Congratulations to Vineland High School Russian teacher Vlada Jackson, who has been selected to be part of a national committee to create a Russian language Praxis for Educational Testing Service (ETS). Only four educators at the K-12 and university levels across the United States were hand-selected for this honor.
The Praxis test measures the academic skills and subject-specific content knowledge needed for teaching. Currently, there is no Praxis for those who wish to teach Russian at the K-12 level.
“Russian remains a critical language in our world,” Jackson said. “They [ETS] recognize the need for more Russian teachers and that we need to bring this language down to the schools, not just at the college and university level.”
Vineland High School and Cherokee High School are the only two schools in South Jersey that offer Russian as a foreign language option. There are only five schools in the entire Delaware Valley that offer the language. Russian will become only the fifth language, after Spanish, French, German, and Latin, to have its own Praxis exam. Jackson will also become part of the ETS National Advisory Committee for the Russian language. This committee consists of 12 members nationwide.
Jackson was pleasantly surprised after receiving the notification that she would be part of the committee.
“I’m not a public speaker, but I love to help,” she said. “So this fits me perfectly. I can apply my knowledge and experience in a way that best suits me.”
In addition to being named a Fulbright Scholar a few years ago–which allowed her to travel to Moscow for advanced training in teaching methodologies–Jackson has spent several summers working as an adjunct professor for STARTALK, a federal grant program funded by the National Security Agency and administered by the National Foreign Language Center.
STARTALK offers support programs for students and teachers of eight critical need languages, including Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Persian, Russian, Turkish, and Urdu.
“We are extremely fortunate in Vineland to have educators of the highest caliber,” said Dr. JoAnne Negrin, supervisor of ESL, World Languages, Bilingual Education, and Performing Arts. “It is unusual to have so many K-12 teachers who receive honor and recognition at the national level. These honors attest to the commitment to excellence that is a part of our school and district cultures.”
The committee will meet this summer at Princeton University to begin formulating the exam.