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11499 131st Street North, Largo, Florida 33774
May 26, 2014
American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages
1001 Nor...
program by bringing native speakers and authentic cultural resources to our school community. They
aimed so high that they...
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Recommendation tg f_siracusa_052814


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Ted Gillette - letter of recommendation

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Recommendation tg f_siracusa_052814

  1. 1. 11499 131st Street North, Largo, Florida 33774 May 26, 2014 American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages 1001 North Fairfax Street, Suite 200 Alexandria, VA 22314 Dear ACTFL Board members: As the Head of Country Day World School in Largo, Florida, it is my privilege to write this letter to again nominate Fran Siracusa for consideration for the ACTFL Award for Excellence in Foreign Language Instruction Using Technology with IALLT (K-12). Mrs. Siracusa is the World Languages Department Chairperson, a Spanish teacher, and the Co-Director of International Programs. She joined us four years ago, and has brought forth a plethora of innovation and initiative to our World School academic program. Here at Country Day World School, the phrase "capturing the best of both worlds" makes multiple references, including: both Spanish and Chinese world languages; traditional learning and virtual learning designs; and class group experience and ability-based small group activities. The Country Day World Language Spanish I, Spanish II and Chinese courses are distinctive in setup, using a blended learning approach that function as a model in the future of effective education. Under Mrs. Siracusa’s direction, Country Day utilizes a magnificent marrying of technology and language-learning tools: the Learning Management System (LMS) and community of Schoology; a 1:1 iPad program in Middle School; Breaking the Spanish Barrier in iBook form on the iPad; the consistent use of the Duolingo iPad application; and a vast “suite” of creativity and productivity apps. Through personalized learning and project-based learning, students quickly acquire new language skills. As amazing as the technology motivates students, it is our faculty that bring the lessons to life with their passion, expertise, and collaboration with students. Our competitive foreign language study program indeed has something to offer every student and encompasses the national world language standards known as The Five Cs: Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities, as well as the 2011 World Languages Next Generation Sunshine State Standards. Students are challenged according to their ability in differing levels of instruction and learn to apply the four basic linguistic skills of speaking, reading, listening, and writing. Within the goals of “communication” in particular, our students exceed local and national standards in the realms of the interpersonal, interpretive and presentational modes. Not only does Mrs. Siracusa develop global awareness and oral and written communication skills within our students, but she is instrumental in forming authentic interactions between our students and peers across the globe. Whether on a digital “Mystery-Skype” activity or Nearpod lesson with peer Spanish classes, or studying alongside students in Spain or Costa Rica both virtually and in person, she provides students with genuine interactions from which to glean target language development. Notably, Mrs. Siracusa and Director of Education Jennifer Williams sought to extensively expand our Chinese
  2. 2. program by bringing native speakers and authentic cultural resources to our school community. They aimed so high that they were successfully granted the opportunity to host a Chinese Guest Teacher for the 2014-2015 school year sponsored by the College Board and Hanban in China! Furthermore, Mrs. Siracusa and Mrs. Williams exceeded expectations when they organized and facilitated a one-month stay/teacher internship of a University of Munich, Germany student and her sibling as a one-month exchange student in our 8th grade class. Mrs. Siracusa facilitated the intern’s observation process and co- taught four weeks of German language and culture classes alongside the intern during the month of April. Mrs. Siracusa is part of our talented and scholarly faculty who are caring individuals dedicated to their students' intellectual growth as well as their emotional and social development. Keenly attuned to the needs of each child, she is a teacher entrenched in Montessori philosophy; she is an observer that strives to educate and challenge the whole child as well as a facilitator who encourages children to explore and find their own solutions in learning. We find Mrs. Siracusa’s work ethic and lesson planning to be extraordinary, and we truly enjoy seeing our students experience the top-notch World Languages program under her direction. We have always admired her work and the way she embraces opportunities to use new technology with students. The students are lucky to have such an innovative, caring and creative teacher as Mrs. Siracusa! As expressed before, I would highly recommend her as a candidate for this prestigious award. If you need any further information, feel free to contact me at (727) 596-1902 or by email at Sincerely, Ted Gillette Head of School