With an eye toward increasing access to high quality foreign language programs in the greater DC/MD/VA area, American Councils administers two STARTALK DiscoverSTARTALK this summer: a two-week training track for teachers of Russian as well as a four-week immersion program for elementary school students. The programs is co-located at Holmes Middle School in Fairfax County, Virginia.
Former President of American Council of Teachers of Russian (ACTR) Betsy Sandstrom, an American Councils Board of Trustees member and an experienced administrator and teacher of Russian in Fairfax County Public Schools, serves as program director for the seventh consecutive year.
“We are thrilled to be a part of the STARTALK Discover Russian programs this summer,” said Sandstrom with regard to her role. “We have seen the STARTALK program instill a love of learning another language in our former students—many of whom go on to advance their Russian skills through programs like NSLI-Y. Equally important, the teacher training component is a wonderful opportunity for teachers of Russian to not only improve their methodology and skillset, but a chance to network within the rather small community of Russian language teachers in the U.S. It’s just a great experience for all involved.”
Russian Immersion for Young Students
Serving as an extension of the Russian program offered at neighboring Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST), the student program is a four-week intensive, immersion-style Russian program for students from 6th to 12th grade.
To enhance the immersion experience, teacher participants works closely with students both in the classroom and during lunch periods as the student and teacher-training programs overlap, creating an unusually low teacher-student ratio.
Training Teachers of Russian
The STARTALK Discover Russian Teacher Program is a two-week teacher-training program that will provide 15 teachers of Russian with a professional development opportunity. The goal is to prepare teachers to deliver a standards-based instructional program at the K-16 level in Russian.
“Since 2006, the STARTALK program is the ‘seeding’ program for language study in the United States,” said Dr. Richard D. Brecht, board member of the STARTALK program. “It has encouraged thousands of students in all 50 states to undertake study of the languages that this country so badly needs in the is truly interconnected world.”
The American Council of Teachers of Russian (ACTR), founded in 1974, is a professional membership association for teachers and others interested in Russian language, literature and culture. With more than 1,650 members, ACTR is dedicated to advancing the teaching and study of Russian through publications, programs, and conferences.
About American Councils
American Councils for International Education is a premier, international nonprofit creating educational opportunities that prepare individuals and institutions to succeed in an increasingly interconnected and rapidly changing world. Through academic exchanges, overseas language immersion, data-driven research, and educational development programs, American Councils designs and administers innovative programs that broaden individual perspectives, increase knowledge, and deepen understanding.
For 40 years, American Councils has responded to the needs of the communities where we work with hundreds of robust, international education programs that span over 70 countries, 40 languages, and are represented by over 55,000 alumni worldwide, including government leaders, top international educators, business innovators, public officials, and K-16 students.