We’re big fans of collaborative learning. In fact, we’ve designed our 5 year immersion teacher certification process around collaboration and reflective practice.
This spring we took another step forward in professional learning by creating space for administrators from addalingua’s partner immersion programs to gather and collaborate on topics of interest and concern to them. These administrators set the leadership institute un.conference agenda, tackling topics like building school unity, effectively using student data, promoting immersion programs, and navigating immersion education at the secondary level.
We asked a few participants to share their reflections on the un.conference, and here’s what they had to say.
As I reflect on addalingua’s first un.conference, I am struck by how rich an experience it was for me to engage with other administrators during the different sessions I attended. I especially enjoyed the format of the un.conference because it created a great opportunity for networking and allowed many voices to be heard around the main topic of each session.
In the Navigating Secondary session, I was encouraged to continue advocating for a quality immersion program at the high school level. I firmly believe that working together with other addalingua schools will allow us to implement with fidelity at the high school level thus providing students with the classes they need to continue growing their language skills while meeting high school academic standards and providing parents and students a return on their investment of many years of immersion education.
I’m excited to see what our collaboration in this journey towards high school implementation can mean for immersion education both at our individual schools and in the world of all things immersion.
– Rebecca Gómez serves as the Spanish Immersion Point Person at Pella Christian Grade School (PCGS), which currently offers an addalingua early total one-way Spanish Immersion program for grades pre-k through 6. They have plans to add another grade every year through 12th grade.
– Julie Karnemaat serves as the Spanish immersion point person for Fremont Christian School which offers an addalingua early total Spanish immersion program for grades K – 4.
– Tim McAboy serves as Head of School at Zeeland Christian School where he oversees addalingua Spanish immersion and Mandarin Chinese immersion strands, in addition to the school’s English strand.
We are completing our third year of the Early Total One-Way program and are thrilled with all of the successes we are experiencing with our students. Our partnership with add.a.lingua is most certainly key, and we are thankful for their support and guidance.
Because we are still a fairly new program, we rely on the leadership from the add.a.lingua team as well as the ongoing conversations that we have with other immersion partner school leaders. The leadership institute provided a unique opportunity for us to encounter both. It is always encouraging to hear from the directors of the program, to gain their encouragement for our current path and to understand their vision for what lies ahead. However, there is a lot to be said for working with those who are doing the day-to-day tasks that our teachers are doing and facing the same challenges and questions that we are facing.
As a leader, the un.conference format was just what I needed to feel encouraged, supported, and challenged. It was guided enough to give specific information while still being flexible enough to have open-ended conversations. I was able to leave each session with a feeling of accomplishment, but yet also a great task list of “marching orders” to take back to school. The network of relationships built through the various add.a.lingua leadership institutes provides us with the tools that we need to continue to see our program grow and thrive. We look forward to the years of partnership with add.a.lingua in our Dual Language Immersion program.
– Vonda Morga is privileged to serve as the Point Person at Oakland Christian School in Auburn Hills, Michigan.