Aflta district Leader Guidelines


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AFLTA District Leader Guidelines
Introduction

In the Arkansas Foreign Language Teachers Association (AFLTA), the five geographical districts were created to serve the needs of teachers in all areas of the state. Because Arkansas is a predominantly rural state with many small school districts located far from population centers, it is critical for AFLTA to work to encourage networking and shared resources in professional development with teachers who might otherwise go for long periods of time without having such opportunities. The leaders of these districts have a dual responsibility: to lead AFLTA activities such as conferences and festivals in their areas and to represent the teachers in their areas at the state level of the organization. This guidelines document has been created to help district leaders accomplish both goals efficiently and effectively.
The districts were designed to operate much like the state organization does but on the local level. However, AFTLA recognizes that district management is not a “one size fits all” proposition. Some aspects of district management are required in order to maintain a standard of service for foreign language teachers around the state and to maintain financial records in accordance with state and federal law. Other matters can be decided at the local level and handled in the way that best suits the teachers and leadership of each district. These guidelines will explain what all districts are required to do and will indicate which decisions can be made by district level personnel. They will also provide a framework for the support that is offered to the districts by the state organization.
AFLTA recognizes that all district leaders work as dedicated volunteers. We know that the work of the organization depends on the continued willingness of teachers around the state to give of themselves and their time to improve our profession for the ultimate good of our students. We are deeply indebted to all of these leaders and are committed to working with them and for them. AFLTA exists to serve foreign language teachers in this state in whatever ways we can. Our intention is that these guidelines will be helpful, especially to new district leaders and to those who continue to work to make AFLTA a success.
Basic Responsibilities

The AFLTA state organization intends for each district to host a conference each fall featuring at least six hours of high-quality, standards-based professional development and a foreign language festival in the spring featuring competitions in several areas that also serve as qualifiers for the state festival. The district festival must comply with the state Festival Guidelines although it may include any number of competitions or events that are not repeated at the state level.

The district leader is expected to attend (or send a proxy, according to the AFLTA Bylaws, to) two meetings of the Board of Directors, one in the fall and one in the spring in conjunction with the Spring Conference. AFLTA also expects each district to maintain an Internet presence through a website or wikispace to inform members about district events and link to the state website at aflta.org. These are the basic requirements for districts and may be supplemented in many ways by any district, i.e. summer professional development opportunities (perhaps in conjunction with a local education cooperative or university), enrichment experiences for teachers and students, immersion experiences, etc.
District Leadership

While AFLTA recognizes the uniqueness of each district, there is a need for some uniformity within our organization. While there is certainly flexibility in the structuring of offices, AFLTA strongly suggests the following members of a leadership team be selected:

  • District Leader/Executive Director (Treasurer) *This can be split into two positions, although most district leaders prefer to handle the finances, and one person must be ultimately responsible for the finances.

  • Recording Secretary

  • Festival Chair

  • Fall Conference Chair

  • Communications Director

Since each AFLTA district operates like a local, mini AFLTA, the above mentioned jobs mirror AFLTA Board positions. Job descriptions for the AFLTA Board can be modified for the district level to create clear, concise job descriptions for district leaders.

The intention of the state organization is that the district leader will be elected by the district at the fall conference. The district leader will serve a two-year term of office to begin on April 1 of the year following his/her election and to conclude on March 31 two years later. Other offices within the district can be filled in whatever manner is most expedient for the district. For example, the district leader may choose to appoint the other members of the team and have them confirmed by the district membership. In order to insure continuity in district affairs, all officers should take an active role in finding their own successors and mentoring/training those people to take over at the end of the term of the current officers.
Fall Conference

The district fall conference is a very important opportunity to serve local teachers. AFLTA maintains an approval code from the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) in order to certify the professional development hours for teachers and school districts. It is important that every district fall conference provide at least six (6) hours of professional development for teachers who attend in order to qualify for the approval code. The state organization provides the services of the Vice President for Professional Development to assist districts in planning, organizing, and certifying their professional development hours at the fall conferences and other events. The following sections outline some considerations in planning district fall conferences.
General:  

District conferences were established to offer quality foreign language professional development (PD) and to provide an opportunity for teachers to meet, exchange ideas, and develop a regional support network.  District leaders often have a leadership team; they meet and plan the conference.  The team members then can each take responsibility for certain aspects of the conference; district members can be asked to help, as well.  (Get help with registration, have a host, ask someone to take care of door prizes, have someone make needed signs, etc.)  It is very helpful to have a program chair to take care of program planning, but some district leaders prefer to plan the program. 

 

Schedule:

It is a challenge to have six (6) hours of PD, announcements, lunch, breaks, etc., without making a very long conference day.  Some districts plan 30 minutes for registration and coffee/snacks.  Announcements can be incorporated before or after the keynote speaker in a general session.  Some districts manage to offer lunch on-site; others release participants for lunch on their own (definitely takes more time but there is not the hassle of money and number of lunches to order).  One successful model has been followed in a district that meets at an education cooperative and has lunch delivered (or someone picks up the lunch); members have "leadership training" or a "teaching strategies discussion" and exchange ideas as they eat lunch.  This can work because the district usually has approximately 25 participants; a leader is needed to keep the discussion on track. 

 

Program:  

Each fall conference offers at least six (6) hours of appropriate PD.  Each presentation must be consistent with at least one of the focus areas in the ADE PD Rules; these focus areas should be on the proposal form or attached to it.  Various conferences have some characteristics of the AFLTA Spring Conference.  Some conferences have a keynote workshop (2-3 hours) followed by shorter individual sessions.  Conferences with many participants offer several concurrent sessions rather than offering just one session at each time period.  There may be separate French and Spanish sessions (immersion, cooking, etc.) during one of the concurrent session times.  Some districts include a short (1/2 hour) Festival Leadership Session for festival updates, determining responsibilities, etc. A very short Festival Leadership Session may be acceptable as PD; Leadership/Advocacy is one of the focus areas. Some conferences have a theme and try to relate presentations to that theme (perhaps using an AFLTA or ACTFL theme).  

In addition to posting proposal forms for presenters on the district website and soliciting volunteers for presentations, the district leaders or program chairs contact members to try to persuade them to do a presentation.  The districts with more available funds may have an out-of-state presenter for a keynote workshop.  Among AFLTA members, there are many excellent presenters, also. University faculty members often serve as presenters and may know of others who would present sessions. In some districts, most presentations are by district members.  District leaders are encouraged to contact teachers within the district to present sessions at district conferences in order to introduce them to the experience and to encourage the sharing of best practices. Other ideas for presenters include Amity aides, Fulbright Scholars, etc.

 

Date, Time, Location

Depending on the site, district leaders may want to provide directions or a map (if on a campus) on the district website.  A pre-conference announcement by email or postcard could direct people to the website for additional information.  Conference starting time depends on the location and distance that participants have to drive.

 

Documents

The following is a list of documents that district leaders need to prepare for the fall district conference. Those marked ** will be provided by the VP for Professional Development each year. Templates are provided at the end of this document. District leaders will need to tailor the forms to include their own conference and contact information. These forms should be posted to the district website as early in the planning process as possible and copies provided to the VP for Professional Development when requested. Certain paperwork must be kept on file by the organization as mandated by the ADE in order for AFLTA to continue to be able to receive the ADE approval code for professional development offered by the organization.
 

1)  **Proposal form  (one from each session)

2)  **Registration form  ( one from each participant)

3)  Program  (one for each participant)

4)  Sign-in/mailing list information form  (one form filled out by all participants at registration - including e-mail address)

5)  Sign-in sheets for individual sessions  (one form for each session)

6)  **Confirmation of attendance form  (one for each participant) 
Financial

Due to federal responsibilities and our obligation to our membership, finances simply cannot be compromised. We anticipate that everyone who accepts a leadership position in AFLTA will keep the best interests of the organization in mind at all times and will act at all times with the highest level of professionalism and personal responsibility. Because AFLTA must provide a thorough accounting of all our financial resources to the federal government, AFLTA has developed the following procedures to help district leaders manage finances and financial reporting to the state organization.

Checking Account:

AFLTA maintains checking accounts for all districts and makes available basic funding for all districts on an annual basis. District leaders will consult with the AFLTA Executive Director (ED), who is the organization’s financial officer, upon taking office in order to complete paperwork to be listed on the account. If requested by the ED, the district leader will submit a written (or email) request annually for budgeted funds to be deposited in the district’s account. Funds allotted to districts by the state organization are separate from the AFLTA state account. Any overdrafts and associated charges will be deducted from the district’s allotted funds for the next year.
Although the district’s debit card can be used for cash withdrawals when it is absolutely necessary (for example, a local business providing goods/services for a district event does not accept debit cards), it should be avoided whenever possible because of accounting concerns. When cash withdrawals must be made, the district leader must keep a receipt and record an explanation of the cash expense. Questions about cash withdrawals should always be directed to the ED.
Reporting:

Questions about appropriate district expenditures should always be forwarded to the AFLTA ED. An expanded version of the following form/information will be provided to district leaders in digital format by the ED for financial reporting.
District Financial Worksheet

The AFLTA Executive Director is required to file federal income taxes at the end of every fiscal year. Our fiscal year ends Aug. 31st. In order to protect our organization and ourselves, it is vital that we keep excellent financial records. As district leader, it is your responsibility to keep track of your deposits and expenses. District leaders are listed as signatory on the district accounts along with the AFLTA Executive Director. As signatory, you are responsible for the district checking account. In order to help the Executive Director keep track of the AFLTA checking accounts and assist with the annual tax returns, district leaders are required to submit a Fall Financial Report and a Spring Financial Report. Please use the forms below when submitting your bi-annual financial reports. Any questions concerning the forms should be addressed to the AFLTA Executive Director. Thank you for helping AFLTA continue the tradition of solid financial management.

Important Considerations

  • If the debit card is used, please write “debit” in the Check # column.

  • Do NOT use the debit card to withdraw money from an ATM, unless there is clear documentation and a valid reason for doing so.

  • ALL purchases must have a receipt.

  • The Fall Financial Worksheet is due on December 15th every year and the Spring Financial Worksheet is due by June 15th. Please submit your reports directly to the Executive Director.

  • Photocopies of all receipts must be attached to the forms when submitted.

Credits

Date

Type of Deposit

Notes

Amount of Deposit

Account Balance




























































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