About Me

Alyssa Villarreal, is the President of Advance Learning and World Language Coordinator for Shelby County Schools (SCS) in Memphis, TN. Ms. Villarreal holds two masters degrees (Curriculum and instruction and educational leadership). As the World Language Coordinator for Shelby County Schools (SCS), she coordinates the district’s language program, which includes programs in eight languages including Spanish, French, German, Russian, Latin, Japanese, Arabic and Chinese. Ms. Villarreal has written and directed three successful Foreign Language Assistance program (FLAP) grants in her nine-year tenure in SCS. The first was to build a K-12 Russian program and was received in 2007. She was one of eight World Language Coordinators nationally to receive a 2008 FLAP grant to build K-12 global villages in Japanese, Arabic, Russian, and Chinese. In addition to her district duties, she has worked as the Foreign Language methods instructor for the University of Memphis. She has served as program director of three STARTALK programs for Memphis City Schools, consultant to other STARTALK programs and a STARTALK site visitor.

In addition to her district duties, she has worked as the Foreign Language methods instructor for the University of Memphis. She is currently serving as President of the National Association of District Supervisors of Foreign Languages (NADSFL) and was named the 2012 NADSFL Supervisor of the Year.

How do you know they know?
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How do you know they know?

I think the act of teaching is a rather courageous process. It may not always be regarded as such, but it nonetheless is a courageous act. Through teaching we really put our best selves forward. I really believe (yes you’ve already heard this a hundred times but as a reminder…) that all teachers set out […]

A Department Divided
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A Department Divided

There you are in a professional development session on proficiency. The light bulb goes off! “Why have I not been doing this all along?” you think to yourself. You find yourself looking for more information to help you make the shift to a proficiency-based practice. You find yourself reading blogs, participating religiously in Langchat, surfing […]

Product v. Process
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Product v. Process

I have been told at times how much people love our curriculum in Shelby County Schools (SCS). It is really flattering to see that your hard work has received some praise or acceptance outside of your context. At the same time I have also been asked, if it’s good why do we keep revising it? […]

Performance a la Mode
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Performance a la Mode

Thanks to a couple of Foreign Language Assistance Program (FLAP) grants I was very fortunate to be able to build K-12 language continuums. Working in the 21st largest district in the country, providing a meaningful language experience for all students in all 125 elementary schools was out of reach. I was  however, able to build a LCTL […]

The Path to Proficiency
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The Path to Proficiency

We have been working on realizing our goal of having performance-driven world language instruction in our district for many years. When shifts to our evaluation process came for world language teachers in 2011, it became urgent that we really own performance-driven teaching, learning, and assessment because jobs were on the line. Teachers could be dismissed […]

Keys to Planning
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Keys to Planning

Time and time again teachers say to me “Just show me what a lesson looks like… a good one”. At times I wish there were a magic formula to give teachers insights to the entire process of planning, and most of the time I am glad there is not a magic formula because that is […]

Mindsets
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Mindsets

I did not come to teaching via a direct path. I knew I wanted to help kids, but I started as a psychology major. After working for several years at a residential facility while pursuing my degree, I realized that perhaps there was a better way to help kids before they got “locked up.” Meanwhile, […]

Shifting Gears
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Shifting Gears

If students can’t use the language they are learning for practical – REAL WORLD – purposes then why do we do what we do? I think (desperately hope) that most teachers agree our focus should be on teaching students how to use the languages they are learning. Many of us have attended a workshop on proficiency or maybe […]

An EPIC Journey
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An EPIC Journey

Earlier this year, I like millions of others made a decision to work on myself this year. I didn’t call it a resolution because I wanted it to stick. Sparing you the details, I finally joined a gym. Not anything special, lots of people join gyms… but I joined a Crossfit gym, well it’s a […]