Center for Economic and Community Development
November 29, 2008
Dr. James J. Tomek, Professor of French
Dear Dr. Tomek:
This letter is written as a public statement
of appreciation of your scholarship and professional service for a workshop of
foreign language teachers at
Under a three year Standards-Based Teacher Education Program (STEP) funded by the American Association for Colleges of Teacher Education and a Title II Mississippi Teacher Quality Education Enhancement Partnership grant, Delta State University faculty initiated professional development offerings designed to improve (a) “standards-based education” in schools, (b) preparation of teachers through alignment of university curriculum with national and state standards, and (c) interaction and personal relations among K-12 teachers and university faculty. The professional development efforts for foreign languages were directed by Dr. Tomek.
Because foreign languages in K-12 schools are exempt under standardized testing requirements and meeting national and state standards for accountability by the Mississippi Department of Education, Dr. Tomek recognized the perception that “languages are not important” and the importance of maintaining a dialogue among K-12 teachers and university faculty members to assure quality programs meet high standards. In addition, he was aware that state sponsored meetings were typically not well attended and foreign language teachers were reported to feel “left out” of the mainstream of curriculum design for schools. In preparation to address the issues of foreign language teaching and learning, Dr. Tomek partnered with Christine Brown, an associate with the American Council for Teachers of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), to sponsor a full-day workshop for preparing teachers to infuse national standards established by the ACTFL into their school curriculum.
success, the ACTFL workshop served 21 teachers of foreign languages, 4
These most impressive outcome distinguishing this workshop as the “best” professional development effort was a strong commitment on part of all participants to continue the dialogue, form an informal group of University and K-12 teachers for additional work, install a functional network for teachers of foreign languages, and sponsor additional workshops in the future on specific subjects.
Without the strong, committed leadership of Dr. Tomek, foreign language teachers would not have had the opportunity to address ACTFL standards-for teaching and learning, create an interactive relationship with the University’s foreign language faculty members, and personal connections with Christine Brown, ACTFL representative.
Through this new relationship of
foreign language teachers with Dr. Tomek, challenges of teaching foreign
languages in all grade levels and curriculum aligned with national and state
standards are now considered a responsibility of the community of foreign
language teachers. Coupled with this new
goal to increase language offerings in the schools is a strong commitment by
the teachers to meet state and national standards, continue professional
development efforts, and build a strong partnership with the foreign language
Clearly, this letter is a strong
statement of appreciation to Dr. Tomek for his leadership and influence on the
K-12 schools in
Professor of Curriculum and Instruction