Something to Celebrate
Many of us started this year with clever references to 20/20 vision, looking ahead to the new year. Little did we know how clearly we’d see that hindsight is indeed 20/20. Looking back, we’ve learned so much. It feels like we’ve grown more than a year wiser (and aged more) than the usual twelve months. As we approach the winter holidays, and a well-deserved vacation, we have a lot to celebrate. We have survived and in some cases even thrived over the course of an unusual year. Many families have rediscovered how to reimagine home as both office and classroom. And around the world, students and teachers have returned to school with a newfound appreciation for the value of being together and sharing a learning community.
One holiday on the horizon is the Winter Solstice. The name derives from the Latin sōlstitium, literally translating to “the standing still of the sun.” This annual astronomical phenomenon brings both the longest noontime shadows of the year, convenient for home science projects, and the longest night of the year, perfect for catching up on sleep. It’s also traditionally a time for reflection and celebration. For millenia, humans have gathered around fires during the long night and have expressed gratitude at sunrise as the days begin to get longer. In many ways, 2020 has felt like one long winter night, so making it through to the end of the year is surely worth celebrating.
At WIDA, we are looking ahead to 2021 with renewed hope and excitement. We are excited for schools to begin using the newest edition of the WIDA English Language Development Standards Framework, 2020 Edition, being released this month. These powerful tools provide teachers with a clarified linguistic lens through which to view the language embedded in their curriculum. We are also looking forward to the launch of the Virtual Institute in January, an innovative online learning course for international educators built around the popular new tool WIDA All Year Long. In the Institute, participants can join a teacher named Mr. Vega and his student Sophia to learn how WIDA assessments and standards work together as a system to promote equity and collaboration. This immersive, self-paced learning experience will help teachers around the world use WIDA resources to build on what their multilingual learners can do.
As the year draws to a close, we wish you peaceful and joyful holidays. Rest up, then join us as the days start to get longer, and brighter.
Jon Nordmeyer, WIDA International Programs Director
*Dutch: see you soon