Collaborating With Schools and Umbrella Organizations to Build Strong Schools and Programs
Language Representatives describe the ways that they connect with and build their language communities and the community-based schools teaching their languages, through collaboration and combined advocacy efforts. These are examples of ways that Language Representatives can connect with their language community and schools so that all of us work in collaboration.
Angela Hasheva, Founder and Director, Bulgarian School of Seattle, Washington
Since joining the Coalition, Angela is doing as much as possible to approach and learn about the Bulgarian community-based heritage language schools and communities across the United States. She has talked with school principals, education partners, and government leaders and officials.
In reviewing information about community-based Bulgarian schools, she has learned that nearly half (20) of the 43 schools have completed the Coalition school survey. It can be seen, from their responses, that they share values and goals, highly focused passion, and good working relationships.
Angela has now launched a NEW focus group with the leaders of these schools, to build a strategic plan that will set the course for the schools for the next three to five years – define their vision and values, refine the mission, solidify priorities, and provide a framework for aligning their work with the priorities. During the Annual Community-Based Heritage Language Schools Conference in October 2018, the group will synthesize this information to solidify schools’ priorities, develop a theory of action, define schools’ vision and values, refine their mission, and set measurable goals. By the end of 2018, they will share what they have created and collect feedback from the communities and schools. With the assistance of the Coalition, they hope to form a steering committee to guide this work.
The work they are engaged in together includes the National Initiative for Bulgarian Language Teaching & Learning (NIBLTL), in which 30 coordinators have collaborated to foster the growth of the next generation of Bulgarian language curriculum development. They are also advocating for a long sequence of study, increased digital opportunities, and expanding access to opportunities for Bulgarian heritage students. Both the High School Credit Language Program and the NIBLTL reports provide a wealth of information about this work, which must be anchored in research-based language teaching and learning and provide the tools needed to move students toward true proficiency.
The goal and hope is that with the help of the Coalition and collaborations of the schools and communities, the Bulgarian Community-Based Heritage Language Schools will soar to great heights.
Masako Douglas, Ph.D., Professor of Japanese and Coordinator of the Japanese Program of Asian and Asian American Studies, California State University Long Beach
As Chair of the Japanese as a Heritage Language Special Interest Group of the American Association of Teaching of Japanese (JHL SIG of AATJ), Masako reached out to this group and asked if a board member could tell participants at their JHL SIG meeting in Spring 2018, about the Coalition, the October 2018 conference, and the school survey. JHL SIG members receive the information from the Coalition via its new group mail and the JHL SIG web site (https://www.aatj.org/sig-japanese-heritage-language). She also sent the information to the JHL schools that are in the Coalition schools database.
Based on school survey results, Masako created a map of the JHL schools, followed up with the contact person for the school when information was incomplete, and continued to fill in missing information. She has now set up a shared space in Google Docs to communicate with the other three Japanese Language Representatives to jointly look for more JHL schools or programs, which are generally very small and operate in isolation, without public attention. Four Japanese Language Representatives record their progress in the shared Google Doc, so that they can avoid overlap in their search for the schools.