Happy Fall, MALT Members! As I was sitting down to write this post, I realized that I have not produced any updates since April, just after the end of our Spring Conference. These last 5 months have passed so quickly that I began to wonder how I spent my time. But then I really began to think about everything that has happened since April - from my oldest son’s wedding, to Costa Rica with students, to renovating a house, to spending time with grandkids, and then boating and camping. And then school started. I guess I am starting to see why everything is such a blur!
This October also marks an end to a journey for me as your MALT President. In October, Vice-President Blakely Hay Edgington will officially begin her two-year term as President. As Past President, I will still attend our monthly board meetings and help with tasks as needed, but I am ready to take a step back and watch where our organization will go next. When I was elected to the Vice-Presidency in 2016, I realized that there was going to be work involved in that position. With Tana Luptak at the helm, we updated the constitution, adopted a new logo, and rolled out a new website. We also instituted a scholarship program that has brought new members into our group. In the past two years we have worked continually to make the website more user-friendly for our members. We have written criteria for nominating a Teacher of the Year, and honored others for their outstanding contributions to language teaching. We have also written criteria to select one of our members who will be presenting at the ACTFL Conference in San Antonio in November of 2020. We have continued to bring in nationally recognized speakers to share their ideas with all of you, and given each other a place to ask questions and share ideas. At this year’s fall conference in Belgrade we will have over 20 sectionals for our members to attend being presented by World Language educators from all over our state and region. Because of this huge turnout, we are going to try to record these presentations, and eventually the videos will be available in the password-protected area of the website. These past 4 years have been very rewarding, but I am excited to see what will happen next with some new energy on our board.
That being said, MALT NEEDS YOU! We need a new Vice-President and a new Secretary, as the terms for those offices are up for re-election. The Secretary serves a 2-year term and has several responsibilities: updating the website, keeping the minutes of our meetings, and getting an agenda ready before each meeting. The Vice-President has a longer time commitment. First, you serve two years as Vice-President, and then two years as President. When your presidency is over, you serve two more years as an advisor and voting member of the board. Meetings take place once per month via Google Hangouts and generally last an hour. We don’t meet in December or during the summer. The Vice-President also is in charge of the planning for Spring Conference, but this year some of that leg work has already been done by current Vice-President, Blakely Hay Edgington, and plans are in the works to hold that conference in Helena in April. If you know someone who would be a great fit on this board, please feel free to nominate them on this Google Form. And if you would like to nominate yourself because you want to be more active in the work that MALT has been doing, please feel free to do so!
The pursuit of a Seal of Biliteracy for our graduating language students is also in the works. This is a much bigger task, as we will most likely need approval from our Superintendent of Public Instruction and / or the legislature. Steps have been taken toward this goal when we joined the JNCL (Joint National Committee for Languages) last spring. With the support of our members at the meeting in April, we will be spending a portion of your membership dues for this membership.
Speaking of dues, our dues year expires on September 30th. You can easily renew them when you register for the MFPE Conference in Belgrade. However, if you aren’t planning to attend, please get your dues to Treasurer, Paul Asleson, before the end of October. We have to pay our dues to PNCFL by the middle of November, and this deadline is critical for our Teacher of the Year candidate and Outstanding Contributions to the Teaching of World Languages. They cannot be considered for the regional awards unless they have been a member for the past 3 consecutive years. Being totally transparent, the $40.00 that you pay in each year does not all stay in our MALT treasury. With that money we pay for your membership to our regional group, PNCFL, which is $12.00 per member. Roughly $2.00 per member goes to the national organization, ACTFL, and another .50 goes to the JNCL. There are also ongoing fees to maintain the website, and general business supplies that we need to keep our organization moving forward. Then, of course, there are also fees involved with recruiting nationally recognized speakers to join us at our conferences.
So, I am looking forward to reconnecting with all of you at the MFPE Conference in Belgrade. I am so excited that we have Laura Terrill here as our speaker on Thursday. She wrote the book The Keys to Planning for Learning, and I used that when I taught the methods class at MSU-Billings. She will have some great concrete ideas for all of us from planning our days, to grading for proficiency. You don’t want to miss this one! And we have so many sectionals being offered to our members on Friday. You can check that out with this link. The board plans to film these presentations and upload them to the password-protected part of the website. That way you will also be able to view the ones that you may have missed while attending another sectional. Safe travels, MALT members, and I look forward to seeing you in Belgrade!
- Alice Nation, MALT President