Language Planning Committee

Update 5/31/2004

Language Proficiency Assessment

The John Stanford teachers took the initiative to provide a one-day training to the newer immersion teachers at the school in the ELLOPA (Early Language Listening and Oral Proficiency Assessment) in mid-May. They plan to complete Student Self-Assessments, Teacher Observation Matrix (using the CAL SOPA scale (PDF)), and conduct some ELLOPA interviews with students. Bravo!

Hamilton has administered the CAL Student Self-Assessment survey to over 250 Spanish students. We put it into an online form for the students to complete in the computer lab. It takes just a few minutes (assuming no technology glitches :). Using the online form eliminates paper and printing costs and makes data collation much faster and easier. (If you'd like to see a copy of the survey, please email:

In terms of future grant funding, Michele contacted the Center for Applied Linguistics about partnering with us in a grant application to cover assessment costs over several years (as immersion students move from elementary to middle school). They are interested. We'll be thinking about next steps over the summer. Other updates from CAL:

  • A popular service they offer is tape verification, where they review video tapes made of ELLOPA/SOPA interviews to verify that the ratings are appropriate. They can do just a sampling of interviews, if that's appropriate. They can also offer feedback on interview techniques.
  • They are doing a lot of ELLOPA and SOPA trainings. They are still waiting to hear about offering an online training course for the ELLOPA/SOPA in Spanish, French, Japanese, and ESL through the Univ. of Iowa. (It would start next January and John Stanford was approached about being a pilot site for the training.)
  • They are working on a framework for a listening and reading test with a FLES orientation, but it's about 2 years off. They haven't tackled writing yet (except for some work in ESL).

Language Immersion Workshop for Tacoma Immersion Schools

Bridget Yaden of PLU, who has been coordinating the FLAP grant at Sheridan Elementary and Stewart Middle School in Tacoma this year, has asked Michele to organize and "run" an intensive 6-day workshop for their language immersion teachers (French, Spanish, Japanese) August 3-10 . This should be a very exciting experience. The plan is to make it very interactive, fun, inspiring, and practical. There are several brand-new immersion teachers starting next year.

We are lining up a number of people to share their expertise at the workshop, including Prof. Amy Ohta from the UW sharing her research on Vygotsky and the Zone of Proximal Development. In addition, we will have a coordinator position for each language, and Mihoko Tsang, K-1 Japanese immersion teacher at John Stanford, has agreed to be the coordinator for Japanese. One of the Spanish coordinators will be Toni Stevens from Sunset Elementary in Bellevue, and Michael Bacon, who coordinates language immersion in Portland (and teaches Japanese immersion in middle school) will be coming for a day, as well, to work with the middle-school immersion teachers. This workshop will be an excellent opportunity for all of us to hone our skills, while helping the Sheridan and Stewart folks develop resources, prepare for the new school year, and strengthen their program.

Bridget and I expect to post resources to the web so that other immersion programs can benefit from them. More news about this later this summer.

Agreement with Spain and UW Student Projects

Paul has identified approximately a dozen students from the UW College of Education who are interested in doing projects in conjunction with John Stanford and/or Hamilton or Roosevelt, related to language learning, technology, motivation in learning, culture, etc. One student, Ying Ren, has agreed to work with Michele on some of the statistical analysis of data from the language assessments at John Stanford. Several students are interested in the project Paul is coordinating with Mercedes Rico of Spain. Paul has received a draft survey for the school and for parents from Mercedes that needs to be completed this spring. Contact Paul for more information:

Summer Language Immersion Camps

John Stanford will be holding summer language immersion camps in Japanese and Spanish for students at the school the weeks of June 21-25 and June 28-July 2.

Educating Language Learners Article

If possible, Michele and Karen will collaborate with John Stanford teachers to write an article for a special edition of Educational Leadership on Language Learning. Due date is July 1, 2004.

SUBMIT ARTICLES FOR A SPECIAL "EDUCATING LANGUAGE LEARNERS" ISSUE OF EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP. This December 2004/January 2005 issue will explore two types of language learners: those learning the dominant language of the country in which they live, and those learning the dominant language of another country. We welcome articles on innovative language learning strategies, using subject matter to teach language, and achieving high standards of language acquisition. International contributions are of special interest. Submission Deadline: July 1, 2004. To see more about the editorial process, see

Status of Next Steps from 1/20/2004 meeting at UW

Since we're approaching the end of the academic year, this is a good time to take stock of where we're at. Several suggestions for "next steps" were made at the 1/20/2004 meeting at the UW Language Learning Center. Here's a quick status on these items.

  • Resource Development Day - March 19
    Paloma Borreguero and Marcos Garcia came to John Stanford on March 19 to meet with Spanish immersion teachers to look at how to use web lesson plans from the Ministry of Spain and Mexico. Everyone thought it was a rewarding experience.
  • UW Partnership Summary
    The Winter issue of the Global Outlook (PDF) featured a page on UW Partnership activities (see page 4). This is probably a useful piece to share with leaders at the School District and UW who need to understand how this partnership works and how it benefits both the UW and the schools.
  • Volunteer Tutors for Hamilton Spanish Classes
    Hamilton has had four tutors from the UW helping in Spanish 103 classes this spring. (Thanks!)
  • (Video) Technology Support for Language Learning
    • We received follow-up information from Masashi Kato that Nihongo Partner (now: Language Partner) software is available for $500 per site license:
    • The John Stanford grant-writing committee has been looking at getting a grant for video-conferencing.
    • Mihoko Tsang from John Stanford and Kayomi McDonald from Hamilton both participated in a usability study of the Youth Forum website, being developed by Asia Society with National Geographic to support virtual exchanges by students in Japan and the US. (The site has not officially launched yet.)

Priorities for Next Year

  • Stabilize school funding to support an IA (Instructional Assistant) in every grade at John Stanford. (The school is currently raising money from parents through an Annual Fund drive.)
  • Clarify plans for transitioning 5th graders from John Stanford Spanish immersion into 6th grade at Hamilton.
    • Decide what content areas will be taught in Spanish at Hamilton and make sure students are linguistically prepared.
    • Work out an assignment process with the District that will ensure that students who want to continue in Spanish immersion in 2005 can be admitted to Hamilton.
    • Communicate clearly with parents how this transition will work.
  • Launch the Joint Agreement with Mercedes Rico in Spain to look at use of technology to support language immersion in Spain (for children learning English) and in the U.S. (for children learning Spanish).
  • Fund and implement ongoing oral proficiency assessment in the immersion languages and add assessment of reading and writing.

About the UW Partnership
The University of Washington has designated the John Stanford International School and Hamilton International Middle School as Partnership/Lab Schools. Among other things, the UW provides curriculum development support, language and cultural assistance, student interns, tutors, and advice. The international schools in turn serve as lab schools for academic research and teacher preparation.

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