In 2011, FLENJ honored three extraordinary language educators at their annual awards celebration, which took place at the 2011 Spring Conference.
Ruth Chang, a teacher of French in East Brunswick, New Jersey, was honored as the recipient of the 2011 NECTFL MEAD Fellowship Award.
Mrs. Chang, a “master teacher” in the words of East Brunswick Supervisor, Mary Mackenzie, has been recognized with a Governor’s Certificate for her excellence in teaching. In addition, The New Jersey Association for Educational Technology recognized her as Technologist of the Year for her integration of technology. In fact, she is known as the “go-to” person for those seeking help with technology in her district.
Another of Mrs. Chang’s strengths is that she has been involved in grant and curriculum project where she has honed her professional skills and has contributed in significant ways to our profession. Her name appears on our FLENJ website, (https://flenj.org/CAPS) as one of the contributors of Thematically Organized Assessments (TOAs) through a federal Foreign Language Assistance Program (FLAP) grant awarded in our state.
Mrs. Chang’s MEAD project proposal demonstrates another of her talents: she is an excellent writer. As a published author of journal articles and as a contributor to an ACTFL publication, she has influenced our field beyond New Jersey – and she will continue to do so as a MEAD representative.
Finally, Ruth Chang’s MEAD proposal demonstrates the author’s intimate knowledge of the modern tenets of our field: Mrs. Chang’s references the ACTFL Performance Guidelines, the Five Cs, the modes of communication, multiple intelligences, and other essential concepts. Her project goal is to make world language education more relevant to our students through “experiential learning.” She plans to create relevant and realistic scenarios that will more fully engage world language students in the learning process. Through a wiki that she will create, Mrs. Chang plans to disseminate her project. Her resources will be available to all world language teachers.
Mimma-Marie Cammarata, an Italian teacher at Sterling High School, received a FLENJ Teacher Recognition Award.
Ms. Cammarata is the sole Italian teacher at Sterling and is currently in her sixth year teaching Italian I to IV Honors. She graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2005 from Temple University. Before graduating from Temple she was awarded a scholarship through the Sons of Italy to study and serve as an intern for six months at Sorrento Lingue Centro Linguistic Internazionale, a private language institute located in Sorrento, Italy. Winning this scholarship greatly inspired her to continue finding opportunities to study abroad.
Ms. Cammarata has been awarded two Geraldine R. Dodge Teacher Fellowships, one to study Italian mosaics and French Impressions in Italy and France and a second to work with other Dodge Fellows to publish a booklet highlighting their experiences. Mimma-Marie was also awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to study Italian art in Rome for four weeks. Last summer she was awarded an 18-day study tour of Japan through Phila-Nipponica, an organization affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania and this summer she will be heading off to Turkey sponsored by the Okumus/ TAFSUS Turkey Fellowship Program.
Ms. Cammarata finds that, “study travel tours are both exploratory and defining; it really isn’t just the notion of touring, but really understanding enough to feel confident enough to teach the information gathered.” She revels in the challenge to connect Italian to other disciplines because besides learning the language Mimma-Marie wants her students to see the global connections. She has said that teaching can be compared to a mosaic, “we fill the students’ heads with tiny bits of information, but we also need to make them stand back and see the whole picture.”
Mary Anne Morgan, a visual arts teacher and fellow member of the Dodge Team said that Mimma-Marie is, “a true citizen of the world and this fact has a significant impact on her teaching and interpersonal skills because she draws from an extensive global human reference in her ability to relate to others.”
Alaciel Salazar, a Spanish teacher at the Academy for Information Technology at Union County Vocational Schools in Scotch Plains, received a FLENJ Teacher Recognition Award.
At UCVTS, Mrs. Salazar has developed the reputation as a caring, innovative, conscientious, and dedicated educator. On a daily basis she instills in her students the importance of always doing their best, being responsible, honest, and courteous. Mrs. Salazar, a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Kean University, is highly focused and delivers instruction that is carefully designed to promote the learning and mastery of Spanish.
Due Mrs. Salazar’s diligence, persistence, and dedication, her District Board of Education decided to sanction the establishment of the Chapter of the Spanish Honor Society and Advanced Placement Course in the Spanish Language. Also, thanks to Mrs. Salazar’s foresight and desire to see her students challenged, she proposed, developed and executed a plan for the upper level Spanish students to participate in the Online National Spanish Examination. The number of students earning medals is a tribute to the hard work of the students as well as to the inspiration and teaching of Alaciel Salazar. In addition, under Alaciel’s leadership and guidance, the UCVTS school district began a very active Spanish Club.
Her Teaching Supervisor, Judith Hurok, said the following, “Her enthusiastic and creative approach to teaching inspires all her students to be active class participation. She makes learning Spanish interesting and fun.”
One her students, Anthony Markowitz, remarked, “clearly, she is dedicated and committed to her student’s success, demonstrated by her enthusiastic approach to her classes. I can honestly say I have earned a new appreciation for the Spanish language and culture through her class, and look forward to taking another Spanish course as an elective next year.”