Overview

The United States’ growing involvement in the political and economic affairs of the world demands that, more than ever before, World Languages play an essential role in a school’s curriculum. To promote effective communication, the World Languages Department seeks to have students achieve a substantial degree of mastery in French, Spanish, German, Italian , Russian and Chinese (Mandarin). In addition to mastering the basic grammar and vocabulary of the language, students come to understand the history of the people, their culture and contributions in the shaping of today’s world. Through the study of the target language, it is expected that students will gain the skills and insights to participate effectively in diverse multilingual communities. It is hoped that the critical thinking skills acquired through language study can be applied to other academic disciplines. Cultural exchanges and projects are an integral part of the language program.

It is important for students to be adequately prepared in a foreign language in order to do well in subsequent courses. Since the study of Honors French, German, and Spanish I are offered in the Middle Schools in grades 7 and 8, there are two sequences of study at the high school for these languages. Students are encouraged to continue in grades 9-12 with Honors French, German, or Spanish, level II through V. This is a fully articulated program and is designed to develop the skills of communication and to provide an in-depth view of another culture and civilization. Students who are beginning their language study in the high school may elect Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Italian, Russian or Spanish.

If it becomes apparent that a student was placed too low in a language sequence, the student may move up to a higher-level course. The action must be recommended by the teacher and the student must pass the final examination for the course. All such movement must be approved by the principal.

Parents and students should bear in mind that, although only 5 credits in world languages is required to graduate high school, those planning on attending college should complete a minimum of 10 credits, with the most elite colleges requiring three or four years of a world language.

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