WIDA reflects on 2020: A year like no other
Dear educators of multilingual children and youth,
As we look to the conclusion of 2020, a year that has offered us difficulties few could have imagined a year ago, I want to commend you — especially, for the work you do. The term “front lines” has been used a lot this year to describe true heroes in the medical profession, at the grocery stores and pharmacies. I think that you, as an educator, deserve no less praise for the work you have done above and beyond the usual call. Those of us at WIDA are working to support you as best we can. We have endeavored, as all of you have, to meet the challenges of this pandemic year.
The highest priority for WIDA this year was supporting you through this pandemic. A few examples include our Distance Teaching and Learning webpage featuring learning opportunities from WIDA Professional Learning like our micro-offerings that help teachers navigate the unique challenges of teaching during the pandemic, and a list of resources that can aide educators in providing remote instruction to multilingual learners. The WIDA Remote Screener launched as a temporary solution in response to the challenges of COVID-19. Finally, two new Facebook groups were established for educators to connect and share resources: the WIDA Educator Exchange and Supporting Success for Multilingual Learners with Disabilities.
While all of these are important contributions, I believe the WIDA eSummit was a special success. This free virtual learning opportunity reached more educators than our annual face-to-face conference — something I am very proud to highlight.
Now, let us finish with a few things you should look for in the coming year. The long awaited WIDA English Language Development Standards, 2020 Edition will be available by the end of 2020; so look for opportunities in 2021 to learn about this resource, which is literally at the heart of WIDA. We are also launching WIDA Screener for Kindergarten to the domestic Consortium on March 30, 2021. Our commitment to our Social Justice value at WIDA will continue bearing fruit both internally, as we examine our work, and externally, as you see new resources and professional learning opportunities released. The partnership with the National Science Teaching Association will bring a robust set of supports over the next two years, as will WIDA Español, WIDA Early Years and the WIDA International School Consortium. Check our website regularly to learn about new resources and learning opportunities as they roll out. Know that we will continue to plan our new resources with your needs in mind.
Here’s wishing you, your students and all of your families a safe and joyful holiday season and a brighter 2021. I look forward to the day when we can again meet in person and learn from each other!
WIDA Founder and Director