The World Languages program at the Middle School level offers the following options for students coming from the Primary, as well as for new students:
In the Middle School, students may choose to continue to study Spanish or begin to study French. Students complete up to two years of Upper School language classes over the course of four years of study in the Middle School. Grades 5 and 7 are the most common years of entry into World Language study, as the introductory level is offered. Students who wish to join existing sixth- or eighth-grade language classes will be evaluated by the responsible language teachers to see whether they can be successfully integrated. Remedial and introductory study is offered during the summer. Students who successfully complete the Middle School program in Spanish or French matriculate into the second or third year of the language in the Upper School respectively.
Classes are conducted in target language, and emphasis of instruction are based in the acquisition of the four language skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening. The goal of language learning in the Middle School is to provide students with the tools they need to make strides in target language proficiency. Students learn grammar, culture, and conversational language relevant to their life experience, in an effort to help them become linguistically competent, to recognize contexts for language use outside the classroom, and to become more aware of the global community.
Language survey is offered to new 6th grade students in the Middle School. This class is designed to introduce students to basic conversation in Spanish and French, and to present aspects of culture in the Spanish and French speaking world. This helps equip students to make a more educated and experience based choice of the language they will begin to study formally the following year.
As a school-wide department we take great pride in our collaboration with the Center for Global Citizenship. The Center sends students on trips to Panamá, Paris, The British Virgin Islands, and Quebec. These trips are open to 7th and 8th graders regardless of the language the student is taking at school, as they are designed with a cultural focus, though students studying a language most certainly have opportunities for practice and application. These trips very much serve as key experiences for students to make real-world connections with the classroom.
In the Upper School, the Global Scholars program offers students specific insight into the world in which their second language is spoken and goes very much hand-in-hand with our department. In the Middle School, Girls Global offers interactive programming designed to nurture a broader understanding of the world, think critically about current world events, and to help students better understand how the United States fits into a global context.