Commissioner of Education Jason E. Glass is the recipient of the Kentucky World Language Association’s (KWLA) 2021 Amici Linguarum (Friend of Languages) Award in the education category. He received the award on Sept. 17 during KWLA’s virtual awards ceremony.
“Here at the Kentucky Department of Education, we are committed to providing a more equitable education system for all students,” Glass said. “Introducing them to world languages and cultures is vital to providing our students with a global perspective that will benefit them greatly as they work toward not only bettering our state and country, but also bettering our world.”
The Amici Linguarum award is presented each year by the KWLA and recognizes individuals or organizations who are not directly involved in the teaching of world languages for their significant contributions to the profession. This year, for the first time in KWLA history, this award is recognizing individuals from the world of education and those who are not.
“Our committee was most impressed with Dr. Glass’ efforts to reach all students in the state of Kentucky, no matter the language, and his passion in protecting them during these difficult times and helping them reach their potential,” said Alfonso De Torres Núñez, chair of the KWLA Awards Committee. “It also was impressive to learn of his efforts to inspire students to use their language skills to explore avenues that may lead them in the future to jobs, success and opportunities in life.”
Glass was recognized for his work in supporting the revised Kentucky Academic Standards for World Language, as well as for his endorsement of the Seal of Biliteracy. The seal, which is placed on a high school diploma, recognizes students who have studied and become proficient in at least two languages.
“Kentucky has long been at the forefront of proficiency-based language teaching,” Glass said. “I’m honored to receive this award and I am so proud to work alongside the tremendous world language professionals here in the Commonwealth.”
Throughout Glass’ tenure as the Commonwealth’s commissioner of education, he has shown that world language skills and cultural awareness are valued and celebrated in Kentucky, his nominator said.
In April, Glass kicked off a virtual listening tour to hear from stakeholders about their long-term aspirations for the state’s education system. Knowing he needed to reach as many individuals as possible, he decided to host one stop completely in Spanish.
“We wanted to hear from all Kentuckians,” Glass said. “I think we were successful in getting a broad representation of the state to participate and share their perspectives. It gets back to really engaging, involving and hearing directly from our stakeholders in the state and taking action based on what they say. This is an approach I wanted to add to the Kentucky Department of Education. People can expect that this is how we intend to do business.”
Findings from the listening tour will be revealed at the department’s upcoming Kentucky Education Summit. Registration for the summit is free and open through Oct. 29.
Founded in 1974, the Kentucky World Language Association is dedicated to the improvement and expansion of the teaching and learning of all languages at all levels of instruction. The KWLA Awards Program was designed to further advance the group’s mission to better serve the world language teachers and students of Kentucky.