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STARTALK Language Program

For the past two years, NSA/CSS has served as Executive Agent for an exciting and highly acclaimed language learning program, STARTALK. Established by President Bush in 2006 as part of the National Security Language Initiative to expand national capacity in critical languages, STARTALK has received widespread acclamation from the national language teaching community, students, parents, and members of Congress. The intent of STARTALK is to provide summer language learning courses and teacher certification in less commonly taught languages for students and teachers at levels K-16, with the goal of expanding this program to all 50 states by 2011.

Working with the National Foreign Language Center at the University of Maryland, NSA/CSS established STARTALK as a first-rate academic program that attracted the participation of top language educators across the country over the last two years, STARTALK has grown in enrollment and funding. In 2007, the first year of STARTALK's implementation, 34 programs in Chinese and Arabic were held across 21 states and the District of Columbia (D.C.), reaching over 1300 high school students and high school and college teachers. In 2008, STARTALK doubled in funding, with academic partnerships being established in nine additional states. More than 3,700 students and teachers participated in 2008, and enrollment expanded to include middle schools. Program offerings focused on not only Chinese and Arabic, but also Hindi, Urdu, and Farsi. Most programs were offered at no cost to participants, and many of the programs granted college credit.

STARTALK has received widespread praise from the national language teaching community, students, parents, and members of Congress. STARTALK classrooms provide a learning environment where students and teachers can bond across linguistic, cultural, and ethnic boundaries. STARTALK is also producing groundbreaking research conclusions on foreign language instruction, assessment, and blended learning. This program has been the catalyst for a revolutionary change in foreign language instruction in the U.S. educational system and promises to be a critical component in strengthening language capabilities across the nation.


Date Posted: Jan 15, 2009 | Last Modified: Jan 15, 2009 | Last Reviewed: Jan 15, 2009