11499 131st Street North, Largo, Florida 33774May 28, 2013American Council on the Teachng of Foreign Languages1001 North Fairfax Street, Suite 200Alexandria, VA 22314Dear ACTFL Board members:As the Head of Country Day World School in Largo, Florida, it is my privilege to write this letter tonominate Fran Siracusa for consideration for the ACTFL Award for Excellence in Foreign LanguageInstruction Using Technology with IALLT (K-12). Fran is the World Languages DepartmentChairperson, a Spanish teacher, and the Co-Director of International Programs. She joined us three yearsago, and has brought forth a plethora of innovation and initiative to our World School academicprogram.Here at Country Day World School, the phrase "capturing the best of both worlds" makes multiplereferences, including: both Spanish and Chinese World languages; traditional learning and virtuallearning designs; and class group experience and ability-based small group activities. The Country DayWorld Language Spanish I, Spanish II and Chinese courses are distinctive in setup, using a blendedlearning approach that function as a model in the future of effective education. As one of few schools inFlorida using Rosetta Stone in K-8 education, Country Day utilizes the world-renowned softwarethrough our web-hosted classroom sites. Through personalized learning, students quickly acquire newlanguage skills through genuine immersion instruction with fully interactive, multimedia technologymethods. The program combines the voices of native speakers, written text, and vivid real-life images toteach new words and grammar inductively through a process of creative discovery.As amazing as the Rosetta Stone program is, it is our faculty that bring the lessons to life with theirpassion, expertise, and collaboration with students. Our competitive world language study programindeed has something to offer every student and encompasses the national World Language standardsknown as The Five Cs: Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities, as wellas the Florida Sunshine State Standards. Students are challenged according to their ability in differinglevels of instruction and learn to apply the four basic linguistic skills of speaking, reading, listening, andwriting. Within the goals of “communication” in particular, our students exceed local and nationalstandards in the realms of the interpersonal, interpretive and presentational modes.Not only does Fran develop global awareness and oral and written communication skills within ourstudents, but she is instrumental in forming authentic interactions between our students and peers acrossthe globe. Whether on a digital Skype or Nearpod lesson with peer Spanish classes, or studyingalongside students in Spain or Costa Rica, Fran provides students with genuine interactions from whichto glean target language development.
Fran is part of our talented and scholarly faculty who are caring individuals dedicated to their studentsintellectual growth as well as their emotional and social development. Keenly attuned to the needs ofeach child, she is a teacher entrenched in Montessori philosophy; she is an observer that strives toeducate and challenge the whole child as well as a facilitator who encourages children to explore andfind their own solutions in learning.We find Fran’s work ethic and lesson planning to be fabulous, and we truly enjoy seeing our studentsexperience the top-notch World Languages program under her direction. We have always admired herwork and the way she embraces opportunities to use new technology with students. The students arelucky to have such an innovative, caring and creative teacher as Fran!Please let me know if you need additional information.Sincerely,Ted GilletteHead of School