received its first appropriations in FY 2021. Representatives David Price (D-NC) and Don Young (R-AK), along with Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), championed this legislation and helped secure its passage and initial round of funding.

“As a co-founder of the America's Languages Caucus, I am thrilled to see the first grant awards from the new World Language Advancement and Readiness Program at the Department of Defense,” said Congressman David Price (D-NC). “Language learning must be a cornerstone of our country's education system in the 21st century, and I will continue to advocate for strong federal funding for this program going forward. Congratulations to the nine inaugural recipients!”

"We should be doing all we can to ensure that America's students are equipped to become global leaders in business and civic life, which makes world language education critical," said Congressman Don Young (R-AK), Co-Chair of America's Languages Caucus. "It was my great honor last Congress to work alongside my friend and America's Languages Caucus Co-Chair David Price, not only to create this grant program, but to secure the funding needed to implement it across the nation. I am very pleased to see that our work, alongside the work of countless advocates, has now come to fruition. I want to congratulate award recipients for their hard work, and wish them all the best as they put this funding to good use. I look forward to seeing everything this funding will accomplish as America's students go on to become world leaders."

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 round of grants through the FY21 Defense Appropriations Act.

“We are grateful for the ongoing leadership of Representative Price, Representative Young, and Senator Booker,” said Amanda Seewald, President of JNCL-NCLIS. “This program defines a new and essential pathway for the growth of learning opportunities that empower students to become multilingual, globally prepared citizens. Our coalition members should take pride in their dedicated advocacy efforts over the past several years that helped bring this program to fruition.”

Each of the nine awardees received multiple years of funding to establish or augment existing innovative world language programs.

North Hanover Township School District in New Jersey, serving the military-connected children of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurstwill (JB-MDL), will use the $1.7 million it received to expand Project Horizons Expanding through Language Learning Opportunities (H.E.L.L.O.) which emphasizes connections between language and culture, bringing culture to life through immersive summer experiences, extracurricular family events and partnerships with language clubs in the receiving high school and cultural organizations on JB-MDL.

“North Hanover Township School District is honored to be selected as a recipient of the DoDEA World Language Advancement and Readiness Program grant,” said Helen Payne, Superintendent of North Hanover Township School District. “With foreign language agility considered a national security need, we are proud to play a role in normalizing and celebrating the study of world language for young children, and developing positive attitudes AND aptitude necessary for our students to pursue more advanced language study in later grades. We know that the study of world languages and cultures gives all of our students access to diverse viewpoints and cultures, and a deeper understanding and appreciation of their own culture and others around the world."

Virginia Beach City Public Schools will use the $1.06 it received to expand existing one-way dual language immersion programs to include two-way dual immersion, improve student proficiency in Spanish, and increase student enrollment in middle school immersion transition programs.

"Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) is committed to meeting the needs of all students, and supporting multilingualism is an important part of that commitment. As a military community, students from all over the world make their homes in our city," said Nicole DeVries, Director of K-12 and Gifted Programs for Virginia Beach City Public Schools. "In addition, our English Learner enrollment has increased 60% over the past three years. This grant program provides VBCPS the opportunity to expand our instructional capacity to meet the needs of the increasingly diverse population within our schools. As we use grant funding to support the expansion of our dual language immersion program from a one-way program to a two-way program, students will build their biliteracy skills, as well as focus on becoming productive global citizens. We are grateful for the opportunity this grant provides."

JNCL-NCLIS continues to work closely with Members of Congress, key stakeholders, and advocates across the nation to ensure the program will receive subsequent rounds of funding.


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.


FY21 WLARP Summary
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