By Francesco L. Fratto, Director of World Languages, Language Immersion, & English as a New Language, LTI AAPPL Educator Panel
The Herricks Public Schools (NY) believes that monolingualism can be cured! Our small yet powerful district offers Chinese, French, Italian, and Spanish; in addition, we have a K-12 Spanish immersion program. The questions that parents often asked were how well can they speak Spanish and are they making progress? Academically our students do very well based on national, state, and local assessments; as educators we also knew that they were making progress with the Spanish language, but we needed more! AAPPL assisted us in answering the questions parents had! We tested all language immersion students grades three and above with the AAPPL Interpersonal Listening and Speaking. With very little to no preparation, our students responded appropriately to the online questions; the adults were more anxious than students! The friendly student format helped ease tensions. The results came in online and then I asked myself how will I share the results with parents?! Gregg Robert, the architect of Utah’s Dual Language Immersion Model, shared what Kerrie Neu, Dual Language Specialist for the Granite School District (Utah), does in her district by offering parents a meeting to discuss proficiency and language acquisition. Out of her great idea, I scheduled our first Parent Proficiency Night; I too shared the process of learning a language, but I went above and beyond by including the data from the Interpersonal Listening and Speaking. We used Utah’s benchmarks to assist us in measuring our students’ growth. The AAPPL data was powerful! Parents were able to better understand the AAPPL measures of proficiency reports and left knowing what their children were able to do with the language. We can now speak with confidence about a student’s progress and the levels of proficiency we expect our students to reach at each grade level.
Overall the data has confirmed what we are doing right, but it has also challenged us to do things differently to strengthen the overall program. We are proud of our teachers, students, and parents who ask the right questions. We welcome the updated version of the AAPPL to help us dig deeper with respect to data.
Francesco L. Fratto was a Spanish teacher with over thirteen years of teaching experience at the middle school, high school and college level; he received the Teaching Excellence Award from Boston College in 1995. He currently serves as the Director of World Languages (WL), Language Immersion, & English as a New Language/ESL for the Herricks Public Schools (NY). He served as local committee co-chair for both ACTFL and NECTFL. He was a director for the NECTFL. He has worked and continues to work with the New York State Education Department’s (NYSED) Office of Office of Bilingual Education & World Languages; he is a member of the NYSED’s committee to update the WL Standards. He helped present The NYS Seal of Biliteracy to the NYS Board of Regents in Albany, NY. He is a past-president of NYSAFLT. He is the current president of the New York State Association of World Language Administrators (NYSAWLA – formerly FLACS).