National Coalition of Community-Based Language Schools

 Mission Statement

The National Coalition of Community-Based Heritage Language Schools is a nationwide initiative established to
support, guide, and promote the interests of community-based heritage language schools and organizations
across the United States. Our goals are to facilitate communication among community-based heritage language
programs; increase the visibility and recognition of these programs within the U.S. education system on local,
state, and national levels; and document places where heritage language teaching and learning are taking place in
these schools in the United States.

Although these schools often rent space in public or private schools on weekends (Saturday or Sunday) or after
school during the week, they operate outside the public and private school systems. They supplement the
education that students receive in their regular school and are not subject to the regulations of the U.S. education
system. The schools administer U.S. language tests and often those of the home country as well, if appropriate
assessments exist and are available.

Coalition Goals

1. Facilitate communication among community-based heritage language (HL) schools, programs, and organizations in
order to:
Form partnerships with and learn from representatives of different languages and schools/programs in these
Share experiences about best practices in heritage language education
Articulate the most pressing needs and challenges common to programs
Help to unite community-based HL schools in all languages in the U.S. to be able to lobby for shared needs
2. Increase the visibility of and represent HL schools/programs to U.S. educators (school districts), politicians (U.S.
Department of Education, State Boards of Education), and researchers
3. Develop official statistics on HL teaching and learning by collecting comprehensive data about HL
schools/programs and press for inclusion of this data in official U.S. education statistics
4. Seek ways for HL students to receive U.S. high school credit for their language skills. Urge for recognition of
students’ HL proficiency via AP credit, the Seal of Biliteracy, or other means.
5. Voice the need for financial support and funding for community-based HL schools/programs
6. Provide resources on important topics via the website, forums, briefs, and an annual conference. Topics include how
Start a new program and form a nonprofit organization
Improve an existing program (teacher training, teacher retention, increased enrollment, student and parent
engagement, etc.)
Reach out to and work together with the local language community
Address practical issues (tax issues, human resources, etc.)

Coalition Activities

1. Organize an annual conference on Community-Based Heritage Language Schools.
The next conference will be held October 13, 2018, at American University in Washington, DC. Registration
is now open! Please let us know if you would like to receive announcements about the conference. Write to

Presentations and handouts from previous years can be found here:

2. Operate a Coalition website that provides
Resources for HL schools nationwide
Opportunities for program staff to communicate about important issues (via online Forums)
3. Document all community-based HL programs nationwide by collecting data via an online survey
4. Connect with language communities and schools through the work of Language Representatives
5. Prepare accessible, research-based Briefs on important topics in HL education and research
6. Send out regular email updates about activities of the Coalition and in the field of HL education

If you are interested in sending updates to your community, please let us know, and we will make sure you are on
our list. Write to

Coalition Language Representatives

Coalition Language Representatives are closely engaged with those working in community-based heritage
language programs in their language community and are interested in making connections with other language
groups and with the national effort, the Coalition. They serve as a liaison between their language community and
the work of the Coalition, so that we work together effectively.

More information on Coalition Language Representatives

Survey of Community-Based Heritage Language Schools in the United States

The Coalition is conducting a national survey to document community-based heritage language schools in the
United States. This is the first survey that attempts to reach out to and document this specific set of schools and
students. Survey results provide important data about these schools -- their key features, challenges, and

Report on National Survey of Community-Based HL Schools in the United States

This report describes data collected so far. You can help us keep this information by documenting your
school! Simply take a few minutes to complete the survey.

Link to the survey:

Other Heritage Language Resources

In addition to the Coalition, other organizations focus on heritage language learners and provide information and

The Alliance for the Advancement of Heritage Languages --

Discussion Forum

The website was created to provide a forum where information and resources can be shared among communitybased
language schools, and discussions of relevant topics can take place. We hope that in making connections
between schools that operate in different regions of the country and teach different languages we can learn from
each other and support the mission of these important organizations.

The idea for this website began with a discussion during the Heritage SIG meeting at the 2013 ACTFL
conference. Community school administrators and teachers expressed a need to share information on a variety of
topics, from teacher training to finding insurance and fundraising. We hope this forum will fill that space and
also offer an opportunity for national recognition of community language schools.

We look forward to hearing from you and hope you will join the discussion.

Go to Discussion Forum.

Contact Us with Questions or Comments:
Joy Peyton,