Dear AZLA Community,
It is an honor to write you as your new 2016-2017 AZLA President. I would like to share some highlights of our 2016 AZLA Fall Conference titled “A to Z → Language Learning and Assessment” which was hosted by South Mountain Community College from September 30th to October 1st.
The conference was a great success and brought together more than two hundred K-16 language educators from different parts of the state, from elementary immersion teachers to college language professors.
Our distinguished guest Dr. Francis J. Troyan, from Ohio State University, conducted a workshop on Friday and Saturday focused on designing and implementing Integrated Performance Assessments (IPA) to improve language learning and instruction. Dr. Troyan presented an overview of IPA guidelines for how to design IPA tasks for Novice, Intermediate and Advance levels to inform the backward design of a unit. He emphasized the importance of using authentic text during instruction and IPA tasks. After Friday’s workshop, Dr. Troyan joined us to AZLA’s traditional soirée at the Raven Golf Club’s restaurant Grill 36.
In addition to Dr. Troyan’s workshop, our conference offered over twenty concurrent sessions and networking opportunities focused on instruction and assessment. K-16 teachers and administrators from different parts of Arizona shared their area of expertise during these engaging sessions. Teachers left inspired and ready to implement new ideas to their classrooms.
During our AZLA Annual Business meeting, we recapped the 2015-2016 academic year by presenting our current AZLA Executive Board members, now including Cristina Ladas, who fills the new position of AZLA’s NCSSFL Associate Member (and will continue on as our Immersion & Early Language Committee Chair as well). In the spring we also welcomed two new members to the extended board: Anaid Jordan, from Pima Partnership Performing Arts High School in Tucson, as our new Southern Regional Representative, and Peter Thomas, from Shonto Preparatory School in Shonto, as AZLA’s Native Languages Chair. During our annual election on October 1, 2016, Carmen Scales, Sr. Lecturer (Spanish Lower Division Coordinator) from SILC, Arizona State University in Tempe, was elected to serve as our 2016-2017 President-Elect. Congratulations, Carmen!
Furthermore, we had the honor to recognize and surprise Sofía Wolhein as AZLA’s 2016 Outstanding Young Educator. Dr. Karina Collentine from Northern Arizona University nominated Sofía last spring while she was teaching at Sedona Red Rock High School; this year she is at NAU.
Two $500 AZLA scholarships were awarded to outstanding students: Luana Paredes Sánchez, nominted by Laura Zinke from McClintock High School, won at the secondary level, and Jared Guiou, nominated by Miko Foard from Arizona State University, won at the post-secondary level.
Among the attendees, we had the honor to have Gail Guntermann who has made invaluable contributions to our educators’ community. Our 2016 recipient of the $500 Gail Guntermann Professional Development Fellowship was awarded to Anaid Jordan from Pima Partnership Performing Arts High School in Tucson.
Best of Arizona from AZLA’s 2015 Fall Conference was given to Al Martino who represented AZLA at SWCOLT 2016 in Honolulu. Aiden Fleming was nominated by AZLA and won the SWCOLT 2016 Friend of the Profession Award. Jennifer Wortzel from Basha High School was also recognized as our AZLA 2015 TOY (Teacher of the Year), and then represented AZLA at SWCOLT 2016. We are privileged to have our very own AZLA board member, Jocelyn Danielson Raught, represent Arizona as SWCOLT 2017 President. Her contributions to the language community are countless.
Finally, I would like to thank Mariana Bahtchevanova for her service as our 2015-2016 President, and Antonella Dell’Anna for her busy year as Immediate Past-President, 2016 Events Chair, and Exhibits Coordinator. My appreciation goes out to all our board members for their hard work, enthusiasm and dedication to our association. Your work is changing the history of Arizona! Loida Gutiérrez, thank you for your support in providing the venue at SMCC and donating your time to facilitate all the preparation prior to and during the conference. Thank you to all exhibitors, sponsors, presenters, and student marshals; without your support, this conference would have not been possible. All of you AZLA members, THANK YOU for your contributions to the profession. We cannot do it without your help!
Have a wonderful rest of the year! See you March 25th for our Spring Workshop at the Kyrene School District.
Patricia Fernandez, M. Ed.