District 97's World Language Advisory Committee (WLAC) wrapped up the 2017-18 school year on May 14 with the presentation of the Spring 2018 Quixote Awards.
The awards, which were presented during the final WLAC meeting of the year, honor vision, perseverance, leadership and unfailing dedication in support of quality language learning and multiculturalism.
The recipients were:
- Career Achievement: Dawn Fogle Deaton, elementary world language teacher at Whittier, who has held multiple district leadership and language advocacy roles throughout her teaching career
- District 97 World Language Team Leaders: Silvia Zaragoza, elementary world language teacher at Irving; Stephanie Suerth, French teacher at Brooks; Elizabeth Smith, Spanish immersion teacher at Lincoln; and Christina Bultas, Spanish and French teacher at Julian
- Administrators: Chris Jasculca, senior director of policy, planning and communication; and Helen Wei, director of curriculum, instruction and assessment
- Ethnic Festival Coordinators and Logistics: Anna Harlan, administrative assistant at Beye; Tye Johnson, fifth-grade teacher at Beye; Jonathan Ellwanger, principal at Beye; and the Julian custodial staff
- Yoko Schmadeke, Japanese teacher at Oak Park and River Forest High School, for promoting cultural interactions between students and teachers from Japan and Oak Park; and for reaching across districts, especially through the exchange program's yearly visits to elementary and middle schools, the OPRFHS Japan Festival, and participation in the District 97 Ethnic Festival and World Languages Day
- Whittier Refugee Project Coordinators: Parents Shana Wills and Stephanie Thomas and teacher Georgina Swanson, for not only bringing cultures together and educating students and community members on issues that affect refugees, but also helping to make the community an active force for welcoming and supporting those affected
In addition to recognizing the award winners, the WLAC presented the "World Language Belief Statements" it had been working on in small group and committee of the whole formats throughout the course of the year. These statements, which can be accessed by visiting http://bit.ly/2IpLXPb, reflect how world language learning advances the district's core values and supports the broader framework. They also "voice each Oak Park and District 97 core value followed by the world language belief that embodies it."
Retiring Spanish teacher and outgoing WLAC chair Dawn Fogle Deaton applauded the significant work accomplished this year, and reminded those present of "the importance of staying true to the committee's charge, remaining engaged and active in support of language learning, and continuing to foster multicultural understanding, which is essential for our students to truly become global citizens."
WLAC will establish leadership, activities and events for the 2018-19 school year during its first meeting in August or September. Details will be posted on the District 97 website closer to the meeting date.