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ACTFL Conference to Launch Discover Languages Campaign

CONTACT: Steve Ackley

October 21, 2005, Alexandria, VA – The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages will launch a major nationwide language education initiative at its 39th Annual Conference and Exposition at the Convention Center and the Hyatt Regency in Baltimore, MD from November 18-20, 2005.  Discover Languages will be a sustained campaign designed to heighten public awareness of the critical importance of language education and proficiency in the United States.  The program will build on the momentum achieved during the association’s 2005: The Year of Languages   initiative that celebrated the value of language learning throughout 2005. 

A highlight of the conference’s Friday, November 18 Opening General Session will be the announcement of the first winner of the new ACTFL National Language Teacher of the Year Award.  Sponsored by publisher McDougal Littell, a division of Houghton Mifflin Co., the award will annually recognize 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.  The conceptual idea of the award was developed through the New Visions in Action project which piloted the selection process in the Southwest region of the U.S.  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, CentralStates, 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.


Friday, October 21, 2005