Program Resources

STARTALK provides online resources designed to support grant recipients as they develop and implement their programs, collect evidence of learning, and reflect on program results. These resources are divided into the following sections below: program management, curriculum resources for student and teacher programs, learning plan development resources, and site visit resources.

These resources will help programs as they move from proposal to final report, and are focused and aligned to encourage a mindset of continual improvement. The document Focus and Aligned with a Growth Mindset provides an overview of the process.

STARTALK programs are built around best practices in world language education, and guided by four foundational resources:

The STARTALK Principles for Effective Teaching and Learning 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.

The Teacher Effectiveness in Language Learning (TELL) Framework identifies the characteristics and behaviors that effective language teachers possess. This framework is used to determine specific goals for teacher programs as well as professional development targets for instructors in student programs.

The World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages, commonly referred to as the “five Cs,” 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.

NCSSFL-ACTFL 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.


Program Management

STARTALK is a federal grant program with administrative and financial requirements that all programs must meet. These requirements are designed to support effective program management and implementation. To meet these requirements, the National Security Agency (NSA) and STARTALK Central have developed processes for the management of this grant.

▼ Click to view requirements and resources

What Is Your Program Required to Do? What Key Resources Are Available to Help Your Program Meet the Requirements?
  • Implement a program that matches your approved program proposal: seek approval from STARTALK before making any changes that cause your program to differ from the approved proposal.

  • Follow all guidance and program management requirements provided by STARTALK: review all guides and communication carefully, keep contact information up-to-date, attend required STARTALK events, and respond to requests in a timely manner.

  • Secure consent from participants: have program participants, or minor participant’s parents, complete online or paper consent forms.

  • Seek approval from NSA for any budget changes: spend grant funds according to your approved budget and submit electronic invoices to the NSA for your program; request permission before making any changes.

  • Provide program data to STARTALK: Administer and participate in STARTALK surveys in order to collect feedback from your participants, home institution and community.

  • Collect Evidence of Learning: Student programs may use Pulsar to document student growth.

  • Submit a final report: At the end of the program, reflect on your program to write a final report on how your STARTALK program impacted the participants, home institutions, and community and reflect on how the program might be improved in future years.

Click below to access these program management resources and other program resources.

View all Program Management Resources



Curriculum Development in Student Programs

STARTALK provides programs with a curriculum template, knowing that a common curriculum development process will facilitate the sharing of units, instructional strategies, and quality materials within STARTALK Student programs.

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What Is Your Program Required to Do? What Key Resources Are Available to Help Your Program Meet the Requirements?
  • Develop your curriculum: Develop a curriculum for your program based on your proposal and using the curriculum template within SOPHIE. New student programs are expected to use or adapt one of the model STARTALK curricula. Returning student programs can opt to use a model curricula or design their own curriculum.

  • Work with a team leader to revise 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 and publish curricula no later than one week prior to the start of the program.

  • Prepare to implement your curriculum: Share curriculum with instructional staff and develop learning plans.

  • Curriculum Development Guide: This guide provides programs with detailed information about the structure and content of each stage of the STARTALK curriculum template along with step-by-step instructions for completing each stage.

  • Curriculum Review Questions: These questions are used by programs as they develop the curriculum and by team leaders when they review and provide feedback on the curriculum.

  • Language Functions: This is a list of possible functions that describe how learners and teachers process input or produce language output. These language functions drive the development of lesson can-do statements.

  • STARTALK Model Curricula: The STARTALK model curricula focus on themes of identity and travel. They serve as examples and were created for students of different ages and proficiency levels. Student programs are encouraged to adapt the model curricula to meet the specific needs of learners in their programs.

  • Key Learning Experiences Template: This template serves as a bridge document between the lesson can-do statements found in stage three of the student curriculum and the development of specific learning plans.

Click below to access these curriculum resources and other curriculum development tools.

View all Curriculum Resources for Student Programs



Curriculum Development in Teacher Programs

STARTALK provides programs with a curriculum template, knowing that a common curriculum development process will facilitate the sharing of units, instructional strategies, and quality materials within STARTALK Teacher programs.

▼ Click to view requirements and resources

What Is Your Program Required to Do? What Key Resources Are Available to Help Your Program Meet the Requirements?
  • Develop your curriculum: Design a curriculum for your program based on your proposal and the TELL domains you’ve identified for your program, using the curriculum template within SOPHIE.

  • Work with a team leader to revise 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 and publish curricula no later than one week prior to the start of the program.

  • Prepare to implement your curriculum: Share curriculum documents with all instructors involved in the program.

  • Curriculum Development Guide: This guide provides programs with detailed information about the structure and content of each stage of the STARTALK curriculum template, along with step-by-step instructions for completing each stage.

  • Curriculum Review Questions: These questions are used by programs as they develop the curriculum and by team leaders when they review and provide feedback on the curriculum.

  • STARTALK Sample Curricula: The STARTALK sample curricula are selected from former STARTALK programs that were well designed and showcase how to plan effectively using the STARTALK curriculum template.

Click below to access these curriculum resources and other curriculum development tools.

View all Curriculum Resources for Teacher Programs



Learning Plan Development in Student Programs

STARTALK student programs write daily learning plans to clearly communicate the purpose of the lesson. STARTALK acknowledges there are many lesson plan templates available; however, in order to ensure a strong connection to the approved curriculum, programs are required to use the learning plan template specifically designed for STARTALK programs.

▼ Click to view requirements and resources

What Is Your Program Required to Do? What Key Resources Are Available to Help Your Program Meet the Requirements?
  • Develop learning plans: 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.

  • Provide access to learning plans: Programs make all learning plans available to the site visit team and provide your team leaders with a digital or print copy of the learning plans for the day before, day of, and day after the site visit.

  • Share learning plans: Share at least one learning plan with the STARTALK community using CREATE.

  • Learning Plan Guide for Student Programs: This learning plan guide provides detailed explanations, defines key terms, and shares a sample plan to guide teachers and program administrators through the learning plan development process.

  • Learning Plan Checklist for Student Programs: This checklist is a self-assessment and reflection tool for teachers and lead instructors to ensure that learning plans are complete and ready for classroom implementation.

  • Learning Plan Template for Student Programs: The STARTALK learning plan template is designed to help teachers connect lesson can-do statements developed in stage 3 of the curriculum development process to the learning experiences in a program. These templates are available as downloadable Word documents in both black and white and color versions.

  • Classroom Activities: STARTALK has identified a variety of activities designed to keep learners engaged as they process and produce language. All of the activities include a short overview description, step-by-step directions, as well as helpful tips and suggestions for differentiation. Some of the activities also include video examples, strategy guides, graphic organizers or sample materials, as well as links to additional resources.

  • STARTALK CREATE: This is an online platform for drafting, publishing, and sharing STARTALK learning plans with other educators within a program and with other programs.

  • Learning Plan Training Video: This video provides a detailed explanation of the learning plan template and explains the process of developing a learning plan that is connected to the program curriculum.

  • Model Learning Plans: These learning plans provide samples of how the model curricula might be implemented at the instructional level.

Click below to access these learning plan resources and other tools for lesson plan development.

View all Learning Plan Resources



Site Visit & Site Visit Report

All STARTALK programs are supported through a site visit, which allows a site visit team to highlight program strengths, identify short- and long-term areas for improvement, and provide formative feedback and strategies for continued improvement.

▼ Click to view requirements and resources

What Is Your Program Required to Do? What Key Resources Are Available to Help Your Program Meet the Requirements?
  • Host a site visit team that consists of the team leader, site visitor(s), and possibly STARTALK or government observers: Prepare for the visit by reviewing all guidance and logistical requirements requested by STARTALK and your team leader, and ensure the site visit day provides a comprehensive overview of the program by allowing visitors to observe all program activities taking place during the site visit day.

  • Coordinate interviews with students or participants, instructors, and other program staff.

  • Receive feedback on what is working well in terms of program management, logistics, and instructional design: Make an effort to implement feedback on how to improve program management, logistics, and instructional design in your current program. Review the site visit report in SOPHIE after the site visit and respond to site visit recommendations in future proposals.

  • Site Visit Logistics Overview: This document provides an overview of what a program must do to plan and prepare for the site visit.

  • Site Visit Interview Questions: This document allows programs to preview the interview questions the site visit team will ask participants, instructors, and other program staff.

  • Site Visit LookFors & Narrative Questions: This document allows programs to preview the criteria and questions the site visit team will address when preparing the site visit report. There are different LookFors and narrative questions for student, teacher, and online programs.

  • Site Visit Report: This document will be prepared by your team leader after the site visit and provided to you in SOPHIE.

Click below to access these and other site visit resources.

View all Site Visit Resources