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Fall 2018 Middle School Multi-Language Sampler Briefing

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Fall 2018 Middle School Multi-Langauge Sampler Briefing
for
Counselors, Administrators and Site Facilitators

Notice to students and parents: This information is intended for distribution through districts and may contain details that do not apply to your local district’s program.  If you are interested in enrolling in courses with Montana Digital Academy, your first contact should be with the counseling department or administration of your local public school to discuss what is available locally.

Important note for districts:  We realize that this has been a rather confusing year with all of the budget uncertainty.  We want to convey to all of the schools and students we serve is that in spite of the budget challenges we have been able to efficiently manage MTDA resources so that we are in a good position to meet the needs of your students this fall.  For MLS, this means that we will attempt to offer as many sections of particular language courses in which we have teachers for.  We continue to ask you to assist us in making the best use of MTDA resources by thoughtfully and deliberately enrolling students that you feel will be successful in online classes.

Montana Digital Academy announces the continuation of our program designed to help middle school students begin to experience world languages and online learning. Middle school is a time of exploration and discovery for students, and as they get closer to entering high school, they will face a variety of challenges and opportunities designed to prepare them for their future choices. MTDA offers the Multi-Language Sampler (MLS) as just such an opportunity for 6th, 7th, and 8th-grade students to explore up to five different languages: Spanish, French, German, and Mandarin Chinese before beginning high school.

2018-2019 Program Changes

As noted above, MTDA plans to offer as much service to students and schools as our resources and teacher availability allow.  While this doesn’t mean we can offer unlimited enrollments in MLS, we are working to open up as many sections and slots as possible to serve demand.

Specific changes from the 2018-2019 school year include:

  • As noted, we will offer as many slots/sections as we have resources and teacher availability.  We will start with 200 slots per session broken up among the various language programs, and add as we have teacher resources available.  Enrollments remain first come, first served. We can’t reserve spots or under any circumstances.
  • MLS Latin and Stepping Stones to MLS will return this fall.  However, MLS Latin will be limited to one section in the first session only.
  • As in the past, we ask that schools apply our high school-level enrollment decision-making process to their middle school enrollments. That means that they should decide the merits of students individually in the program as opposed to whole classes.  Tools are available to administrators and counselors to help explain the rigor and requirements of the programs, including our online learning readiness matrix that is an important component to planning programming.  Those tools are available here: LINK.
  • We ask that programs have functioning equipment and appropriate Internet access resources on day one of the session. We have refreshed our technology minimum requirements for the 2018-2019 program year and no longer require a webcam. However, the headphone and microphone requirements remain.  Please refer to our technical requirements page here: LINK.
  • We will monitor student performance in week 1 & 2 of the program and apply our long-standing monitoring and slow-start/non-start protocols from the high school program to the MLS program. Students that do not log in or make adequate progress will be offered assistance and warnings and then dropped at the end of week 2 if they are not making progress. Students that develop a history of poor performance may be limited from future access to the program.
  • We ask schools not to enroll students in specific language workshops that they have previously taken and passed. The content is not new and enrollments should be reserved for students that are new to our available content.
  • We ask that schools actively monitor their student enrollments.  For example, it is school’s responsibility to request drops for students that are no longer enrolled in their school.

Registration

  • Registration for both sessions of the Fall workshops opens on August 15, 2018, at 8am.
  • Please review our student registration page for information on data collection and student registration in the site facilitator handbook.  That resource is located here: LINK.
  • Please note that the MLS program has limited spaces available. Course spots are first come, first served. We have no means of holding enrollments or otherwise reserving spaces, so, the actual act of enrollment in our systems is the only method to reserve a spot.

Program Information

  • Our 2018-2019 Academic Calendar is located here: LINK.  MLS course start and end days are firm and may or may not line up with your grading periods or quarters/trimesters/semesters.
  • Technical requirements for Montana Digital Academy courses are located HERE.  A reminder that technical requirements need to be in place on day one of the session.

Workshop Availability

This will be updated as more sections are available!

Fall Session 1 Fall Session 2 Spring Session 1 Spring Session 2
Spanish (3 sections) Spanish (3 sections) Spanish TBD Spanish TBD
French (2 sections) French (2 sections) French TBD French TBD
German (2 sections) German (2 sections) German TBD German TBD
Latin (1 section) Mandarin Chinese (1 section) Latin TBD Mandarin Chinese TBD
 Stepping Stones to MLS (1 section) Stepping Stones to MLS (1 section) Stepping Stones to MLS TBD Stepping Stones to MLS TBD

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the middle school Multi Language Sampler program?

MLS is scheduled for four 7-week sessions during which students will have the opportunity to have a meaningful experience in the language and culture in one of the five different world languages MTDA offers. In each 7-week session, a variety of languages will be offered to provide the opportunity for students to try one, two, three, four or five languages during their middle school years.

Please note: this is NOT designed as a comprehensive study in any given language. Only seven weeks of instruction is available in any given language. Please note that once a student has completed a language workshop successfully, they should not be enrolled in the same language again.

Why offer the MLS program?

The purpose of a multi-language exploratory language program is to allow students to experience several languages before deciding which language to study in a later course when they enter high school. The MLS program is designed to create a series of meaningful language-learning opportunities for middle school students that will lead to a better and more informed decision about their high school experience. With this goal in mind, middle school students should “taste” several or all of the MLS language flavors before attempting a regular high school online world language course.

What will students experience in the MLS program?

Middle school students will sample the flavor of the MTDA world language curriculum in their 7-week experience. The MLS program uses adventures to create engaging and productive lessons in grammar and vocabulary. Listening comprehension, oral production, reading, writing, and cultural awareness are all emphasized by standards formulated by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. The unique MLS program includes engaging, age-appropriate content, games, and culturally relevant activities, helping students to enjoy their early language experience.

What is “Stepping Stones to MLS?”

Exploring Languages with MTDA/Stepping Stones to MLS is an introductory class we offer to assist students that may be challenged by the independence or technical skill requirements of the online environment. The seven-week workshop will introduce students to online learning, assignment completion, and technological processes of being an online student.

Questions?

If you have any questions, PLEASE don’t hesitate to contact the helpdesk, support@montanadigitalacademy.org, or, contact our office via phone, 406-203-1812.  We want to help you implement this in your school!

Montana Digital Academy
Phyllis J. Washington College of Education
The University of Montana
32 Campus Drive – Room 315
Missoula, Montana 59812
Phone: 406-203-1812
Fax: 406-203-1815

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