SSU Foreign Languages Department Participated Actively in the MaFLA Conference Again This Year!
By Nicole Sherf, department of foreign languages
The biggest state gathering of K-16 foreign language teachers is held at the end of October every year in the western MA town of Sturbridge at the Host Hotel and Conference Center. The Foreign Language Department faculty routinely presents at Annual Conference of the Massachusetts Foreign Language Association (MaFLA) and this year was no exception. It is a requirement that Dr. Nicole Sherf’s Methods students attend at least part of the three-day conference and they enjoy seeing the familiar names of their professors throughout the conference schedule! This year Drs. Aske, Blood, Rocca and Sherf presented sessions on a variety of topics. Dr. Reeds held a booth to promote the Master of Arts in Teaching Spanish and other language programming to attendees in the Exhibit Hall.
Also in the Exhibit Hall, manning the Advocacy Booth, were MaFLA Advocacy Interns and MAT in Spanish program graduates Jessica Clifford (Spanish teacher at Saugus High School) and Christina Berry (Spanish teacher at Arlington High School). They coordinated a variety of advocacy efforts including the taking of pictures of attendees with 2013 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year Kathleen Turner (French Teacher at Sharon High School) to be published in district newspapers to highlight conference attendance locally. They sought out co-signatures of attendees for a letter written by MaFLA Advocacy Chair Nicole Sherf and President Tiesa Graf to Commissioner of Education Mitchell Chester and the Board of Education to seek to strengthen foreign language programming in the state. 650 signatures of foreign language teachers of all languages and levels were attached to the letter sent after the conference. The Interns distributed tools, resources and advocacy ideas at the booth and at an Advocacy session.