Program Implementation Resources

STARTALK provides online resources to support grant recipients as they implement their programs, collect evidence of learning, and reflect on program results.

Key Documents, Resources, and Tools

Explore the tabs below to find important information on communication and support, as well as foundational documents and customized tools to support programs and program instructors.

▼ Communication & Support

PD Communication page thumbnail Program Director Communications

These emails are sent to the program director at regular intervals. The emails provide reminders and details of upcoming program requirements. You can access an archive of all communication sent throughout the year.

FAQ page thumbnail Frequently Asked Questions

A list of frequently asked questions that STARTALK updates regularly.

    FAQ (Updated for 2021)
People around a round table Program Support Events

STARTALK provides grant recipients multiple opportunities to receive support on key issues facing programs in 2021:

  • Interact with other programs during monthly roundtable discussion focused on the STARTALK principles.
  • Get your questions answered during an open question & answer session with representatives from STARTALK Central and NSA.
  • Participate in important hands-on training sessions developed for new programs as they implement their grants for the first time.

STARTALK logo star Program Support

The STARTALK team at the National Foreign Language Center is ready to assist you whenever you have questions or concerns. Send us an email and someone will get back to you within one business day.

STARTALK logo star SOPHIE Support

SOPHIE is the online system you will use to manage your program. In SOPHIE, you will enter information about your program, complete your curriculum, track your completion of mandatory tasks, manage your site visit, manage your program contacts, write your final report, and much more. This collection of short tutorial videos will help get you started using SOPHIE. You can also always contact our SOPHIE support team by emailing us any questions or concerns you may have.

STARTALK logo star Communication Guidelines and Resources

A guide to STARTALK logos and referencing STARTALK in promotional materials, presentations, etc.

Catalyst logo Catalyst and Pulsar Support

Both Catalyst and Pulsar are online portfolio platforms that allow program participants to set goals and note progress toward learning goals by collecting evidence, documenting discussions, and recording reflections.

NSA logo National Security Agency (NSA) Contact Information

The NSA is the federal sponsor of the STARTALK grant program. The NSA team is available to answer your questions about the grant program, financial management of your grant, and budget modifications.

▼ Foundational Documents

Guide thumbnail Guide to the Financial Management of Your STARTALK Grant

This guide outlines all requirements for the financial management of your program. The guide provides details on requesting budget changes and submission of electronic invoices.

Principles PDF thumbnail STARTALK Principles

The STARTALK Principles create common expectations for all programs. Implementation of these six principles creates an environment in which teachers and learners collaborate as partners in the learning process. Each of the STARTALK Principles is explained in the context of both teaching and learning.

TELL logo TELL Framework

The TELL Framework identifies the characteristics and behaviors that effective language teachers possess. STARTALK uses this framework to determine specific goals for teacher programs as well as professional development targets for instructors in student programs.

World-Readiness Standards document thumbnail The World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages

The World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages allow learners to develop the ability to communicate effectively across multilingual and multicultural communities around the world, and provide a framework for teachers when designing curricula for today’s learners.

How to Use Can-Do Statements document thumbnail NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements

The Can-Do Statements delineate the continuum of language-skill development in the three modes of communication at the novice, intermediate, advanced, superior, and distinguished levels. These Can-Do Statements are used to determine the performance targets for STARTALK student programs.

▼ STARTALK Tools

Catalyst logo Catalyst

Catalyst is an online portfolio platform that aligns with the TELL Framework. Teachers can use this tool to set goals based on the TELL domains, criteria, and subcriteria; upload evidence of learning and progress toward those goals; and document reflections based on their personal learning journeys.

Learn logo Learn (Language Learning Activities)

STARTALK has identified a variety of learner-centered activities designed to keep learners engaged as they process and produce language. The activities include a short overview, step-by-step directions, and helpful tips and suggestions for differentiation. Many of the activities include video examples, strategy guides, graphic organizers or sample materials, as well as links to additional resources, including adaptations for online learning.

CREATE Logo Create

Create is an online platform designed to draft, publish, and share STARTALK learning plans. Instructors in student programs can develop and share their own learning plans, save and adapt learning plans created by others, and collaborate on learning plans within and across programs.

LangCred Map LangCred

LangCred is an online repository of pathways to and requirements for certification for world language instructors throughout the United States. LangCred is continuously updated to provide accurate information.

Pulsar logo Pulsar

Pulsar is an online language portfolio that allows students to collect evidence demonstrating their communicative abilities in a world language. Pulsar syncs seamlessly with the program-specific Can-Do Statements you identified in your curriculum and allows students to upload evidence of learning that will enable instructors to provide quick and specific feedback. The use of Pulsar is optional; it is available for all applicable student programs.

startalk logo star SOPHIE

STARTALK Online Programs, Help, Information, and Events (SOPHIE) is the online platform used to submit your proposal and where you enter and access all information related to your program. SOPHIE contains a customized timeline for your program including all program management and instructional tasks required for each phase of your program.


Program Implementation: Before the Program

Implementing a successful STARTALK program requires you to complete multiple program management and instructional tasks. In this section, you will find resources that help you plan for a program that aligns with your proposal. Please refer to your program’s task list timeline in SOPHIE for due dates.

▼ Program Management Tasks & Resources

Guide thumbnail Guide to the Financial Management of Your STARTALK Grant

This guide outlines all requirements for the financial management of your program. The guide provides details on requesting budget changes and submission of electronic invoices.

Proposal Change Request page thumbnail Proposal Change Request Form

All programs deferred from 2020 will have already submitted a program update form to reflect the changes based on COVID-19. You can use this online form to request any additional modifications to the approved program proposal.

startalk logo star Submit Online Program Listing and Description

The STARTALK website has a list of all STARTALK programs for the current year. This list is available to the public so that potential participants and parents of participants can browse the list of STARTALK programs and make informed decisions about their summer education plans. As a program director, you will update your program listing with details about your program content, location, and contact information.

people in video conference thumbnail Participate in the Spring Conference

Register yourself and appropriate staff for the spring conference to be held virtually April 9-10, 2021.

startalk logo star Submit Site Visit information

As program director, you provide options for site visit dates to STARTALK. STARTALK Central uses this information to assign a team leader to your program and coordinate your site visit. If there is a need to change a site visit date, contact STARTALK Central immediately.

You will also use SOPHIE to provide details about your site visit to the STARTALK Central team and to your site visit team. These details include a schedule for the site visit day, lodging information for the site visit team, details on the location of your classrooms, and contact information for the day of the visit.

image of generic namecard Submit Names and Contact Information of Instructors

Confirm contact information for instructional staff.

Consent form webpage thumbnail Administer Online Participant Consent Forms and Submit to STARTALK Central

All programs must ask participants to complete consent forms. Both online (preferred) and paper versions of these forms are available. You should request that all participants (or their parents, if participants are minors) complete consent forms. STARTALK needs consent forms from participants who will take STARTALK surveys or who you plan to photograph or record (video or audio) during your program.


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▼ Student Program Instructional Tasks & Resources

curriculum guide document thumbnail Develop the Program Curriculum

Develop a curriculum for your program based on your proposal and using the curriculum template in SOPHIE. New student programs must use or adapt one of the model STARTALK curricula. Returning student programs can opt to use a model curriculum or design their own curriculum.

Submit stages 1 and 2 for team leader review no later than three weeks before the start date of your program. Respond to team leader feedback to revise your curriculum. Work with your team leader to finalize stage 3 and publish your program curriculum no later than one week prior to the start of your program.

Learning Plan Guide Review the Professional Development Plan with Team Leader

Effective professional learning allows instructors to develop the knowledge and skills required to improve their practice and thereby improve learning experiences for students. During a conversation with your team leader at least one month before beginning professional development, explain how your professional development goals are aligned with the STARTALK Principles, capture feedback from prior site visits, and meet the needs of your instructors. This document provides guiding questions and criteria that may be helpful when finalizing your professional development plan for your instructors.

Learning Plan Guide Develop and Submit a Sample Learning Plan from Week 1 for Team Leader Feedback

Each student program must develop learning plans for each day of instruction and for all learning experiences, whether those experiences occur in the classroom or in other settings. Share this learning plan at least one week prior to the start of your program.

▼ Teacher Program Instructional Tasks & Resources

curriculum guide document thumbnail Develop the Program Curriculum

Develop a curriculum for your program based on your proposal and the TELL criteria you’ve identified for your program using the curriculum template in SOPHIE.

Submit stages 1 and 2 for team leader review no later than three weeks before the start date of your program. Respond to team leader feedback to revise your curriculum. Work with your team leader to finalize stage 3 and publish your program curriculum no later than one week prior to the start of your program.

Catalyst logo Create a Catalyst Group and Invite all Teacher Participants and Site Visit Team

Set up a Catalyst group for your participants based on the TELL domains and sub-criteria that are the focus of your curriculum. Set up this group at least one week prior to the start of your program.


Program Implementation: During the Program

Implementing a successful STARTALK program requires you to complete multiple program management and instructional tasks. In this section, you will find resources that help you implement an effective program that aligns with your proposal. Please refer to your program’s task list timeline in SOPHIE for due dates.

▼ Program Management Tasks & Resources

survey webpage thumbnail Instruct Parents of K-5 Participants to Complete the Parent Survey

This survey collects participants’ educational and demographic background information. Share the link STARTALK provides in SOPHIE with parents of K-5 participants before or shortly after your program begins.

survey webpage thumbnail Facilitate Instructor Survey

This survey helps STARTALK learn more about instructors’ experience and contribute to the development of future support materials and activities for STARTALK instructors. Administer the instructor survey to all program instructors near the end of your program.

startalk logo star Host and Support Site Visitors

During their visit, the site visit team provides feedback on what is working well in terms of program management, logistics, and instructional design. As part of the site visit, the site visit team will conduct interviews with the program director, program instructors, and program participants. The site visit team needs a private place to meet throughout the site visit day to prepare for and conduct the discussion of its findings with your program director.

startalk site visit lookfors documents thumbnail Review and Respond to the Site Visit Part of the Program Implementation Report

After the site visit, the team leader will submit a report documenting the team's findings based on the discussion at the end of the site visit day. Team leaders will finalize the report by the end of your program. You can comment on the report findings in SOPHIE five days after your program’s end date.

survey webpage thumbnail Instruct Participants to Complete the Participant Survey

This survey collects participants’ educational, professional, and demographic backgrounds, and includes an evaluation of your program. Share the link STARTALK will provide in SOPHIE with student participants in grades 6-16 or teacher participants near the end of your program.


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▼ Student Program Instructional Tasks & Resources

startalk logo star Submit Student Evidence from Two Performance Tasks to the Team Leader

Performance tasks demonstrate how well learners are meeting program Can-Do Statements and provide evidence of progress. Share student evidence from two performance tasks with your team leader.

startalk logo star Submit Three Learning Plans for Each Class to the Team Leader

Provide the site visit team with a digital or print copy of the learning plans for the day before, day of, and day after the site visit, so that the site visit team can observe learning episodes within the context of the curriculum. Make other learning plans (from the beginning of the program through the day prior to the visit) available on the day of the site visit..

▼ Teacher Program Instructional Tasks & Resources

Catalyst logo Facilitate Uploading Evidence of Program Goals to Catalyst

Facilitate and support the process for participants to use Catalyst as an online portfolio to document their products, evidence of learning, and personal reflections.


Program Implementation: After the Program

Implementing a successful STARTALK program requires you to complete multiple program management tasks. In this section, you will find resources that ask you to reflect and report on the implementation of your program. Please refer to your program’s task list timeline in SOPHIE for specific due dates.

▼ Program Management Tasks & Resources

Final Report document thumbnail Submit Final Report

All STARTALK programs must complete a final report. STARTALK reviews these reports carefully, and uses the information you provide in them to inform future decisions about STARTALK. You must complete the final report in SOPHIE. All final reports are due by September 15, 2021.

people in video conference thumbnail Participate in the Fall Conference

Register yourself and appropriate staff for the fall conference and make hotel and travel reservations.

    Additional information TBA
startalk logo star Post-Program Activities Report

If your program completes additional activities using STARTALK funds after the summer, then you will complete this report.

This report helps STARTALK and its funders know more about how you support STARTALK participants after the summer ends. It also gives you the opportunity to share with us any insights from the fall and winter. This report is due March 31, 2021.

    Coming soon
survey webpage thumbnail Complete Team Leader Feedback Survey

This survey gives you, as program director, the opportunity to give STARTALK Central feedback on your team leader’s performance. STARTALK will use that feedback to improve team leader training. A link to this survey will be emailed to you after your program ends..

survey webpage thumbnail Complete Program Impact Survey

The STARTALK program has continued to have a positive impact on its participants, instructors, institutions, communities, and the world language community, thanks to your extraordinary efforts in planning for and implementing your student and teacher programs. Since 2010, we have been requesting your help in documenting that impact from your perspective and this data has been used over and over to document STARTALK’s success and to strategize for its future.

A link to this survey will be emailed to you in February 2022.


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