Photo courtesy of Saigon South International School
Going Forward to School
With the arrival of August, one cannot escape the inevitable excitement and anxiety that accompany the start of a new school year. This year is no different. Yet it feels different as we continue to witness transformation all around us. While it has not quite been the post-pandemic summer that many of us had hoped for, this species-wide disruption continues to beckon us to look ahead and to re-think what might come. We have all been reminded again of our worldwide interdependence and common humanity. As parents and educators, we are making collective meaning of the world around us. With anticipation and possibility, as the new school year starts, we are all going forward to school, rather than back to school.
We don’t yet know what this school year will be like, but in that unknown is great potential for transformation. Author Martha Beck described the process of accepting the possibility in uncertainty, allowing us to find “inexpressible liberation in accepting the world as it is: transient, fluid, uncontrollable, filled not only with danger but also with breathtaking beauty, adventure, and delight.” What is certain is that we will experience the coming school year together; and we will need our colleagues, our friends, and our families to support us and help us make meaning of what is to come.
We are grateful for the deep commitment to equity and improvement shared by educators across the WIDA network. In the past year, hundreds of educators have participated in the WIDA Virtual Institute and will begin the school year dedicated to building on the assets of all students. Many schools are excited about using the powerful WIDA English Language Development Standards Framework, 2020 Edition to support teachers in better serving multilingual learners. And this year, we are harnessing the collective intelligence of the global WIDA network by launching a new WIDA Global Community of Practice. Building on teachers’ expertise, passion and curiosity, this new opportunity will allow us to inquire into shared problems of practice together and build better school-wide systems for multilingual learners. We hope WIDA will be part of your journey as you and your students go forward to school.
Jon Nordmeyer, WIDA International Programs director
*Amharic: “with gratitude”