STARTALK: A National Resource for Critical Need Languages

The PWCS World Language Program values the study of all languages and the use of them by our students and families as multi-lingualism is an asset of our school community and a human resource to be nurtured and celebrated throughout our classrooms, in all career pathways, and in the global workplace. Our Strategic Plan specifically identifies the many ways PWCS value the study of all world languages both western and eastern languages such as Arabic, American Sign Language (ASL), Chinese, French, German, Italian, Korean, Latin, Russian, and Spanish already offered in our course of study, but to include Farsi, Hindi, Urdu, and others in the future.

The PWCS World Language Program applied for, and was awarded, a STARTALK grant for the 2022-23 school year! We are so excited as this is historic for PWCS.

STARTALK grants are an opportunity to request funds in order to support the enhanced learning of what are called critical need languages. Among those identified are:

  • Arabic
  • Chinese
  • Hindi
  • Korean
  • Persian
  • Russian
  • Urdu

In this first grant proposal, we will focus on providing a Summer School Camp 2023 enrichment study opportunity for Arabic and Russian with pre- and post-camp activities to also be included allowing about 140 students, 70 for Arabic and 70 for Russian, in grades 7-11 for 2022-23 to apply and to receive this FREE scholarship enrichment opportunity.

Details about the final STARTALK Grant application process will be announced via the SCOOP and all communication media in the fall of 2022, right after the start of the school year.

What is STARTALK? What is its mission?

STARTALK is a federal grant program funded by the National Security Agency (NSA) and administered by the National Foreign Language Center at the University of Maryland. STARTALK grants fund summer world language learning programs as well as professional development programs for world language teachers. STARTALK grants support programs for students and teachers of critical need languages.

STARTALK grants support the integration and implementation of the nation's best and most current world language best practices as embraced by the PWCS world language program K-12. STARTALK grants support our philosophy, also, of the inclusion of ALL students learning additional languages at any age by providing the necessary scaffolds and choices to meet their individual needs and motivation to learn languages not based on the Roman alphabet.

Communication is at the heart of learning any language; it is the power standard of all curriculum standards with intercultural concepts such as body language, register, products, practices, and perspectives embedded within all oral and written expression. The grant theme of STARTALK Gateways: Connections to My Future through Arabic and Russian, will allow up to 140 students to learn Arabic or Russian through the themes of Personal and School Connections, Community Connections, Interdisciplinary Connections, and Career Connections. Through 127 hours of highly engaging pre-camp, summer camp, and post-camp activities, students will be taught basic Arabic and Russian skills used in everyday real-life situations while also showing students how connections to interdisciplinary projects such as those created within the Arts, CTE/culinary arts, and STEM tap into all students' interests and career pathways that open new gateways for their future endeavors.

Want to Offer Some Ideas/Assistance?

Any citizens of PWCS community or middle and high school teachers of any content area with Arabic or Russian skills and interests, are welcome to contact the world language program supervisor, Carol Bass, at to offer ideas or assistance.