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STARTALK Program Design Institute

Do you have a weekend or summer language program in your local community? Do you serve native or heritage learners? Would you like to expand your program capacity to provide year-long instruction?

About the 2017 Institute

The third annual STARTALK Program Design Institute: New Languages-New Opportunities offers the coaching and guidance necessary to help you navigate the challenges of long-term program growth, with all Program Design Institute funding generously provided by STARTALK.

Through strategic planning sessions, the institute seeks to improve your program in four core areas:

  • Recruiting and Developing Effective Teachers
  • Planning for Program Growth
  • Connecting Effective Curriculum Content with Best Practices
  • Measuring Your Progress

What the institute is

The Program Design Institute is a free three-day professional learning institute for teachers and administrators of community-based organizations teaching one or more critical-needs STARTALK language(s). It is an opportunity to gain specialized knowledge and to set programmatic goals to expand your language learning program. The three-day institute includes lodging, meals (breakfast and lunch), and materials. Also, there will be follow-up coaching through several webinars and online discussions.

As a capstone to the institute, your team will develop a personalized Action Plan to guide your community organization’s transition from a weekend-only program to a year-round program. On-going consultations will provide coaching after the institute to ensure that your Action Plan is effectively implemented for your specific programmatic goals.

What the institute is not

  • It is not intended to coach the writing of grant applications for summer STARTALK programs.
  • It is not for organizations or institutions that already have year-long instructional programs.

Application process

New items

Teams must be:

  • With community-based organizations serving mostly heritage and/or native speakers of one or more STARTALK critical languages at any level, at any grade(s) K-12
  • Teaching STARTALK Critical languages, which is one of these less commonly taught languages: Arabic, Chinese, Dari, Hindi, Korean, Persian, Farsi, Portuguese, Swahili, Russian, Turkish, and Urdu. Unfortunately, no other language programs can be accommodated through this STARTALK grant.
  • Seeking the opportunity to extend the length of the learning program from a weekend or summer program to a year-round language program.
  • A group of 2-4 people, no exceptions (preferably an administrator and a teacher)
  • A program that has hosted a STARTALK summer language program within the last four years (preferred, but not required)

Returning teams

Teams must have participated in the 2015 or 2016 institute and submitted their revised Action Plans.

Apply online

All teams (new and returning) must complete an online application, accessed below. Be sure to have your two to four team members selected before applying. It will take 20 minutes to complete the application. The submission deadline is Friday, June 30th, 11:59PM.

Institution details


All participants will arrive Thursday, August 10th and depart Saturday, August 12th.

New and Returning teams

Thurs., Aug. 10th   
AM | Arrival
PM | 1pm: Institute begins

Fri., Aug. 11th
AM | Institute
PM | Institute

Sat., Aug. 12th
AM | Institute
PM | Departure


The institute will be hosted in Charlotte, North Carolina. More details TBA.


Registration fees are waived and attending the STARTALK Program Design Institute is free! However, if selected, participants must cover certain meals that are not provided and ALL travel costs to and from the institute.

Two nights are provided free-of-charge for lodging. More details regarding the hotel accommodations will be provided once you are selected. DO NOT book your hotel or make any travel arrangements prior to being notified of your acceptance from ACTFL.

The majority of meals during the institute are included at no cost. Dinner, however, is not provided. The meals include:

  • Breakfast will be provided August 11-12
  • Lunch is provided August 10-12
  • A opening reception will be hosted on the evening of August 10th

Post-institute commitment

If selected, you agree to the following criteria:

  • After the institute, you MUST submit the final draft of your Program Action Plan (designed and created at the institute) by September 1, 2017.
  • Attend and participate in four, 45-minute instructional webinars after the institute in October, November, December, and January (specific dates/times TBD).
  • Submit two progress reports based on the goals of your original Action Plan, the first one in November and the final one in February.
  • Commit to begin year-long language instruction by Fall 2020.

Questions? More information? Contact Program Assistant, Trey Calvin via email ( or phone (703-894-2900 x103).