The Arabic and Chinese Extended Sequences (ACES) project in Minneapolis addressed three important needs: develop high quality, articulated language instruction, curriculum, and assessments for Arabic and Chinese in K-12 programs; provide high quality professional development for teachers of Arabic and Chinese; establish model articulated programs in Arabic and Chinese in grades K-12.
The ACES project in Minneapolis Public School was funded by the Foreign Language Assistance Program (FLAP) of the U.S. Department of Education which provided grants to school districts to establish, improve, or expand innovative foreign language programs for elementary and secondary school students. Priority for funding was given to projects that developed programs leading to high-levels of proficiency in critical languages, such as Arabic and Chinese. Minneapolis Public Schools matched this FLAP funding to ensure that the new district programs for Arabic and Chinese would be well developed and sustainable.
The ACES project hired new language teachers of Arabic and Chinese and supported them to become highly qualified teachers through providing extensive professional development, which focused on the grant project goals:
1) Design standards-based articulated curriculum
2) Develop integrated performance assessments that use formative and summative assessments to inform instruction
3) Improve instruction of languages and cultures
4) Incorporate technology to enhance instruction.
The ACES project partnered with the Center for Advanced Research
1) Inviting college-level instructors of Arabic and Chinese to review curriculum, assessments, benchmarks, and student work samples in order to extend articulation efforts beyond the K-12 and across institutions.
2) Supporting the ACES project teachers to attend and present at regional and national conferences where the teachers were able to network with professionals from around the country, gain knowledge of effective instructional strategies, and to learn to integrate technology into instruction.
3) Providing support to ACES project teachers, from the ACES project coordinator and mentor, on classroom management, instructional strategies, planning curriculum, and integrating cultural arts presentations.
4) Engaging all ACES teachers in weeklong summer professional development workshops to collaborate on the development of standards-based thematic units with integrated performance assessments. There workshops were lead by the ACES project director, Gaelle Berg, project coordinator, Ayumi Stockman, and the assessment coordinator from CARLA, Ursula Lentz.
For more information on FLAP, go to http://www2.ed.gov/programs/flap/index.html
For more information on critical languages, go to the Language Flagship website: http://www.thelanguageflagship.org/students-a-parents/critical-languages