STARTALK is a federal grant program managed and funded by the National Security Agency. STARTALK grants fund innovative programs with strong language learning outcomes for K-16 students in support of the STARTALK goals. STARTALK grants currently support programs offered in the following critical need languages: Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Persian, and Russian.

Program Scholars

Grace Chiang2021, M.A Multiple Subject Credential
Through the Bilingual Teacher Scholarship program, I have an opportunity to learn from other master teachers teaching online and learn to get along with upper grade students. I have been teaching lower grade level for about three years in my school, and I had little experience of teaching upper grade students. The program provided an opportunity for me to see how other teachers prepare lessons and plan their scope and sequence. Since it was the year of distance learning, I could also learn how teachers use online websites and educational apps to engage students with different needs. The class management strategies were also be very different and teachers' tone were vary to different groups of students. Differentiated assignments and activities were important to engage students and maintain their interest in the program. Over all, I appreciate the opportunity to learn as an educator and teach upper grade students. 
Ai-Ling (Cindy) Li2021, M.S. Education

Participating in the STARTALK Bilingual Teacher Scholarship Program has benefitted me immensely in the last 5 years that I've utilized this opportunity. It helped me really understand the duties I need to perform as a bilingual teacher and helped prepare me for my own classroom as one of the founding teachers in my District's Dual-Immersion program. It also helped me refine my teaching skills as a teacher, mentor, and technology innovator.

Growing up, I never had the opportunity to expand my bilingualism skills in school. However, I am proud of the fact that every year, my students come out of my classroom not only learning language skills, but also the culture and traditions behind the language they're learning in order to have them appreciate their background and instill pride in their ancestry more.

Kunyou Guan2018, B.A. Multiple Subject Credential

During the program, I assisted Mandarin teachers in primary classrooms. Through observing my lead teachers, I learned various teaching strategies that were helpful and effective not only in the dual language classroom, but also in other educational settings. I was able to apply many of them when instructing class population with English learners during student teaching. Furthermore, I met colleagues who share the same goal as mine - to provide a safe and positive learning environment for students with various cultural and linguistic backgrounds, through the STARTALK program.

As a bilingual Mandarin teacher, I am most proud of the fact that I myself as a bilingual person serve as an example to my future students. My linguistic abilities prove that it is possible to be fluent in more than one language. Such abilities have not only opened doors to effective communication with others, but also appreciation for my home culture and an open mind to learn about other cultures. As I am preparing to become a teacher of the Mandarin language, I love to share the language with others around me. My favorite memory of such would be introducing different ways of greetings in Mandarin to my Ukrainian coworkers when student teaching in Kyiv, Ukraine. For many of them, it was among their first experiences with the Chinese culture.

Qingyan Kang2015, M.S. Multiple Subject Credential
I have joined the Bilingual Teacher Scholarship program for more than 5 years now. Each year participating it gives me the opportunities to work with students in innovative means to learn about Chinese language and culture. It also helps me to refresh and rethink what strategies works best for certain activities. The courses I took through this program prepared me theoretically and more important is that it provides me the practical field to find out how efficient these strategies work for the students. In this program, I worked with other educators as well as leaders to communicate their practices in the classrooms, which broaden my eyes and inspires me to think with new ideas of teaching. We team up to achieve and make sure students’ needs are met. I appreciate that I have the chance to participating it for so many years because I grow as an educator with my students each year. I enjoyed the time spending to prepare the materials for my students, and love the challenges it brings to me to keep striving for better classroom teaching, management and engaging. I hope I could continue to participate in this program, teach and learn with the students.
Ruijie (Anita) Ying2019, M.A. Bilingual Education
The Bilingual Teacher Scholarship program has provided me with an opportunity to encounter and teach students of various cultural backgrounds and different language proficiency. Some of them do not even have any Mandarin learning experience. I am honored and proud to introduce them the Chinese language and culture. Additionally, I have known a lot of colleagues who share similar philosophy and value in this program. We learn and support one another, so that Mandarin Bilingual Education can continue to thrive. I have also learned to collaboratively work with colleagues to develop lesson plans and explore different online platforms, which are beneficial to my own teaching. Also, in this program, I have improved my professional skills to develop Project-based Learning units, which can help students with their problem solving and critical thinking skills.
Wei Long2021, M.A. Education

I was participating the program before starting my full-time job. In my first year of teaching I know there bound to be some bumps along the way. However, with the learning experience of this program, I can be more prepared and ready to tackle challenges that first year or two may throw at me. Attending this program also increased expertise in my field and, as a result, built confidence in the work I do. I am proud as a bilingual Mandarin teacher because I can take the best of both worlds and make the classroom better. I am proud to be able to approach the world from two different sides and points of view.