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ACTFL 40th Annual Conference to Focus on Critical Language Needs

CONTACT: Steve Ackley

October 18, 2006, Alexandria, VA – The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages will focus on the increasing gap in critical language proficiency that has gained increasing attention in the U.S.  The association will convene its 40th Annual Conference and Exposition at the Convention Center in Downtown Nashville, TN from November 16-19, 2006.  At the forefront of the conference will be ACTFL’s Discover Languages public awareness initiative.  That campaign was launched one year ago to rally support for language education among the general public and to energize those in the profession to renew their efforts to promote language learning at the local level. 

A highlight of the conference’s Friday, November 17 Opening General Session will be the announcement of the 2007 ACTFL National Language Teacher of the Year Award.  Sponsored by publisher McDougal Littell, a division of Houghton Mifflin Co., the award annually recognizes a foreign language teacher at the K-12 level who exhibits excellence in classroom language teaching.  This individual will also serve as a spokesperson for the language profession for the following year.  Initial screening of candidates is performed by each state language association and the state winner is submitted to the regional language conferences.  Committees in the Pacific Northwest, Southwest, Central States, Southern and Northeast regions select the five finalists.  These teachers are then evaluated by an ACTFL Awards Committee consisting of past presidents of the association as well as other representatives of the profession.  The winner will receive a $2,000 stipend.

The five regional finalists are:  Stephanie Appel, Teacher of French in Fair Lawn School District, Fair Lawn, NJ; Ken Stewart, Teacher of Spanish at Chapel Hill High School in Chapel Hill, NC; Gisela (Nina) Holmquist, Teacher of Spanish at Nicolet High School, Glendale, WI; Desiann Dawson, Teacher of Spanish at Del City High School, Del City, OK; and Scott Underbrink, Teacher of French and Russian at Natrona County High School in Casper, WY.

More than 8,000 foreign language educators and administrators hold membership in ACTFL.  The association provides these members with a wide variety of professional development opportunities, including training and certification programs.  The annual convention offers more than 700 program sessions and workshops where members and experts in the field share their research, classroom experience and best practices.

Press representatives are invited to contact Steve Ackley at 703-894-2900 to arrange for credentials to cover the convention.



Wednesday, October 18, 2006