CARLA’s Immersion Education Projects Celebrate Continued Funding Support

The ACIE Newsletter, November 2010, Vol. 14, No. 1

By Tara Williams Fortune, Immersion Projects Coordinator, CARLA, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

Clang the cymbals! Jump for joy! Raise a ruckus! It’s time to celebrate!
In August the U.S. Department of Education awarded the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) continued funding as one of fifteen Language Resource Centers for another four years. As a part of CARLA’s larger mission to improve U.S. capacity for foreign language learning, the Immersion Projects will renew the commitment to articulating the research-to-practice connection. Plans include expanding current successful initiatives to better meet the growing numbers of immersion educators in the U.S. in the following ways:

  • The member-supported organization, American Council on Immersion Education (ACIE), will build linkages with ACTFL’s newly-established Special Interest Group on Dual Language/Immersion education to promote networking and professional development opportunities;

  • The practitioner-focused ACIE Newsletter publication will transition to online access and publish two times a year, each November and April;

  • Immersion-specific summer institutes will continue to address the needs of new-to-immersion teachers of alphabetic and character-based languages and include a new 3-day immersion administrator session designed and co-facilitated by a veteran school leader;

  • The 4th International Conference on Immersion Education will be hosted by CARLA in the fall of 2012, and again two years later (in 2014), under the leadership of Utah’s World Language Supervisor Gregg Roberts;

  • Web-based resources will be updated and re-organized for easier access and a new online immersion career center will be developed;

  • Video vignettes from real immersion classrooms will be taped, edited and made available online to complement existing resources and best practice ideas.

    CARLA’s focus on language immersion education as a unique form of second language education began in 1993 with funding for a national survey of foreign language immersion education. Since this first research project and publication (Fortune & Jorstad, 1996), the Immersion Project and others at the University of Minnesota have sustained a strong commitment to research dissemination and information exchange in the field of immersion education by:

  • publishing one edited volume on immersion research, five CARLA working papers, 14 articles and 40 issues of the ACIE Newsletter;

  • presenting 66 papers or workshops at national and international conferences;

  • hosting three international immersion education conferences with steady growth in

  • participation (230 participants in 1995, 353 in 2004, and 636 in 2008);

  • providing 32 summer institute opportunities for 1150 immersion educators;
    offering 82 on-site professional development workshops for dual language/immersion teachers, principals and district leaders in 14 states and Washington, D.C.;

  • registering 362 Language Immersion in the Americas (LIM-A) listserv subscribers and posting 974 messages;

  • receiving 179,286 visits to the Immersion Projects website with 213,884 page views in the past year alone.*

    CARLA’s Immersion Project looks forward to making the most of this funding so that immersion parents, teachers, program coordinators and other school and district leaders enjoy research-informed support for the challenging work they do day-in and day-out. Thank you for past support and let us know how we can continue to make a positive difference in your professional life.

    * Special thanks to Liz Hellebuyck, Marlene Johnshoy, Louis Janus and Karin Larson for providing these data.
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