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Community-Based Heritage Language Schools Conference

2021 Community-Based Heritage Language Schools Conference Promoting Collaboration among Educators, Families, and Researchers

This conference is for program directors and administrators of community-based heritage language schools; members of the language communities involved in these schools; and directors and leaders in public, private, and charter schools who are interested in working with community-based heritage language schools.

2021 Online conference

Friday, October 8, 2020 - 12:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. EDT
Saturday, October 9, 2020 - 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EDT

Please find links to the presentation slides and the presentation recordings in the 2021 Schedule section.

This conference aims to:

  1. Build partnerships among and across community-based heritage language schools and determine arenas for future action
  2. Help schools create, strengthen, and build their school structures and activities
  3. Make clear the importance of community-based heritage language schools in the United States and in the lives of language communities in this country
  4. Develop information about community-based heritage language schools through a national survey of schools
  5. Share and make available resources that will be helpful to schools

Please click here for all session slides and resources.

Friday, October 8

(Eastern Time)

12:00 to 12:30 p.m. - Participant Check-in

12:30 to 1:00 p.m. – Conference Opening

1:00 to 2:30 p.m. - Language-Focused Organizations and Initiatives in the U.S.

These leaders are promoting and helping to sustain and grow language education initiatives in the United States.


2:30 to 2:45 p.m. - Networking Break

  • Time to take a break, walk around OR
  • Stay in the main room and talk with others there

2:45 to 4:15 p.m. - Workshop: Beyond the Bake Sale: A Recipe for Sustainable Outreach and Funding

Do you feel like you are living from fundraising event to fundraising event without a plan? Do you wonder where you should even start building a plan for sustainable funding for your organization? There's no exact recipe for fundraising, but with the right ingredients, you can build sustainable funding for your organization! In this session, we'll talk about how you can analyze your current fundraising efforts, how to create a plan to strategically maximize your efforts, and how to engage your board members and bring them on board with the plan!


  • Karen Price, Director, Development and Strategic Partnerships, Eno Center for Transportation; Founder/CEO, The Modern Fundraiser

4:15 to 4:30 p.m. - Networking Break

4:30 to 6:00 p.m. - Workshop: Working with Parents and Engaging Students

Leaders in heritage language schools have spent years connecting with their communities to motivate parents and engage their children in learning the language and connecting with their native culture. “I convince one parent at a time how important it is to teach our language and culture to the next generation and make it a part of their American identity,” says Ashok Ojha, who has directed STARTALK Hindi Programs since 2010. Workshop speakers will present their experiences in Bulgarian, Dari and Pashto, Hindi, Japanese, and Tamil schools.


  • Marta McCabe, Founder and Director, Czech and Slovak School of North Carolina


  • Angela Hasheva, Founder and President, The Association of Bulgarian Schools in America; Founder and Director, The Bulgarian School of Seattle
  • Ashok Ojha, President, Yuva Hindi Sansthan, Edison, New Jersey
  • Farid Saydee, Adjunct Professor, School of Curriculum and Teaching, Kean University (Dari and Pashto)
  • Sornam Sankar, Co-Founder and Acadmic Head, Ellicott Tamil School, Maryland
  • Bob Uriu, Board of Tustees, Orange Coast Gakuen Japanese Language School

6:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Time to stay online and talk, if desired.

7:30 p.m.

Meet and Greet dinner for participants present in the DC Area

Saturday, October 9

(Eastern Time)

9:30 to 9:45 a.m. - Participant Check-in

9:45-10:05 a.m. – Meet Our International Partners

These leaders are developing and sustaining community-based heritage language education in their countries.


10:05 to 11:30 a.m. - Workshop: Leveraging Technology for Effective Teaching and Leading in Community-Based Heritage Language Schools

Presenters share strategies to build interpersonal communication in hybrid (online and on site) mixed (heritage and non-heritage speakers) classes through STEAM-based (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) lessons.


  • Maria Carreira, Professor Emerita of Spanish, California State University, Long Beach
  • Agnès Ndiaye Tounkara, Program Officer, French Heritage Language Program, FACE (French American Cultural Exchange) Foundation
  • Bhavya Singh, Director, Bhasha Sanskriti, California (Hindi); Hindi Facilitator, California Language Teachers Association; Instructional Technology Specialist, Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, New York University (STARTALK - Arabic, Hindi, Urdu)
  • Tommy Lu, American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) Working Group member; advisor to the Washington Metropolitan Association of Chinese Schools (WMACS)

11:30 to 11:45 a.m. - Networking Break

11:45 to 1:15 p.m. - Workshop: Using Inquiry-based, Problem-based, and Project-based Learning with Diverse Learners

YPAR, or youth participatory action research, is an inquiry-based approach to teaching and learning that centers on youth knowledge in order to address real-life societal issues. This workshop will explore the power and potential of designing learning environments around inquiry-based, problem-posing, and project-based approaches with bi/multilingual learners. We will familiarize ourselves with the foundation of these approaches and draw clear links between their fundamental goals and the goals of creating rich multilingual and multiliteracies environments with heritage/bilingual learners.


  • Maria Carreira, Professor Emerita of Spanish, California State University, Long Beach
  • J. Eik Diggs, M. Ed., PhD student, Department of Teaching Learning and Sociocultural Studies, University of Arizona

1:15 to 2:00 p.m. - Lunch

  • Time to take a break, walk around OR
  • Stay in the main room and talk with others there OR
  • Join a language group OR
  • Join one of these groups to discuss a specific topic:
    --Administrators: How to manage a school
    --Administrators: How to hold events
    --Teachers: How to continue teaching online
    --Teachers: How to engage students

2:00 to 3:30 p.m. - Workshop: Focusing Your Program on Developing Learners' Language Proficiency

All learners want to use their language for real purposes: exploring interesting content in written, spoken, or media messages; exchanging information, ideas, and opinions; and creating messages to inform, persuade, or narrate. Build on your understanding of proficiency to identify what learners need to develop to increase what they can do with and through the language. Apply the design of learning progressions: specific tasks to guide learners to higher levels of proficiency. Focus your program on developing confident and competent language users.


  • Paul Sandrock, Senior Advisor for Language Learning Initiatives, ACTFL

3:30 to 3:45 p.m. - Networking Break

3:45 to 5:15 p.m. - Workshop: Maximizing Language Learner Opportunities with Seals of Biliteracy

Earning a State or Global Seal of Biliteracy is a great way to excite your students about learning a language. Parents see the award's value as a way to distinguish their students on college and scholarship applications. Testing for a Seal of Biliteracy provides your program with evaluative feedback and can demonstrate the efficacy of your program to all stakeholders. This workshop's presenters will share how they are using Seal of Biliteracy programs to grow retention and the language proficiency of their students. We will discuss the various aspects of implementation, including program adoption, promotion, testing, local school coordination, and celebrations.


  • Linda Egnatz, Executive Director, Global Seal of Biliteracy
  • Patrick Wallace, Program Specialist for World Languages and Global Workforce Initiatives with the Georgia Department of Education
  • Angela Hasheva, Association of Bulgarian Schools in America (ABSA), Washington
  • Anbarasan Vincent (Anbu), Counselor for High School Credit and Seal of Biliteracy, Alpharetta Tamil School, Georgia

5:20-6:00 p.m. – Conference Closing

6:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Time to stay online and talk, if desired. Share ideas for the upcoming year.

7:30 p.m.

Dinner gathering for participants present in the DC Area

2018 Keynote Address

Engaging Students in Community-Based Schools


Dr. Maria Carreira, Professor of Spanish at California State University, Long Beach and the Co-director of the National Heritage Language Resource Center at UCLA.

Conference Planning Team

Joy Kreeft Peyton, Conference Chair, Senior Fellow, Center for Applied Linguistics

Ana Lucia Lico, Co-Founder and Board Member, Brazilian Association for Culture and Education (ABRACE)

Marta McCabe, Founder and President, Czech and Slovak School of North Carolina

Danielle Gervais Sodani, Director, Institute of Innovation in Education, American University, School of Education

Mark Forsberg, Program Coordinator, Community-Based Heritage Language Schools Conference