AZLA News 

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  • 14 Aug 2016 3:27 PM | Margaret K. Alvarado (Administrator)

    Upon receiving the Gail Guntermann Professional Development Fellowship and the Tia Tula Scholarship for Spanish Teachers, a week of my summer was spent collaborating with other Spanish Teachers from the U.S abroad. 10 teachers were selected from across the US and Canada for this program. During this week long experience we lived together, attended workshops and explored the city of Salamanca, Spain.

    As a first generation college graduate I would’ve never imagined myself studying abroad in Spain, it had always been a dream. AZLA was able to make this dream come true through the Gail Guntermann Professional Development Fellowship.

    During my time in Spain I was able to meet some amazing educators from across the United States. It was truly astonishing to collaborate and share ideas with such a distinguished group. During our workshops we were pleasantly greeted by the teachers and staff at Tia Tula Spanish School.

    The school has agreements with different universities and students can earn European University Credits ECTS thanks to its courses. The University credits can be transferred to any college or university in the world. They also offer summer courses for high school students. I’m definitely going to take a group when possible. This would be a great opportunity for them to immerse themselves in the Spanish language and culture.

    I am grateful for the experiences I shared with fellow educators during our time in Spain. We still keep in contact and are planning a few collaboration projects from our respective positions. This experience truly left me inspired to continue to grow as an educator not just for myself but also for my students, I can also inspire other students to believe that anything is possible. The possibilities are endless. I want to take this time to thank AZLA for their support.

    Anaid Jordan Spanish Teacher at Pima Partnership Performing Arts High School Tucson, Arizona


  • 14 May 2016 3:18 PM | Margaret K. Alvarado (Administrator)

    Arizona now has a state Seal of Biliteracy thanks to Cave Creek Unified School’s World Language Programs.

    Thirty (30) Cactus Shadows High School Seniors have met the criteria to receive the Cave Creek School District’s Seal of Biliteracy in Spanish or French. Cave Creek Unified School District has always advocated for multilingual graduates as a way of sending students out into the world ready to compete in our global economy. With well-articulated World Language Programs from kinder through 12th grade on all its campuses, students are able to meet the high levels of language proficiency required by the district’s criteria on a national exam that covers speaking, listening, reading and writing in another language. This is the program that prompted State Superintendent of Public Schools Diane Douglas to develop an AZ Statewide Seal (SB 1239). On May 12, 2016, after moving through the House and Senate with unanimous support, Governor Ducey signed the bill in to law. The next step will be to launch a statewide student competition for the AZ Seal of Biliteracy artwork and pull a committee together to determine what the statewide criteria will be. AZ becomes the 19th state to establish a Seal of Biliteracy.

    Questions? Contact Cristina Ladas, CCUSD World Language Programs Coordinator at 480-518-4289 or

  • 14 Apr 2016 3:22 PM | Margaret K. Alvarado (Administrator)

    The Arizona Language Association is pleased and proud to congratulate Robin Noudali, whose article “Performance Assessments to Improve Student Proficiency” appears in the latest issue of The Language Educator, published quarterly by ACTFL. Go, AZLA!

    Enjoy her article, please CLICK HERE.

  • 3 Mar 2016 3:17 PM | Margaret K. Alvarado (Administrator)

    Seal of Biliteracy - Update

    More progress was made yesterday afternoon when SB1239, State Seal of Biliteracy (, was passed unanimously by the Education Committee of the AZ House of Representatives! (It sailed through the Senate Education Committee last month.) Our thanks go out to those who were able to attend in support on such short notice.

    Here’s a recent article to explain more:

    We’ll keep you posted!

    Submitted by Kathleen Backalukas.

  • 14 Feb 2016 3:25 PM | Margaret K. Alvarado (Administrator)

    In case you missed it last night, the second segment of PBS’ Horizon, focusing on AZ Education was devoted to Dual Language!

    At Kyrene de los Lagos Elementary School, both María Rivera (DL Kindergarten Spanish Educator) and Dr. Ana Gómez del Castillo (Principal) were interviewed. In the studio, two of our Spring 2016 Workshop Panel Members were guests: Dr. Jana Miller (Associate Superintendent for Teaching & Learning, CCUSD) and Aiden Fleming (Deputy Associate Superintendent, ADE). How fabulous to have all four in attendance at our workshop on Saturday!

    Although she wasn’t mentioned by name, Jana spoke about Cristina’s upcoming teacher recruitment trip to China tomorrow. Go, Cristina Ladas, our newest Executive Board Member as the official AZLA Representative to NCSSFL! (Jana is a current AZLA member.)

    And I like to think that Aiden was alluding to AZLA’s commitment during the interview studio segment with Ted Simons. For those of you fortunate enough to attend SWCOLT in Hawaii, cheer for Aiden who will be awarded the SWCOLT Friend of the Profession (whether or not he is able to be in attendance). Kudos to Doni Nasr for organizing Aiden’s nominating packet from AZLA! (Aiden is an honorary member.) Best of luck to SWCOLT Program Chair Jocelyn Danielson Raught!

    At Saturday’s post-workshop Executive Board meeting, a new Extended Board Committee and Chair were named: Peter Thomas will chair Native Languages. Peter is currently a Dine Language and Cultural Specialist at Shonto Preparatory School. Welcome, Peter!

    Submitted by Kathleen Backalukas.

  • 14 Feb 2016 3:16 PM | Margaret K. Alvarado (Administrator)

    SB1239 - Seal of Biliteracy


    A great step forward yesterday. Thanks to those that made it out to the Senate Committees this week. SB1239 passed Appropriations and Education Committees.

    Six of Cave Creek School District's trilingual students (middle and high school) testified at the AZ Senate Education Committee in support of SB1239: AZ Seal of Biliteracy, resulting in a 7-0-0 vote!


    Here's a little video clip:

    Background story: Last year, CSHS piloted its own Seal of Biliteracy and then shared this with the Department of Education, along with national statistics of what other states were doing ( AZ DOE saw the potential benefits, the bipartisan nature of world language education and jumped on board by writing SB1239, a bill that proposed a statewide Seal of Biliteracy for graduating seniors that meet high levels of proficiency in English and another language. This sends a message to AZ students that reaching high levels of proficiency in world languages is a valued skill for college entrance and ultimately for entry into the workforce.


  • 30 Jan 2016 3:20 PM | Margaret K. Alvarado (Administrator)

    Superintendent Douglas Supports Seal of Biliteracy Legislation by Senator Carlyle Begay

    (Phoenix, Ariz., Jan. 21, 2015) – Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas today applauded legislators, community members and the Arizona Department of Education staff for their tireless work to develop Seal of Biliteracy legislation in the form of Senate Bill 1239.

    Read more:

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