The Intercultural Student Experiences is a nonprofit educational organization that provides immersion programs abroad for American teachers and students of world languages. Their mission is to prepare informed global citizens who are proficient in a second language and who are set on the road to cultural competence. The ISE seeks to recognize teachers who are exemplary in providing genuine immersion experiences for their students and the ISE Language Matters Award is given to a high school teacher who has achieved exceptional success in increasing student oral proficiency by using creative methods, exemplary motivation techniques, and authentic immersion experiences outside the classroom. The ISE provides a $250 honorarium and a framed certificate for this awardee.
The 2011 winner of the ISE Language Matters Award is Annie Winkler, Olathe Northwest High School; Olathe, Kansas.
Annie Winkler is praised by students and colleagues as an enthusiastic teacher who is able to create virtual immersion experiences within the classroom and actual immersion experiences beyond the classroom. She frequently invites native speakers into her classroom to discuss cultural and historical topics; her students are expected to create questions and engage in conversations related to the topic addressed. She consistently promotes authentic immersion experiences beyond the classroom. She encourages her students to continue their studies in Spanish, to travel and experience the language and Hispanic culture, and to use Spanish in their every-day life. She takes students to Spain every other year for a week-long immersion experience in the Spanish language and culture. One of her colleagues stated: "Annie has encouraged, enriched and promoted the Spanish language among hundreds of students throughout her career. Her students are the evidence that she deserves the ISE Language Matters Award.”