Without the help of numerous individuals at the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL), this directory would not have been completed. Thanks goes to Annette Holmes who assisted with mailings to the states, completed the data entry for over 1,400 early foreign language programs, and fielded hundreds of calls for information over the course of the project; to Sonia Kundert who provided expert editorial assistance prior to publication; to Lynn Fischer who assisted with editing and proofreading; to Thom Raybold who created and networked the directory database and made it accessible from CAL's Web site; to Jeannie Rennie, who smoothly shepherded the directory through production; and to Donna Christian, who, as always, provided continual support and guidance. A special thanks also goes to Derek Matson, a summer 1996 intern from Denison University who made initial contacts with each state to determine whether mailing lists were available for schools with foreign language programs.
Additionally, we wish to thank the foreign language professionals who provided guidance in the development of the questionnaire and/or the final directory: Marty Abbott, Helena Curtain, Trina Garman, Sari Kaye, Myriam Met, Kathleen Riordan, Marcia Rosenbusch, G. Richard Tucker, and Karen Willetts.
We are sincerely grateful for the invaluable aid we received from countless individuals that we contacted at national, state, and regional language and education organizations over the course of the project, without whose help this directory would not have been possible.
Special thanks go to members of the National Association of District Supervisors of Foreign Languages (NADSFL), the National Council of State Supervisors of Foreign Languages (NCSSFL), the National Network for Early Language Learning (NNELL), and the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), and to other contacts at the State Departments of Education and at the state foreign language associations, who provided important leads in finding districts and schools within their states that offered early language instruction. Our contacts often followed up by disseminating additional questionnaires to their memberships, districts, or local schools.
We also appreciate all those at the national, state, and regional foreign language associations who publicized and/or reprinted our questionnaire through their newsletters, e-mail discussion lists, conference programs, and other publications, and disseminated the questionnaires at their annual meetings and conferences (see complete list of organizations in Appendix A).
In addition to all the public schools, we are most grateful to the numerous independent schools and educational organizations that shared their mailing lists with us or disseminated the questionnaire to their members (see complete list of independent school organizations in Appendix B).
And most importantly, a heartfelt thanks goes to all of the teachers, principals, district foreign language coordinators, and other school administrators who completed and returned our questionnaire about their programs. The directory certainly would not have been possible without your contributions!
Finally, a special thanks to José Martinez, Program Officer at the U.S. Department of Education, International Research and Studies Office, who provided support and guidance throughout the project. LEB and NCR
The National Directory of Early Foreign Language Programs was developed in response to the need expressed by teachers, school administrators, researchers, and parents for information about schools that teach foreign languages to young children. The Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) is pleased to provide for the first time a directory of public and private elementary and middle schools from across the United States that begin foreign language instruction before grade 7. The directory includes programs that teach languages in all types of programs other than in immersion settings. (For immersion programs, see CAL's directories of immersion and two-way immersion programs in the U.S., accessible from CAL's Web site at www.cal.org.)
This directory was funded by a grant to CAL from the U.S. Department of Education, International Research and Studies Office, as part of a three-year study that also included a nationwide survey of K–12 foreign language instruction and the identification of model K–8 language programs.
The purpose of the directory is to provide a sampling of language programs in every state and the District of Columbia; the intention is not to be a comprehensive listing. The directory includes programs in public and private schools that we were able to locate thanks to major assistance from colleagues at the national, regional, state, and local levels.
Our most challenging task in compiling this directory was tracking down the programs. Because of the decentralized nature of our country's educational system, there had never been a national effort to compile such a list, and only a few State Departments of Education knew of all the early foreign language programs in their states. Therefore, it was truly by word-of-mouth and what is called the "snow-ball" effect of data gathering, where one contact leads to another that leads to another, that we found out about all these schools. (See the section on "How the Directory was Compiled" for details on the process.)
A one-page questionnaire was sent to schools that requested basic contact information as well as details about the foreign language program itself. The following information was gathered:
In the directory, you will find state-by-state listings of over 1,400 programs, organized alphabetically by state, and within states, alphabetically by school or district name. In most cases, the listings are for individual school's programs. In a few cases, an entry includes a description of an entire district's or state's program. There are also some listings of auxiliary programs that are sponsored by the community, an organization, or a business. All information that was provided by each program in answer to the above questions is included in the database, except where the program description was edited for length and clarity.
Unless the information was provided by the school, program types (FLES, FLEX, etc.) are not specified for the entries in the directory. At the suggestion of one of our project advisors, we decided that it would be more useful to find out exactly what programs are doing, what their goals are, and how many minutes they meet a week, rather than how they classify themselves. Hopefully, this information will allow readers to make conclusions about the benefits of various program types on their own, without using preconceived notions about what programs should look like.
The programs described as of December 1998 included 1,046 public and 379 private schools offering language instruction in Pre-K through grade 8. The number of entries from each state ranges from 2 (Wyoming) to 101 (Louisiana) (See Table 1). (These numbers do not reflect a certain percentage of programs in a state but rather the number of programs on which we were able to gather information.) Twenty two languages are represented (see Table 2). The most commonly taught languages were Spanish, French, German, Latin, and Japanese.
The majority of the schools (97%) offer language classes during the school day, while the rest offer classes at other times (before and after school or on the weekends). Most of the schools (82%) offer year-long classes; 18% of the schools offer classes that last less than a year.
The most common number of class periods per week for Pre-K was one; for grades K-5 was two; and for grades 6-8 was five (see Table 3). The most common number of minutes per class were 20 and 30 minutes for Pre-K; 30 minutes for grades K-5; and 45 minutes for grades 6-8 (see Table 4). Overall, the higher the grade level, the more likely schools were to offer language classes in that grade (see Table 5).
The program entries reflect several academic years (1995-1996, 1996-1997, and 1997-1998) since schools in various states were surveyed from the summer of 1996 through the summer of 1997, as we learned which schools to target from the state foreign language contacts. We updated the information in early 1998 by sending a program verification/correction form to each school. For those schools that did not supply updated information, we assumed that their program descriptions were still current and accurate and included them as they were originally submitted.
We hope that the directory will achieve its purpose of helping you to network with other schools and exchange materials, resources, and ideas. It is a challenge to keep a directory of this size updated, especially since programs and personnel change at a rapid pace. Please help us by updating your entry, informing us of other entries that need updating, and encouraging others to contribute their program descriptions.
This database will be updated regularly by the ERIC Clearinghouse on Languages and Linguistics, with funding from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement, National Library of Education. In the future, educators will be able to add a new school or program to the database or update a current entry from this web site.
The directory focuses on foreign language programs in grades K–8, because information about these programs is often difficult to come by, especially when compared to information about high school programs. Although many of the State Departments of Education maintain databases and records on schools throughout their states, detailed information about foreign language instruction, especially at the elementary and middle school levels, is often kept informally and not accessible to the public, or lacking altogether.
With the recognition of foreign languages as part of the core curriculum in the Goals 2000: Educate America Act and as "crucial to our Nation's economic competitiveness and national security" in the Improving America's Schools Act of 1994 (Sec. 7202), leading to the publication of the national Standards for Foreign Language Learning (1996), many states have mandated elementary foreign language instruction, or are at least encouraging it.
Additionally, a recent national survey of U.S. public and private elementary schools conducted by the Center for Applied Linguistics (Branaman & Rhodes, 1998) shows that the incidence of foreign language instruction at the elementary level has increased by nearly 10% from 1987 to 1997, in comparison to foreign language instruction at the secondary level which has remained stable during the same time period. Undoubtedly, the number of elementary schools offering foreign language classes will continue to increase.
This directory addresses the needs of many districts, schools, parents, and educators who, in response to national reform initiatives and research indicating the benefits of learning another language at an early age, have been looking for somewhere to turn for examples of existing early foreign language programs. Schools developing new programs or modifying their existing ones have indicated a need for information about programs in their area that they can call or visit to learn about what works in early language education, and about how to implement and maintain an effective program. Additionally, the directory provides a resource for the many parents who are now demanding foreign language instruction for their children and are seeking schools that offer early language programs.
The programs featured are variations of several program models, sometimes categorized as FLES (foreign language in the elementary school), content-based FLES, FLEX (Foreign Language Exploratory or Experience), and middle school sequential foreign language instruction. The main differences in the programs are the amount of class time per week, the content of instruction (subject matter or the language itself), and the language used for instruction (predominantly the foreign language or English). Although we intentionally did not ask the programs to identify their model type, we are providing the following definitions to help classify various program goals. (For a full discussion of foreign language program types and goals, see Curtain & Pesola, 1994.)
The goals of Foreign Language in the Elementary School (FLES) instruction are for students to acquire listening and speaking skills, gain understanding of and appreciation for other cultures, and acquire some reading and writing skills. Students spend anywhere from 5-15% of their class time per week learning the language per se, for a minimum of 75 minutes per week, with classes generally meeting at least every other day.
In content-based FLES, there is more exposure to the foreign language than in regular FLES and more focus on reading and writing as well as on listening and speaking skills. Students spend more time (from 15 to 50% of class time per week) learning the foreign language as well as learning academic subject matter (e.g., social studies, science, math) taught in the foreign language. Language proficiency is expected as well as cultural understanding and knowledge.
The goals of exploratory foreign language programs (often called FLEX programs) are for students to gain general exposure to language and culture, learn basis words and phrases, and develop an interest in foreign language for future language study. In these "sampler programs," students spend time sampling several different languages, learning about one language for a brief period of time before beginning sequential study, or learning about language. Instruction is mostly in English, and classes often meet frequently and regularly over a very short period of time, or infrequently, for short class sessions, over a longer period of time. (In this directory, there are exploratory foreign language classes at both the elementary and middle school levels. It is common to see an exploratory language class offered in grade 6 prior to sequential foreign language instruction in grades 7 and 8 in the language of the student's choice.)
Middle school sequential foreign language instruction provides continuity from the elementary foreign language program, taking into account the needs of students who have already received several years of instruction. It also provides a continuous sequence throughout the middle school program, serving as a bridge between elementary and high school language instruction. Middle school sequential foreign language instruction usually includes classes that meet from 3-5 times a week, for 45-60 minutes.
The goal was to compile a state-by-state listing of as many foreign language programs as possible in public and private elementary and middle schools throughout the United States. The directory was designed to include foreign language programs in grades Pre-K–8, with the criterion that foreign language instruction begin before grade 7. This criterion helped to differentiate between early foreign language programs and sequential foreign language programs commonly beginning in grades 7 and 8 for the equivalent of Level I high school credit.
Questions were drafted for the questionnaire in the spring of 1996 with input from elementary school language specialists. The final questionnaire, designed and formatted in the summer of 1996, solicited the following information: contact person and title; school and district names; school address, telephone, fax, and e-mail; school type (public or private), grade levels in the school, the grade levels receiving foreign language instruction, the number of class periods per week at each grade level, the number of minutes per class period at each grade level, class schedule (whether classes last all year or meet during the regular school day), and a brief open-ended description of the program (curriculum, materials, goals, other).
The program entries reflect the perspectives of the variety of respondents who completed our questionnaires, including foreign language teachers, foreign language department chairs, district foreign language supervisors, district curriculum specialists, principals, school counselors, school secretaries, and others.
The information that the schools provided varied considerably in content and length. For example, on the open-ended questions asking for a program description (prompting information on curriculum, materials, goals, and other), some schools chose not to provide a description while others provided extensive material about their program.
How did we identify programs to include in the directory? The initial goal was to identify at least five programs in each state. That was much easier in some states than others! We reached our goal in all but seven states. In each of those seven states, usually the least populated ones, we were able to identify at least two language programs. In the other states, we identified anywhere from 5 to 101 programs.
We began by contacting state foreign language supervisors (from the mailing list of the National Council of State Supervisors of Foreign Languages) and other state Department of Education personnel to determine whether a list of elementary school foreign language programs in their states was available, and if so, to request one. If there was no such list (only about 5 states have complete lists), we then contacted the officers of state foreign language organizations listed in the ACTFL Desk Book. If these organizations did not have a list, they were often ready to compile one or give us names of schools or districts they knew of with elementary school foreign language programs.
Hundreds of calls were made to state government contacts as well as foreign language organization and contacts of the National Network for Early Language Learning (NNELL) in the summer of 1996 and throughout 1996-1997, ending in the summer of 1997. State representatives of the National Network for Early Language Learning (NNELL) were especially helpful in identifying programs in their states. In several cases, lists were readily available and our contacts were able to provide a print-out or computer disk with the information necessary for sending questionnaires to schools with early language programs in their state. This was ideal. Just as often, though, we were referred to an individual district with an early language program, or were provided a list of all school districts, whether or not they had an early language program.
Due to time and funding limitations, it was not feasible to conduct mailings to every school district in a state, or to contact each school district by telephone, so in these cases, we relied on advice from our various contacts about which districts have or were likely to have foreign language programs. Phone calls were then made and targeted mailings were sent to the foreign language coordinator at the district level, including all those on the mailing list of the National Association of District Supervisors of Foreign Languages, to share with the appropriate schools. Sometimes we were given contact information for data processing divisions of the State Departments of Education through which we could request a printout, labels, or disk with names and addresses of elementary school foreign language teachers, or the names and addresses for elementary schools in general (not specific to the teaching of foreign languages).
When we received lists of foreign language teachers, we would send a questionnaire to each school, including the names of all of the language teachers at that school on the mailing label. When State Departments of Education could send listings of all elementary schools in a state, we would request a random sample of several hundred schools since it was not feasible to mail a questionnaire to every elementary school in each state. Targeted mailings were conducted from July 1996 to July 1997, as information about schools was received. Additionally, verification/correction forms were sent in the spring of 1998 to all of the schools who responded to the original questionnaire. Therefore, the directory includes program data that reflects the 1995-1996, 1996-1997, and 1997-1998 school years.
We also publicized the questionnaire so that it would be widely disseminated in a variety of ways other than by our targeted mailings to schools and school districts. A publicity mailing of the questionnaire and an article about the upcoming directory was sent to the National Association of District Supervisors of Foreign Languages for dissemination to their membership in a December 1995/January 1996 mailing. Hundreds of foreign language educators also received information about the directory via the FL-Teach Listserv in 1995-1996. We also developed a publicity mailing list using the 1995 and 1996 ACTFL Desk Books, which included all Executive Directors, Presidents, and Newsletter/Journal Editors of national, regional, and state professional foreign language organizations. (The names of organizations and newsletters to which the information was sent are in Appendix A). We sent a press release, cover letter, and a camera-ready copy of the questionnaire to these contacts in July 1996, asking the organizations to share the article and questionnaire with their members in their upcoming newsletters and mailings.
A similar mailing was sent to all state foreign language supervisors and other members of the National Council of State Supervisors of Foreign Languages, asking them to publicize the directory and encourage the elementary schools in their state to complete and return the questionnaires. In August 1996, another mailing was sent to state representatives of the National Network for Early Language Learning (NNELL), thanking them for their help in providing names and addresses of schools with early language learning programs and asking them to complete and return a directory questionnaire for their school.
The questionnaire and article were also reproduced and sent to approximately 700 of NNELL's members in the Fall 1996 issue of the journal Learning Languages. In addition, The ERIC Clearinghouse on Languages and Linguistics publicized the survey in their September 1996 issue of the ERIC/CLL News Bulletin, which was sent to a mailing list of more than 36,000 foreign language educators, including the entire memberships of the American Association of Teachers of German (AATG), American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP), American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), International Association for Learning Laboratories (IALL) Media Learning Center, Linguistic Society of America (LSA), and Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), Inc.
We also made the questionnaire accessible to educators and the public by developing a Web page, located on CAL's Web site at www.cal.org, that described the National K–12 Foreign Language Survey and provided information about and a link to the National Directory of Early Foreign Language Programs questionnaire that users could download, fill out, and return to us. We publicized the program directory with a Help Us Find Elementary Foreign Language Programs button that took users directly to the National K–12 Foreign Language Survey project page from CAL's main page.
In addition to CAL's publicity and targeted mailings, we found out that many other groups spread the word about the questionnaire by conducting their own targeted mailings, including it in their organization's newsletter, or sending out electronic versions of it on state listservs. This was done at the state and district level, as well as through the foreign language organizations that we contacted.
As questionnaires were received, we dated them and proofed them to make sure that information was complete and readable. The questionnaire information was then entered in a specially designed Filemaker Pro database that was later used to format the directory for publication. This process continued from the summer of 1996 to the winter of 1998.
Branaman, L.E., & Rhodes, N.C. (1998). A national survey of foreign language instruction in elementary and secondary schools. Final report submitted to the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education, grant #P017A50054.
Curtain, H., & Pesola, C.A. (1994). Languages and children: Making the match. Foreign language instruction for the early grades. White Plains, NY: Longman.
Goals 2000: Educate America Act (1994). PL 103-227.
National Foreign Language Standards Project (1996). Standards for foreign language learning: Preparing for the 21st century. Yonkers, NY: Author.
U.S. Congress. (1994). Improving America's schools act (P.L. 103-382, Sec. 7202), 1994. (www.ed.gov/legislation/ESEA/admin/toc.html)
|District of Columbia||5||North Dakota||4|
|Total No. of Schools that teach language||Grade Levels|
Note: Total numbers of schools teaching each language by grade level will not add up to the total number of schools that teach the language because some schools teach the language at more than one grade level while some schools did not designate grade levels.
|Periods Per Week|
Note: Most frequent number of class periods per week is in bold type for each grade level.
Note: Most frequent number of minutes per class period is in bold type for each grade level
|Grade Levels||Number of Schools That Have Specific Grade Levels||Number of Schools Offering Foreign Language at Each Grade||% of Schools Offering Foreign Language at Each Grade|
We sent a publicity mailing to all of the executive directors and newsletter editors at the following organizations, and with their help, were able to reach far greater numbers of schools than otherwise would have been possible: Advocates for Language Learning (ALL), American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL), American Association of Teachers of Arabic (AATA), American Association of Teachers of French (AATF), American Association of Teachers of German (AATG), American Association of Teachers of Italian (AATI), American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages (AATSEEL), American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP), American Association of Teachers of Turkic Languages (AATT), American Classical League (ACL), American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), Association of Departments of Foreign Languages (ADFL), Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (CSC), Chinese Language Teachers Association (CLTA), Classical Association of New England, Classical Association of the Atlantic States (CAAS), International Association for Learning Laboratories (IALL), Linguistic Society of America (LSA), Middle Atlantic Association of Modern Language Teachers (MSAMLA), Modern Language Association (MLA), National Association of District Supervisors of Foreign Languages (NADSFL), National Association of Self-Instructional Language Programs (NASILP), National Council of Secondary Teachers of Japanese (NCSTJ), National Council of State Supervisors of Foreign Languages (NCSSFL), National Network for Early Language Learning (NNELL), Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (NEC), Pacific Northwest Council for Languages (PNCFL), Southern Conference on Language Teaching (SCOLT), Southwest Conference on Language Teaching (SWCOLT), and Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).
In addition, we sent mailings to the following state organizations: Alabama Association of Foreign Language Teachers (AAFLT), Alaska Foreign Language Association (AFLA), Arizona Language Association (AZLA), Arkansas Foreign Language Teachers Association (AFLTA), California Language Teachers' Association (CLTA), Colorado Congress of Foreign Language Teachers (CCFLT), Connecticut Council of Language Teachers (COLT), Delaware Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (DeCTFL), Greater Washington Association of Teachers of Foreign Language (GWATFL), Florida Foreign Language Association (FFLA), Foreign Language Association of Georgia (FLAG), Hawaii Association of Language Teachers (HALT), Idaho Association of Teachers of Languages and Cultures (IATLC), Illinois Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ICTFL), Ilinois Foreign Language Teachers' Association (IFLTA), Indiana Foreign Language Teachers' Association (IFLTA), Iowa Foreign Language Association (IFLA), Kansas Foreign Language Association (KFLA), Kentucky Council on Teaching of Foreign Languages (KCTFL), Louisiana Foreign Language Teachers Association (LFLTA), Foreign Language Association of Maine (FLAME), Maryland Foreign Language Association (MFLA), Massachusetts Foreign Language Association (MaFLA), Michigan Foreign Language Association (MFLA), Minnesota Council on the Teaching of Languages and Culture (MCTLC), Mississippi Foreign Language Association (MFLA), Foreign Language Association of Missouri (FLAM), Montana Association of Language Teachers (MALT), Nebraska Foreign Language Association (NFLA), Foreign Language Association of Nevada (FLAN), Foreign Language Educators of New Jersey (FLENJ), New Mexico Organization of Language Educators (NMOLE), New York State Association of Foreign Language Teachers (NYSAFLT), Foreign Language Association of North Carolina (FLANC), Foreign Language Association of North Dakota (FLAND), Ohio Foreign Language Association (OFLA), Oklahoma Foreign Language Teachers Association (OFLTA), Confederation of Oregon Foreign Language Teachers (COFLT), Pennsylvania State Modern Language Association (PSMLA), South Carolina Foreign Language Teachers' Association (SCFLTA), South Dakota Foreign Language Association (SDFLA), Tennessee Foreign Language Teaching Association (TFLTA), Texas Foreign Language Association (TFLA), Vermont Foreign Language Association (VFLA), Foreign Language Association of Virginia (FLAVA), Washington Association of Foreign Language Teachers (WAFLT), West Virginia Foreign Language Teachers Association (WVFLTA), Wisconsin Association of Foreign Language Teachers (WAFLT), and Wyoming Foreign Language Teachers' Association (WFLTA).
We sent a publicity mailing to the following independent school organizations: Association of Military Colleges and Schools of the United States, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Christian Schools International, Council for American Private Education (CAPE), Elementary School Heads Association (ESHA), Friends Council on Education, National Association of Boarding Schools (NABS), National Association of Episcopal Schools, National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), National Association of State Administrators and Supervisors of Private Schools, National Catholic Educational Association, and Solomon Schecter Day School Association.