Subject: ACE Courses – Report
From: ACE Ad-Hoc Committee (I. Marchegiani, M. Turan, S. Jourdain, N. Rzhevsky)
Date:  February 13, 2011 

Districts and Schools Currently Collaborating with Stony Brook:

Half Hollow Hills Central School District
                        Half Hollow Hills High School East
Half Hollow Hills High School West

Smithtown Central School District
                        Smithtown High School West
                        Smithtown High School East

Three Village Central School District
                        Ward Melville High School

The districts and the schools were selected from several interested in a partnership with Stony Brook. These districts were chosen due to their high standards, their commitment to language teaching, the competency of their LOTE chairs, and the caliber of their classroom teachers. The ACE directors have been involved in observing student teachers in these districts and therefore have seen the classes on a first-hand basis.

Students involved:

Half Hollow Hills:                                                      Italian: 19
Smithtown :                French: 26                 Italian: 90
Three Village:            French: 28                 Italian: projected for 2011-2012

Courses:

FRENCH:
French 4           equivalent of            FRN 112
French 5           equivalent of            FRN 211
French D          equivalent of            FRN 211
French AP        equivalent of            FRN 212

ITALIAN:
Italian 4             equivalent of           ITL 211
College Italian   equivalent of          ITL 212

Requirements:

Each school was required to present a detailed syllabus of each course, including text names, evaluation techniques, and teaching strategies. The proposed instructors were required to present recent resumes including their involvement in professional organizations.

An ad hoc committee composed of SBU faculty was created to evaluate the courses and proposed instructors for each course. The submitted materials were evaluated by the committee and compared to syllabi and practices of the courses that are taught on campus. A major concern was that the methodology used to teach the high school classes mirror that of SBU.  At SBU our methods are aligned with the ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) guidelines and use the communicative method of teaching. The committee held to this criterion in evaluating the programs and in selecting those to join ACE.

Brief description of ACTFL guidelines:

  • Activities are organized according to the three major modes: Presentational, Interpretive, Interpersonal
  • Lesson plans are aligned with ACTFL Standards and the NYS Standards:  Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, Communities
  • Technology is used appropriately
  • Collaborative activities are present in each lesson
  • Culture is integrated whenever possible

Based upon evaluative reports from the ACE directors, programs will be reaccepted or rejected for the following academic year. If a program does not meet the required criteria, or if the instructor needs to be changed, the program director will be informed and the necessary changes will be suggested. Programs that do not meet SBU criteria will not be granted the right to assign credits.

Meeting(s):

Initial meetings with the Department Chairs in each district established the proposed courses and expectations from SBU.

It was determined that at least one meeting per semester would take place between the teachers and chairs in the districts and the ACE directors at Stony Brook in order to eliminate any problems or difficulties.

December 7, 2010 – 1st Meeting Summary

  • The SBU faculty explained in detail the methodology that was expected in the classes: the development of skills in the four major areas of communication (speaking, listening, reading, writing) with the integration of cultural components in lessons in accordance with the ACTFL standards.
  • The high school faculty was very interested in strengthening their ties with the university on several levels. Ways in which this might be accomplished were discussed. In light of strong interest, it was decided that the ACE teachers would be invited to come to campus in order to speak with the students in the Student Teaching Seminars and to refresh their skills.
  • The high school faculty also expressed an interest in participating in cultural events held at SBU both alone and with their students.
  • Since the high school faculty will be advocates for the methodology used at SBU it was agreed that they would collaborate and sponsor our student teachers whenever possible. This would be very helpful in our goal of creating a group of Master Teachers who would be used as effective SBU Cooperating Teachers.
  • The High School students enrolled in ACE courses expressed a strong interest in visiting the campus. Several interesting possibilities were discussed and are currently under consideration.

Class observation

The Committee determined that the SBU ACE directors would observe the classes in each high school at least once per semester.

Teachers were advised individually of the expected scope and content of the courses, as well as to of the methodology that was to be followed and ACTFL guidelines.

Expected Outcomes

The ACE courses have been organized with various goals in mind:

  • Students will become more familiar with the campus and therefore more likely to consider SBU as a university
  • The students will be able to enroll in upper level language classes upon entering college thereby helping maintain SBU enrollment
  • Exposure to the methods used at SBU will help the high schools to maintain teaching standards in line with the national guidelines
  • The introduction of college-level courses in the high school will encourage a higher degree of performance from students and foster higher level thinking skills on the high school level
  • Exposure to college-level courses will encourage students to continue their study of LOTE beyond the requirements in an effort to become better global citizens

Future Development

The success of this new program is already evidenced by the high enrollments from each school. In addition, a number of high schools in both Nassau and Suffolk counties have contacted ELLC, SBU, and ACE seeking to add our program to their curriculum offerings. Private conversations with the ACE directors at LOTE conferences and workshops have revealed the strong interest of teachers involved in foreign language study. Requests have also been made to add German and Latin to our offerings (these requests are also from districts who have piloted the program this year).

We believe that with the right resources, and with the organization (enrolment system online, committee evaluation of courses and teachers, specified course equivalents, etc.) now in place, the number of students in ACE courses can increase and benefit both education on Long Island and at the university itself.