On May 27th the Maine Department of Education hosted a virtual signing ceremony to celebrate a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Goethe-Institut Boston. Deputy Commissioner of Education, Dan Chuhta, and World Languages & ESOL/Bilingual Programs Specialist, April Perkins, welcomed guests from the German Consulate and the Goethe-Institut, as well as Maine educators, to mark the occasion by sharing their thoughts and reflections on German programs in Maine and the new partnership established under the MOU.
Through this MOU, the Department will collaborate with the Goethe-Institut to promote German language and cultural education across the state through a variety of resources, programs, and activities, including:
- classroom visits by native German speakers
- career days
- promotional materials
- student competitions and events
- German American Partnership Program (GAAP) for student exchanges
- Study Bridge Program to help prepare American high school students for university studies in Germany
- Deutsch Lehren Lernen (Learning How to Teach German) online teacher training modules
- free online German language courses for teachers of German
- opportunities for Maine German teachers to receive training in Germany
- initiatives to recruit new German teachers
- teacher coaching
- Transatlantic Outreach Program
- development of concepts for summer language day camps
- SPARK afterschool program
In her remarks, Consul General Nicole Menzenbach highlighted the global importance of the German language, which is spoken by 130 million people. “German-speaking countries are economic centers within Europe and can provide a wide range of economic opportunities to those who speak the language,” she said. “Language and cultural understanding serve as a means of communication between individuals and as a link between nations. In this sense, we can view this memorandum as an important component of the transatlantic friendship that exists between the US and Germany.”
There are currently German programs in 12 public and private schools across Maine, and the Goethe-Institut has been a long-time resource and partner to them. Deb Backman, German teacher at Cony Middle and High School, expressed her appreciation for their support. “Goethe does a great job bringing the world into the classroom, but also to bring the classroom into the world,” Backman said. Melanie Kyer, German teacher at York High School, and Dr. Arne Koch, professor of German at Colby College, also expressed their enthusiasm about the MOU and the potential of the new partnership between the Goethe-Institut and the Maine Department of Education.
The Department wishes to share its heartfelt thanks to its partners at the German Consulate and Goethe-Institut Boston, as well as the remarkable teachers and students of German across Maine.
If your school or district is interested in participating in any of the opportunities listed above, developing a new German program, or expanding an existing one, please contact April Perkins at firstname.lastname@example.org.