SLA COHORT VII-VIVIANA CONNER
World Language Coordinator, K-12, Greenwich Public Schools, Greenwich, CT
What is your current role?
World Language Coordinator, K-12
What is the enrollment of your current school district?
We serve 8,800 students.
What are some of your career highlights?
I have had the opportunity to serve as an Assistant Principal, Principal, Director of Title I, and Coordinator of a department. This has provided me with a balcony view of what a district looks like, authentic experiences at different levels, and a variety of challenges at the building level as well as central office. As the coordinator of World Languages I oversaw the review and revision of the curriculum for seven languages and ensured alignment with the CTCore. Greenwich is knowns in CT as the largest World Language program as well as the model in curriculum writing. This was a three- year tiered plan and has led to 100% of our students passing the AP exam in their target language with a score of three or above.
What are you most proud of professionally?
During my academic career, I have accomplished many goals to enhance education. As K-12 Coordinator of World Languages, I designed and implemented a K-12 vertical aligned curriculum in seven languages (i.e. Pathways to Languages). These standards included a multi-disciplinary connection to the Common Core State Standards and American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). After five years of implementation, 100% of students have passed the Advanced Placement Exam of their chosen language with a score of three or above.
I am also proud of my academic achievements as a professional. In 2015, I completed the Executive Leadership Program at the University of Connecticut. This program is a highly competitive program that prepares future Superintendents in the state of Connecticut. Also, my selection to the SLA National Cohort is another significant accomplishment of my career. The opportunity to engage with national level leaders in a cohort model is a tremendous honor to advance my career.
What is one of the biggest challenges facing educators today?
There are several mitigating factors in education that we encounter on a daily-basis. The constant quandary of closing the achievement gap has been the collective national narrative. This is important for our coalition work; however, the focus must be targeted to the preparation gap. The challenge of equity and access has not be grounded on sound policy, which is the impetus of flawed fiscal streams. Our work will be endemic with how we address strengthen education policy (e.g. early childhood education and early intervention) and fiscal funding streams (e.g. national, state, and local allocations).
Why is a program like SLA important for Latino educators?
The SLA program is a key venue for Latino educators to network and mentor each other. In addition, it provides a learning opportunity to expand on leadership skills including but not limited to: coaching, mentoring, and support to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to view a school district from the balcony view in order to assume high level roles especially in high poverty and minority serving school systems. Moreover, the relationships formed through this cohort have proven to be lifelong based on previous cohorts as well as my own experience. It is a true sense of Familia.