StarTalk FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

STARTALK is a federally-funded program established by the National Security Initiative “to expand foreign language education in under-taught critical languages” (from STARTALK website). Arlington Public Schools received the STARTALK grant for the eleventh consecutive year in 2017.  STARTALK is a three-week intensive summer program, in Arabic and Chinese, for rising 6-8 grade students.

What is the cost of the program?
This is a free program for students.

Can students who have participated in prior STARTALK programs return?
Yes, students are welcome to participate during more than one summer.

Can students who are taking or have taken Arabic or Chinese during the school year participate in STARTALK?
The program is intended for students with little to no previous experience with the language. The developing course is most appropriate for students who have had no more than two years of formal study in the language (i.e. levels 1 or 2 in school). The program is not intended for students who are already highly proficient in Arabic or Chinese.

What are the types of programs available?
There are both a beginning course and a developing course for Arabic and Chinese (dependent upon interest). The developing course is not intended for native or heritage speakers nor those who have studied formally for more than two years. Our experience with STARTALK has shown that students who are proficient in these languages do not derive additional benefits from this program, given the current constraints.

How do we register?
Please complete the registration form online.

Is the program open to non-APS students?
Priority will be given to Arlington residents. Non-Arlington residents will be considered if space is available.

What is the time commitment?
In order for the program to work effectively, students are asked to commit to participating for the entire 15-day duration of the program. There is an established curriculum with many interconnected activities that build upon each other. Thus, students will receive the greatest benefit by attending all 15 days. One of the components of our evaluation as the recipient of a federal grant is our success with attendance and attrition during the program. Therefore, not committing to the whole three weeks may impact future funding. In addition, many students are anxious to participate and will be placed on a waiting list if the need arises. If your family makes plans during this program, please consider giving your spot to a student who will commit for the full 15 days.

What if our plans change? Are there penalties for cancellation?
There are no penalties for cancellation but please notify the World Languages office immediately so that a student on the waiting list can be offered the opportunity.

What is the grade range of students for the program?
The APS STARTALK summer program is for rising 6-8 grade students.

What are the location and times of the programs? (Tentative)
Location: Kenmore Middle School
Time: 8:20 a.m. – 12:50 p.m.

What type of transportation is available?
Bus transportation is available to Arlington Public Schools students.