Advocacy update by Janine Erickson

On November 17, CCFLT President Bryce Hedstrom, President-Elect Connie Navarro, CDE Liaison Toni Theisen, Lulu Buck, CDE World Language Content Specialist, and Janine Erickson, Advocacy Liaison attended the ACTFL Assembly of Delegates in Boston, MA. The theme for this year’s assembly was “Making A Collective Impact” led by ACTFL President Pete Swanson. He welcomed the delegates with a message of sharing and tapping our collective power.

 Leading Change: leadership planning around organizations core issue(s) and how to get to the “tipping point” in your state, region and nation

 Practices of Effective Organization: identifying resources our organization has to respond to needs of our members

 Identifying Your Advocacy Emphasis: share, outline, and commit to specific strategies to make languages matter in your community, state, region, and nationally

 Developing Efficacy: Tools for Teacher Recruitment and Retention including outreach efforts, recruiting teachers, alternative licensure, and Professional Learning Communities to support educators; growth and engagement Several delegates showcased successful legislative endeavors from their various states and an informative, heartfelt message was delivered by Mohamed Abdel-Kader, the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary International and Foreign Language Education (IFLE) at the U.S. Department of Education. Mohamed is responsible for encouraging and promoting the study of foreign languages and the study of the cultures of other countries at the elementary, secondary, and postsecondary levels in the United States; and coordinates with related international and foreign language education programs of other Federal agencies. Delegates worked together on leadership planning and core issues in our particular states. We discussed the 10 State Advocacy Goals as a starting point. Bryce and Connie will follow up on getting a proclamation from an elected official in support of Language Education, preferably the Governor. Janine will look into building a relationship with state legislative or congressional representatives through her contacts with former senators and make them familiar with the needs of our programs so they can support them when necessary. We have already accomplished a very important state advocacy goal in advocating for a state supervisor for languages in Lulu Buck, ELD Specialist & World Language Content Specialist in the Office of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education at CDE. Toni Theisen and Diana Noonan will continue working with legislators in developing a biliteracy seal program for the high school diploma. Among areas for additional focus in the near future are to encourage a statewide focus on early language learning programs and educating Colorado legislators during our (Connie and Janine) visit to Washington on Language Advocacy Day and Delegate Assembly in Washington D.C. February 15-17. ACTFL Executive Director Marty Abbott, JNCL-NCLIS Executive Director Bill Rivers, and Jill Allen Murray, of the Sheridan Group who work closely with ACTFL to provide specialized services in government affairs, political strategy and public policy spoke to the delegates of national initiatives including updates on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a national status report on the Seal of Biliteracy and the “Lead with Languages” campaign ( Table discussions ensued on what we can do in our state and region based on those initiatives. If you would like further information on how you can be a powerful advocate in your school for your programs, to the Advocacy menu at to see the list of Advocacy Tips under Resources.

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