New venture leverages language expertise of Middlebury College and its Language Schools, and K12's leadership in online education to develop new world-class online foreign language programs
MIDDLEBURY, Vt., & HERNDON, Va., April 14, 2010—Middlebury College, the leader in foreign language teaching among the nation's higher education institutions, and K12 Inc. (NYSE: LRN), a technology-based education company and national leader in online learning, have announced an agreement to form a new venture that will create innovative, high-quality online language programs for pre-college students. Building on Middlebury's long history of leadership in language teaching and K12's expertise in online education, the new company will create and distribute online language learning courses. It will also expand the Middlebury-Monterey Language Academy, a language immersion summer program for middle and high school students. The new venture will be called Middlebury Interactive Languages.
"The partnership between Middlebury and K12 will expand access to high-quality language learning at a critical juncture," said Ronald D. Liebowitz, president of Middlebury College. "At a time when foreign language opportunities for primary and secondary school students in this country are declining, the need and demand for high-quality language learning is growing exponentially. Learning foreign languages and cultures has never been more important to our nation's global competitiveness."
Language faculty from Middlebury and its renowned Language Schools will work with K12 to develop and manage the academic content of the Web-based language courses, which K12 will offer through its online education programs. The first courses, beginner French and Spanish for high school students, will be available in late summer 2010.
"Middlebury Interactive Languages will set a new standard in the language learning industry," said Ron Packard, founder and chief executive officer of K12 Inc. "The need for strong foreign language skills is critical in today's global economy. It is why K12 has proactively expanded its foreign language course offerings through successful acquisitions, investments and strategic alliances. K12 is excited to join with Middlebury College, a prestigious institution with unparalleled expertise in foreign language instruction."
Middlebury Interactive Languages will expand foreign language learning opportunities for students and offer an effective and engaging learning experience. The new courses will use features such as animation, music, videos and other elements that immerse students in new languages. These components will provide a lively base for daily exercises to practice listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. Instructional games, clubs and activities will give students a wide variety of additional cultural and co-curricular opportunities.
Students will have access to qualified language instructors, native or near-native speakers of the language, as well as other students participating in the course. Students will also complete interactive, student-to-student virtual collaboration assignments.
Designed with a great deal of flexibility, the courses will benefit the individual learner who might otherwise have no access to interactive, quality foreign language instruction. Language instructors will also be able use the material to supplement teaching in a regular classroom environment.
In addition to offering online language programs, the new company will expand the Middlebury-Monterey Language Academy (MMLA), an intensive language immersion summer program for students in grades 8-12. MMLA is a collaborative venture between the Middlebury College Language Schools and the Monterey Institute of International Studies, a graduate school in Monterey, Calif., and an affiliate of Middlebury College. Founded in 2008, MMLA now offers Arabic, Chinese, French, German and Spanish at its summer four-week residential session at four campuses: Green Mountain College in Vermont; Oberlin College in Ohio; Pomona College in California and a site run in conjunction with the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth at Bard College at Simon's Rock in Massachusetts.
"As the head of a company that works in 170 countries, I am acutely aware of the importance of language skills," said Samuel J. Palmisano, chairman and chief executive officer of IBM Corporation. "The ability to communicate—and to understand—will be essential in keeping America competitive in a global economy. To develop those skills, our young people—the entrepreneurs, leaders and innovators of tomorrow—must begin at an early age to master languages and cultures beyond their own. I am heartened that Middlebury College and K12 are addressing this critical need. Middlebury's leadership in language teaching and K12's experience in online education make for a powerful combination."
More information, including a list of FAQs, profiles of the new online program's academic development team, the history of Middlebury's language expertise and several videos are available at http://www.middlebury.edu/mil/.
About Middlebury College
Middlebury College, one of the country's top liberal arts colleges, offers a rigorous liberal arts curriculum that is particularly strong in languages, international studies, environmental studies, sciences and literature. About 2,400 students attend Middlebury, which was founded in 1800 and is located in Middlebury, Vt. The college is led by President Ronald D. Liebowitz, a faculty member at Middlebury since 1984, who was named one of "The 10 Best College Presidents" by Time magazine in 2009.
The Middlebury College Language Schools have been a longtime leader in language education. Over the past six decades alone more than 40,000 students from all walks of life have attended one or more of the Language Schools summer sessions, with 11,000 of them having earned advanced degrees from the Chinese, French, German, Italian, Russian, and Spanish Schools. The first of the 10 Language Schools, the German School, was founded in 1915. Under the guidance of faculty from colleges and universities around the world, students immerse themselves in their target language every summer when the Language Schools are in session. Students agree to abide by the Language Pledge, a formal commitment to speak only the language of study, during the entire summer session.
The Language Schools offer Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Portuguese and Spanish. In 2009, Middlebury opened an additional site for its summer Language Schools at Mills College in Oakland, Calif., and offers instruction there in French, Spanish and Arabic. Middlebury also operates the C.V. Starr-Middlebury Schools Abroad during the regular academic year in 34 cities across 13 countries.
The Middlebury-Monterey Language Academy (MMLA), an intensive language immersion summer program for students in grades 8-12, is a collaboration between the Middlebury Language Schools and the Monterey Institute of International Studies, a graduate school in Monterey, Calif., and an affiliate of Middlebury College since 2004. MMLA offers Arabic, Chinese, French, German and Spanish during its annual four-week residential session.
For more information, visit www.middlebury.edu.
About K12 Inc.
K12 Inc. (NYSE: LRN), a technology-based education company based in Herndon, VA, is the nation's largest provider of proprietary curriculum and online education programs to students in kindergarten through high school.
K12 provides high quality, customized education solutions to school districts, charter schools, and directly to families ranging from individual courses to classroom and hybrid programs to full-time virtual school programs.
Since K12 was founded in 2000, it has delivered more than 1.5 million courses to over 150,000 students worldwide. In partnership with charter schools and school districts, K12 operates public virtual schools in 25 states and the District of Columbia. K12 Inc. also operates the K12 International Academy, an accredited, diploma-granting online private school serving students in more than 40 countries. Recent graduates of K12 virtual schools have been accepted at more than 150 post-secondary schools, including many top-ranked universities and colleges.
In 2007, K12 acquired Utah-based Power Glide Language Courses, Inc. (d.b.a. powerspeaK12), a nationally-recognized developer of foreign language courses for elementary and secondary school students. Accredited by the Northwest Association of Accredited Schools (NAAS), powerspeaK12 provides courses for students in grades 3-12 across the most popular languages, including Spanish, French, German, Latin and Chinese.
K12 Inc. is accredited through the Commission on International Trans-Regional Accreditation (CITA), which recently joined AdvancED, the world's largest education community. K12's mission is to provide any child the curriculum and tools to maximize success in life, regardless of geographic, financial or demographic circumstances.
For more information, visit http://www.k12.com.
© 2010 K12 Inc. and Middlebury College. K12 and powerspeak12 are registered trademarks, and the K12 logo and K12 International Academy are trademarks of K12 Inc. Middlebury is a registered trademark of The President and Fellows of Middlebury College. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.