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About all things NFA, and published in the Sunday edition of the Norwich Bulletin, NFA World is a regular column written by Geoff Serra,  Director of Communications and Public Affairs. Check back regularly for a new posting.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

ASL joins NFA’s World Language Line-up

World Language and classics teacher Nathan Wheeler, NFA 2008, introduced American sign language last year as an after school club. This year, American Sign Language (ASL) is a course for students to fulfill their two year world language requirement. Wheeler has been key in launching the program, and over 100 students signed up for the course. ASL is a strictly visual, not a spoken, language.
Intended for students who have little or no previous knowledge of ASL, students learn social functions with respect to introducing themselves, exchanging personal information, and describing simple narratives. Students also develop beginning conversational skills based on ASL vocabulary and grammar, and examine Deaf Culture and history.
Wheeler says, “I’m honored to be part of the ASL program from the very beginning. I am able to create the course and develop the curriculum from my experiences in other ASL courses and from my involvement in Deaf communities. Seeing the course continue to grow from its inception is amazing, and I am so excited to see what comes next.” 

AP Statistics PLC

Project LEARN of Old Lyme, a state regional educational service center with a mission to improve the quality of public education for all learners, has backed an initiative to form Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) in various disciplines.

A PLC is a collaborative, ongoing practitioner group to improve both student and teacher performance by sharing information, extending knowledge and reflection, and supporting best practices.
Regional teachers of Advanced Placement Statistics organized last May to create such a supportive environment. PLC’s rotate facilitator roles and leadership. NFA AP Statistics teacher Margaret Weaver hosted a meeting of the group last week with instructors from East Lyme, Haddam-Killingworth, Old Lyme, Bacon Academy, and North Stonington. Since participants are the single AP instructor in each of their districts, the PLC gives all an opportunity to learn, support, grow, and reflect with others teaching the same course.
Participants observed Weaver teach her class, and then spent the day sharing instructional strategies, activities, and assessment styles. Two member of the PLC are national AP Readers and bring actual, practical, grading insight to the group. The focus is to guide students to earn the best score possible on the AP Statistics exam.
Plans to extend the reach of their influence are underway by creating a virtual community. A follow up meeting will take place in January or early February.

People to People Student Ambassador Program

NFA students and school psychologist Beth Serra have in the past participated in the nation’s leading global summer education program, People to People. Current NFA students who have traveled with People to People include seniors Mia Brown; uppers Ally Perrino, Skyla Serra, and Devyn Yolda-Carr; lowers Colin Jacobs and Lily McGee; and juniors Cynthya Gluck and Kaylee White.
Serra is the primary leader for the middle school delegation. This year’s trip – European Discovery – includes visits to Italy, France, Austria, and Switzerland (the cities of Rome, Florence, Venice, Vienna, Salzburg, Lucerne, and Paris). The program also includes a homestay experience.

Informational meetings for New London area families with students in grade 7-12, take place 1 p.m., Sept. 20, in Cummings Art Center, Connecticut College, and 7:30 p.m., September 22, in the Ensemble Room of NFA’s Frank Center.
Families will gain a good look at People to People’s 2015 summer programs and learn information about financial aid, fundraising, the selection process, interview dates, and securing a position in the program.

For more information contact Serra at 425-5637 or at


Senior on State Advisory Panel

Senior Brendan Sullivan has been appointed to the 2014-15 State Student Advisory Council on Education (SSACE). In a letter of appointment ,Dave Maloney, CIAC Executive Director of Student Activities, congratulated Sullivan, telling him that the “Council gives Connecticut students a voice in education planning and enables the State Board of Education, the commissioner of education, State Department of Education personnel, the governor, and state legislators to become familiar with high school students' perspectives on key issues. Maloney told Sullivan, “It is truly an honor to be selected to represent your peers with these various constituencies." 
SSACE is part of a national movement to ensure that students are heard in state-wide decision making processes. In Connecticut, 25-30 students are selected to advise the Commissioner and two seniors sit on the Connecticut State Board of Education. Sullivan is one of those two.
FINAL THOUGHT: Charles Swindoll says,Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.”

Posted by serrag on Friday September 26 at 02:09PM
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