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Nebraska Association of Teachers of German Update

(Submitted by Pat Branson, Nebraska Association of Teachers of German)

Nebraska’s ATG chapter shared three important updates.

  • The German Students’ Convention will be held April 6 at Lincoln Southeast.
  • More information about ATG can be found on Facebook under the name “AATG Nebraska”.
  • The NATG board as of January 15 will be:
    • Pat Branson (UNO & Creighton), President
    • Kelleen Browning (Lincoln Southeast), President-elect
    • Erin Lhamon (Westside Middle School), Secretary-treasurer

Wendy Brennan (Millard North), Past-President

UNK@The World Spring Movie Line-up

(Submitted by Dr. Michelle Warren, University of Nebraska Kearney)


UNK@The World presents the 6th year (!) of international film at the World. We will show the following three movies at the World on the dates listed below, based on the topic of “cross-national” or “trans-cultural” (to deal with a minority population among a “majority”)

One of the special features this year is a special guest visit by Dr. Moisés Park, of Baylor University, to facilitate the discussion of and viewing of our second film, Kiltro. Dr. Park specializes in portrayal of Asians in Latin American film and will speak to this, as well as share some of his poetry and personal experiences.

Please mark your calendars and syllabi for the following, and encourage student attendance:

Tuesday, February 12, 2019 7:30
He Even Has Your Eyes (France, 2017) A black couple living in France adopts a baby who happens to be blonde/blue eyes. The movie is comical yet serious in that it captures the reactions of others who assume the black couple could not possibly be the “true” parents.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019 7:30
Kiltro (Chile, 2006) Chilean brawler and stuntman Marko Zaror marks his emergence onto the international action scene with this fast-paced martial arts film about the leader of a small Chilean street gang who finds redemption by standing up for the people he loves most. (Dr. Park visiting to help discuss/introduce film and present also on campus, time TBA, public welcome to all events)

Friday-Saturday (7:30 pm) Sunday (2 pm) April 5-6-7
Roma (México, 2018) The demise of an upper middle class Mexican family seen through the eyes of an indigenous domestic worker. This film is directed by Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity, Children of Men) and is nominated for several Golden Globe awards and short listed for many Oscars.

Supporting College Bound Heritage Spanish Speakers

The college transit can be difficult enough. For students who are non-English speakers, and who are first generation college students, the transition is highly challenging. The University of Nebraska Lincoln offers students and their families tours and information in Spanish. UNL’s Spanish Visit Days are on select Saturdays. Pre-registration is suggested. Attendance qualifies students for a Nebraska Emerging Leaders tuition scholarship worth $2,000.

Providing orientation and enrollment support in languages other than English is becoming more common.

Other schools with Spanish Language Preview Days are:

  • University of Nebraska Kearney–Conozca UNK
  • University of Nebraska Omaha—

Somos Familia

  • Wayne State College—

Dia de Familia

If you know of another regional college or university with a language focus day or opportunity for prospective students, email the information to to update this article online.

Franco-American Academic Exchanges for Classrooms

(Submitted by Heather Seeley, French Embassy)

As part of your New Year’s resolutions, we encourage you to make a resolution to join Franco-American Academic Exchanges (FAAX), a new platform that helps American schools find a partner for an exchange project with a French school or university. Any teacher or staff member working for a secondary or higher education establishment can sign up, create a profile page and consult the directory of institutions that are looking for a partner either in the U.S. or in France.

FAAX is brought to you by the Public Affairs section of the Embassy of the United States in France, in support of student mobility and exchanges between the U.S. and France. Visit:

UNO French Summer Abroad Program in Besançon

(submitted by Cara Heminger, Nebraska Association of Teachers of French)

UNO offers a two-week summer opportunity to study in France through the Masters of Arts in Language Teaching program. There are two sessions, each worth three UNO credits. The sessions are held at the Université de Franche-Comté by university professors from the Centre de Linguistique Appliquée. Students may stay on campus, at a hotel, or with a family. For more information on the web, go to: – french and click on “Besançon” or contact Dr. Juliette Parnell at 402-554-3029,

Meet Your NILA Board

Shanna R. Hellerich, Past President
Spanish 7-12, Shelton Public Schools

What was your motivation to become a language teacher?
Learning about languages and cultures has always been a passion of mine. I am equally passionate about sharing what I know and learn. I am truly fortunate to bring these together and help shape the minds and lives of my students.

Describe your classroom approach in five words or less.
Engaging, communicative, cultural

How do you feel that NILA has helped you develop as an educator?
NILA has been an incredible organization for me over the last several years. The connections with other world language professionals have been some of the best highlights of my time in teaching thus far. While serving on the NILA board has been extremely satisfying for me, it is always the NILA Conference that I benefit from most. Learning from some of the most talented teachers in the state is always a good thing! Every time I have attended, I have come back refreshed and inspired.

Favorite quote:
El que lee mucho y anda mucho, ve mucho y sabe mucho. He that reads a lot and travels a lot, sees a lot and knows a lot.  – Don Quijote de la Mancha

Creating Indicators for the Power of Language

Mary Lea Free and Dr. Jamie Holbein Swanson discuss proficiency levels.

The Standards Writing Team met December 6 at the University of Nebraska Kearney to create proficiency level indicators for each of the standards.

The organization of the revised standards will differ in format. Each standard will have indicators that specify expectations for student progress at particular levels of proficiency. The proficiency levels are Novice (low, mid, high), Intermediate (low, mid, high) and Advanced (low, mid, high). School districts will have autonomy to plan for the proficiency level that best fits the circumstances and needs of the district’s programming.

Syracuse-Dunbar-Avoca teacher Jacqueline Mohr says, “I think that this work will be a great help to those teachers who are departments of one or two in rural Nebraska. This will prove to be an applicable document throughout districts across the state. I hope that this will also allow teachers to become more familiar with proficiency levels and create appropriate level standards for their program.”

NDE plans to present the revised World Language standards to the Nebraska State Board of Education in Fall 2019.

Writing Team Members

Maria Burgos, Axtell Public Schools
Alicia Cornemann, Hartington Newcastle Public Schools
Tiffany Dalton, Waverly Public Schools
Mary Lea Free, District 160 Public Schools (Norris)
Cara Heminger, Lincoln Public Schools
Angela Hinze, Scottsbluff Public Schools
Jami Holbein Swanson, Lincoln Public Schools
Jamie Honke, Ralston Public Schools
Mary Clare Liescheski, Douglas County West Public Schools
Jacqueline Mohr, Syracuse-Dunbar-Avoca Public Schools
Mikayla Niederklein, Hastings Catholic Schools
Kristen Nugent, Concordia University Nebraska
Jorge Ortega, Kearney Public Schools
Rita Ricaurte, Nebraska Wesleyan University
Brenda Schiermeyer, Fremont Public Schools
Cathy Scurlock, Omaha Public Schools
Coral Su, Lincoln Public Schools
Liliana Velasco, Columbus Public Schools
Avie Veldkamp, York Public Schools
Angela Wagoner, Crete Public Schools
Michelle Warren, University of Nebraska Kearney
Rosa Zimmerman, Ogallala Public Schools

Travel Abroad for Students of World Language

YES!-Kennedy Lugar Youth Exchange and Study
The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program, funded by the U.S. Department of State, provides scholarships for secondary school students from countries with significant Muslim populations to spend one academic year in the U.S.


YES! Abroad-Kennedy Lugar Youth Exchange and Study
The U.S. Department of State’s Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Abroad program, provides competitive merit-based scholarships for U.S. citizens in secondary school (age 15-18.5) to study for one academic year in select countries.


Indicating the Power of Languages

Photo 1: Cathy Scurlock, Alicia Cornemann, and Liliana Velasco participate in a peer sharing activity at UNK during the standards writing process.
Photo 2: The Standards Writing Team celebrates a day of productive work at UNK in December.

The standards revision process continues with the conclusion of the Standards Writing Team’s work on indicators. Mary Clare LIescheski comments, “I am very proud of the work we have produced. I think we have done an excellent job of creating new things in a safe space, while at the same time providing checks and balances for each other. I think that other educators in Nebraska will be excited about new standards that are home-grown and relevant to the work we do here.” Read on for more information about the standards writing.

NAATF Announces Auberge de Jeunesse

(Submitted by Cara Heminger and Teri Wright, Materials available on NDE World Language website)

NAATF members and their students are invited to attend a unique immersion experience, L’Auberge de Jeunesse ‘19.  The last Auberge, held in 2017, was an enormous success. 75 students had an amazing time, immersing themselves in the French language, team competition, games, and music.

This year’s Auberge will be Saturday, March 30, 2019  at 11:00 a.m. through Sunday, March 31 at 11:00 a.m. at the Western Town (Camp Carol Joy Holling) in Ashland, Nebraska.  High school students enrolled in French 2 or above are eligible to participate.

Enrollment is limited to ten students per participating teacher. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis, as the program is best suited for 90 participants or less.

The cost is $80 per participant. The price covers shared rooms, three meals, unlimited access to snacks & beverages, and all activity fees & prizes.  Teachers must accompany their students.  Additionally, participating instructors must be members of AATF, as our Nebraska Chapter is hosting this event.

Student registration and payment are due by Friday, February 1, 2019. Refunds are not available; but substitutions may be made. Students will sign a Code of Conduct form as part of the registration process promising to behave responsibly and appropriately and to speak French.

Please send registration forms with payment (made out to NAATF) to:
Terri Wright
2326 S. 177th St.
Omaha, NE 68130