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Supporting Students in K-12 to Post-secondary Transition

College applications were filed months ago and acceptance letters are on the way. April is a perfect month to have those last-minute discussions with seniors about preparing for college. Here are some possible ways to prepare your K-12 students. The post-secondary transition is often intimidating to students. Creating transition opportunities in your classroom lowers their anxiety and increases their chance of success.

Reach out to local schools
Contact an instructor at your local community college or university to share typical expectations and to describe the curriculum.
Plan a school visit
Arrange a school visit that focuses on the language learning opportunities offered in a nearby school. Even if several of your students have plans to attend elsewhere, this should prepare this to know what questions to ask and what resources to find at the school they do attend.
Career Discussions
Use a guideline like ACTFL’s Oral Proficiency in the Workplace handout to help students assess how much language instruction will be necessary to support the career of their choice.
Connect to Language Opportunities
Hopefully, students will find a myriad of opportunities to use language on campus. They won’t know where to look until you give them directions. Suggest chat groups or round tables, language partners, online language learning services, trips, study abroad programs, and other college language experiences.
The Language Lab
Language labs are back but in new ways. If your school has not used a language lab, you may want to find an example online to show your students.

Columbus Teacher Deserves Credit

Columbus High School teacher Liliana Velasco has long participated in the University of Nebraska Lincoln’s International Day competitions hosted by UNL’s Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. When UNL announced it would not be possible to host International Day this year, Velasco, saddened by the loss of a valuable opportunity for her students, decided to host her own Spanish Day at Columbus High School. I traveled to Columbus to participate in this event. Although many educators at the school participated in and assisted with making this a wonderful experience, they all credited Liliana Velasco with the drive and determination to motivate, organize, and inspire others. I am in awe of Ms. Velasco. Her talent for inspiring students to become passionate for acting, dancing, singing, and performing in another language and her willingness to step up to create a new venue for language celebration are phenomenal.

What a World Language Week: 2019 Shows the Power of Language

Nebraska celebrated the power of languages throughout World Language Week 2019. Student events provided an opportunity to practice and use German, Spanish, and French. The University of Nebraska Kearney offered a special luncheon as part of its film series UNK@TheWorld. Students who showed distinction in language learning were recognized as World Language Distinguished Scholars. The following materials are still available online as free downloads: Power of Languages posters, Power of Languages stickers, College, career, civic ready posters, Infographics.

To see the full biographies of World Language Distinguished Scholars, please visit the online slideshow.

WL Week Special Report: No Such Thing as ‘Enough’ – College Admission Requirements

College entrance requirements for world language vary by school and by program. Students are best advised to consider their ultimate goal and to choose their high school language enrollment accordingly. While the University of Nebraska Lincoln states that incoming students must have two years of world language, some programs at UNL require more.

Programs With an Admissions Requirement of Four Years

  • Anthropology
  • Biochemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Dance
  • Economics
  • Graphic Arts
  • Meteorology
  • News-Editorial
  • Physics
  • Political Science
  • Speech-Language Pathology
  • Theater Arts

See more at


UNK@TheWorld: Roma on April 5, 6 and 7

The University of Nebraska Kearney’s annual spring film series, UNK@TheWorld, continues with a showing of Roma at the World Theater in downtown Kearney.

Dr. Michelle Warren, Professor of Spanish at UNK, shared that Roma is a monumental film in that it is the first Mexican film to win Best Foreign Language film and the first foreign language film to win for Best Director. Lead actress, Yalitza Aparicio, is the first indigenous woman to be nominated for Best Actress.

Roma will be shown April 5 and 6 at 7:30 pm. On April 7, the showing will be at 2:00 pm. Following the presentation of the film, there is a discussion led by Dr. Warren and Dr. Jonathan Dettman. Catering will be provided by Kearney’s Taquería Komal. All performances are free to anyone with a UNK identification and $5 to the general public.

When considering sharing with students, remember that Roma is rated R for violence, strong language, and limited sexual content. Although too strong for younger viewers, it can provide an excellent source for discussion on the topics of family, immigration, prejudice, social violence, and social policy. The movie is in Spanish with English subtitles.

Teach in Nebraska: World Language Positions

The following jobs are posted at Teach in Nebraska, 

  • French 9-12, Creighton Preparatory School, Omaha
  • French 9-12, Roncalli Catholic High School, Omaha
  • Spanish 10-11, Scottsbluff Public Schools, Scottsbluff
  • Spanish 4-12, Central Valley Public Schools, Greeley
  • Spanish 6-8, Scottsbluff Public Schools, Scottsbluff
  • Spanish 7-12, Loup City Public Schools, Loup City
  • Spanish 7-12, Morril Public Schools, Morrill
  • Spanish 7-12, Winnebago Public Schools, Winnebago
  • Spanish 9-12 Teledistance, Educational Service Unit 5, Beatrice
  • Spanish 9-12, Creighton Preparatory School, Omaha
  • Spanish 9-12, Falls City Public Schools, Falls City
  • Spanish 9-12, Falls City Sacred Heart Catholic School, Falls City
  • Spanish 9-12, Fillmore Central Public Schools, Geneva
  • Spanish 9-12, Mercy High School, Omaha
  • Spanish 9-12, Mount Michael Benedictine School, Elkhorn
  • Spanish 9-12, North Platte Catholic Schools, North Platte
  • Spanish 9-12, Schuyler Community Schools, Schuyler
  • Spanish 9-12, South Central NE USD#5, Fairfield
  • Spanish K-8, St. Thomas More School, Omaha
  • Spanish/Art K-12, Nebraska Unified School District #1, Verdigre


PBS Kids Edcamp
March 23

Middle East Forum
UNO College of Arts and Sciences, The Natan & Hannah Schwalb Center for Israel & Jewish Studies
March 28

Dr. Alex Ortega: Population Health Challenges for Undocumented Latino Immigrants
April 2

Latinx Immigrant Health Conversation Series: Trey Andrews
April 3

Jose Antonio Vargas presents at Lincoln Commission on Human Rights Civil Rights Conference
April 16-17

Spanish Heritage Language Workshop
COERLL Language Center
June 10-11

Please email event information to
Stephanie Call at

Meet Your NILA Board: President-Elect Dr. Eckerson

Dr. Janet EckersonDr. Janet M. Eckerson, President-Elect
Past-President NATSP
Spanish Educator, Lincoln Public Schools

What was your motivation to become a language teacher?
When I studied abroad in college my eyes were opened to the power of language to connect you with the world.
Describe your classroom approach in five words or less.
Input, output, interaction and authentic resources
What power do you find in speaking another language?
The power of language to connect you, not just to other individuals in the target culture, but also to an entire word of ideas and experiences beyond your own.  It is a new opportunity to appreciate in a deep and life-changing way the richness of human culture.

WL Week Special Report: Language Course Enrollment in Nebraska

79% of Nebraska secondary students are enrolled in a World Language course.

2017-2018 2016-2017 2015-2016 2012-2013 2009-2010 2006-2007 2003-2004 2000-2001
ASL                7             19               6               0 0 0 0                   –
Chinese        1,057  1,036          892           798 422 81 71                34
French      11,007     13,929      13,131      12,772 8,202 5,314 5,917          5,865
German       6,446  7,184       7,073         7,141 5,552 4,251 4,684           6,761
Japanese           164          208          190            161 188 108 114             264
Latin           946 1,191          969         1,144 886 494 537             709
Russian            30             57           117             49 22 12 15                32
Spanish     85,579 92,177    88,784     84,160 59,478 48,377 46,374        46,776
Language Survey      13,051     14,460     14,199      11,486 12,691 11,288 9,011         9,000
Other       5,956       6,356       5,391       4,449 6,599 5,704 3,607          3,509
Total WL Students    124,243  136,617    130,752    122,160 94,040 75,629 70,330        72,950
Total Students grades 7-12    156,808   154,677  151,812  145,979 144,796 149,154 150,417  Not Available
Percentage of Secondary Students Enrolled in World Language 79% 88% 86% 84% 65% 51% 47% Not Available

The Nebraska Department of Education annually surveys school districts to record course enrollment in secondary coursework that is worth high school credit. The chart reflects the courses listed in the survey and the enrollment numbers, which include grades 7-12.

WL Week Special Report: World Language as a Career Skill

Job Postings:

Nebraska employers need bilingual staff. The following occupations reflect job postings seeking bilingual employees in various languages in Nebraska in February 2019. Courtesy the NEworks website.

  • Bakers
  • Educators (all ages, all areas)
  • Forest and Conversation Workers
  • Healthcare (all areas)
  • Interpreters and Translators
  • Shoe Machine Operators
  • Speech-Language Pathologists
  • Telephone Operators
  • Textile, Apparel, and Furnishings
  • Training and Development Specialists