Even though it looks different this year, teachers and families in many international schools just finished celebrating spring holidays: Songkran, Spring Break, Easter, Holi. And in many places the weather is changing – signaling both an annual change of seasons and the beginning of the sprint to the finish of our school year. Growth is in the air: the first brave spring bulbs have begun to emerge and trees are cautiously opening buds. Around the world, elementary classrooms feel smaller than they were a few months ago, middle school students are starting to get a little stir-crazy, and EAL teachers are starting to administer second semester English proficiency tests.
In what has been a challenging school year, we can take this opportunity to celebrate how students have grown as they have become more multilingual, metacognitive and mature. As we recognize growth, we can also plan for the important end-of-year transitions to the next grade and ensure that asset-based support continues for students.
Spring also offers an opportunity for educators to reflect on professional learning and program growth. No doubt we have all learned a lot in managing the challenges – and opportunities – over the past year. Schools have adapted and, in many cases, transformed. Teachers have collaborated with colleagues across the hallway and across the globe. And, like every year, teachers will begin to analyze data and refine programs in order to capture lessons learned while planning for the next year. However, unlike any previous year, we have a different perspective looking back on the past 10 months.
Likewise, the global WIDA community continues to grow learn from our 500 member schools in more than 100 countries. We are expanding professional learning options and building new tools to connect teachers around the world. We have released an updated standards framework, created new online experiences like the Virtual Institute, and shared self-access resources that allow educators to design their own learning while continuing to discover what their multilingual learners can do.
So, when you consider student growth, also take some time to celebrate your own accomplishments and plan for your next steps in professional learning. And as you reflect, share with the WIDA community what you’ve learned and how your program has grown.
Jon Nordmeyer, WIDA International Programs Director