Ask Fatima: WIDA International School Consortium transition
This month, Fatima answers questions about the transition of the WIDA International School Consortium to a new research-focused center, the Multilingual Learning Research Center, at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.
Why are you making this change?
WIDA established the International School Consortium in 2013 to create a community of independent and international schools using WIDA resources to serve multilingual learners. WIDA’s international team has built and nurtured this global network of schools and we now have the opportunity to reimagine how we serve international schools, shifting from a global assessment network to a global research network. This shift — which was inspired by the innovative work that began during the pandemic — will leverage the excitement and synergy that was developed in the WIDA Global Community of Practice by migrating the network to a new research-focused center. Being a part of the Multilingual Learning Research Center (MLRC) will allow this network to sustain support for international schools, provide many similar services and start new activities that come from being a research-practice partnership. Learn more about this transition.
What’s WIDA’s relationship to the MLRC?
Both WIDA and the MLRC are part of the University of Wisconsin–Madison and housed in the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER), the nation’s oldest and largest educational research center. While WIDA and the MLRC will operate as separate entities with different leaders, both will be committed to advancing outcomes for multilingual learners. WIDA provides language development resources to those who support the academic success of multilingual learners through a comprehensive, research-based system of language standards, assessments, professional learning and educator support. The new MLRC will focus on research and services in a wider range of classroom and school-level issues that impact the teaching and learning of multilingual students.
How can we sustain support for multilingual learners at our school?
The WIDA International School Consortium will provide existing member benefits through June of 2023. After June, membership in the WIDA International School Consortium will no longer be available. Starting on July 1, 2023, interested schools may join the new MLRC — which will include research resources, focused community dialogue and self-access tools for school improvement; as well as opportunities to learn more about how to use WIDA resources, such as the Virtual Institute. More details about membership will be available in the coming months. Subscribe to the WIDA International Newsletter to stay up to date on this transition and learn about future membership options.
What membership benefits do I have right now and how long will I have them?
The WIDA International School Consortium will provide existing member benefits through June of 2023. Current member benefits include the ability to purchase WIDA assessments and access to the WIDA International Secure Portal, which includes various recordings and resources.
Starting on July 1, international and independent schools will continue to be able to purchase WIDA MODEL from the WIDA Store and membership will not be required to make this purchase.
In addition, we will be communicating with members over the next few months about how they can leverage their existing WIDA membership to join the new MLRC’s global membership network.
Can I still join the WIDA International School Consortium?
Yes, schools may continue to join the WIDA International School Consortium through June 2023. This interim membership will last through June 2023 and include access to existing member benefits including the ability to purchase WIDA MODEL. If you are interested in joining during this interim phase, please fill out the WIDA International membership application.
When will I learn more about the new MLRC?
More details about the MLRC, including membership information, will be available in the coming months. Subscribe to the WIDA International Newsletter to stay up to date on this transition and learn about future membership options. Also, this Ask Fatima column will continue to answer questions about the transition next month, so stay tuned!