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ASD Awarded for Exemplary Elementary Foreign Language Programs

ACTFL Melba D. Woodruff Award for Exemplary Elementary Foreign Language Programs

The Anchorage School District’s World Languages and Immersion Programs Department was presented the Melba D. Woodruff Award for Exemplary Elementary Foreign Language Programs. The national award was presented to ASD on Nov. 20 at the 2020 American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Professional Awards Ceremony, which took place during the first day of the ACTFL 2020 Virtual conference. 

The award honors Melba D. Woodruff, a classroom teacher for over 40 years, and recognizes an exemplary K-6 world language program.

ASD began its Language Immersion Programs in 1989 with the inception of its Japanese immersion program, and since then, has added Spanish, Russian, German, Mandarin Chinese, French, and Yup’ik, one of Alaska’s 20 official Indigenous languages.

“The Anchorage School District is committed to offering students opportunities to promote academic growth and to allow them to be successful in their lives,” said ASD Superintendent Dr. Deena Bishop. “Today’s world requires citizens with multilingual skills to engage with global partners. Our District’s immersion programs allow students to stretch beyond their native language into biliteracy. We’re grateful for our staff, students, and parents for our dual language programs, as they each play a role in its success.”

ASD’s foreign language programs reflect the history and characteristics of its community. ASD is one of the nation’s largest districts but also one of the most diverse. Over 100 home languages are spoken by ASD students and their families. Over 4,000 students participate in ASD immersion programs.

ASD was selected for the award for its exemplary program history, characteristics, advocacy, curriculum and assessment, and staff.“Being recognized by ACTFL and the awards committee is a true testament to the 30 plus years of dedication and hard work by our teachers, administrators, and parents to be able to offer a plethora of K-12 language immersion programs in Anchorage,” said Director of World Language and Immersion Programs Brandon Locke. “All of our programs have been born out of community interest and grassroots efforts. They represent the values that our community places of multilingualism and multiculturalism.”

View the acceptance video here.