World Languages

The Academy believes that competency in a second language is an important life skill. Inspired by the principles of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language (ACTFL), the Academy’s World Language program is built on a number of assumptions outlined in ACTFL standards, which focus on communication in languages other than English, cultures, connections, comparisons, and communities.
 
World Languages offered: Spanish in Pre-K-12, French in Grades 6-12, Chinese in Grades 6-12, optional after-school Chinese in Grades 1-5, Latin in Grades 6-12, and Italian in Grades 9-12.

[Click on a Grade below to read the description]

List of 13 items.

  • Early Childhood (PK-K)

    Young children learn the sounds, orally and aurally, of the language through songs, stories, and TPTRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling), a method that uses whole language in story form while incorporating age-appropriate vocabulary and grammatical structure. Children learn the language's alphabet, numbers, house-related words, clothing, parts of the body, etc.
  • Grade 1

    Pronunciation and intonation improve through hearing and retelling stories containing idiomatic expressions. The focus is on speaking the language. 
  • Grade 2

    Children begin to learn about cultures and countries and that they are different from their own. They also connect and speak with children in countries around the world through classroom technologies. Most of the instruction is in the target language and taught by fluent faculty members.
  • Grade 3

    Children improve pronunciation and intonation in Spanish. They progress from hearing and retelling stories orally to beginning to read and a write.
  • Grade 4

    Building on the increased proficiency of students in pronunciation, intonation, and culture, students learn to read and write in the target language. Most of the instruction is in the target language and taught by fluent faculty members. Through the use of technology, students communicate face-to-face with students from countries around the world.
  • Grade 5

    Children can participate in simple conversations in the target language, have a broad understanding of a variety of cultures where Spanish is spoken, and continue to build on relationships with students in other countries through web‐based communication.
  • Grade 6

    Grade 6 French and Spanish courses are an introduction to the language. Students begin developing their reading, speaking, listening comprehension, writing and cultural competencies. The methodology used to introduce and practice lexical expressions is TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling). By the end of 6th grade, students are able to communicate in the target language using complete sentences around a theme in the present and near future tenses.


    Grade 6 Mandarin is an introductory course in which students will learn 72 basic radicals to help students understand the formation of characters (from pictograph to ideograph). They learn  sentence structures and the phonetic system including 4 tones of the Chinese language as well as approximately 150 commonly used characters along with some Chinese culture.  Students are expected to be proficient in the use (recognizing, listening, reading, speaking and writing) of  those characters, basic grammatical structures and some basic themes.


    Grade 6 Latin serves as an introduction for students about the Roman mythology, culture, history, and day‐to‐day life through the eyes of citizens living in Pompeii. Students begin to translate simple Latin passages about a Pompeian family before the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. They learn three verb tenses, one irregular verb, the use of two grammatical cases, superlative adjectives, and Latin vocabulary. The students also engage more in depth with Roman mythology through their projects every trimester.
  • Grade 7

    In the Grade 7 Spanish or French sequences students continue to develop in the areas of the five  Cs (competencies): listening (with comprehension), speaking, reading, writing and culture. Students expand the lexical, grammatical and cultural knowledge through themes about house, household items and chores, event planning, sports and health, technology, places of interest, daily routine, vacations and leisure activities in Spanish. Meanwhile in French, they explore topics about  oneself and others, entertainments, art, weekend activities, meals and food shopping as well as sports and health (including daily routine). Students will communicate in the present, past and near future.

    In Grade 7 Mandarin, students will continue to learn the formation of characters. They are proficient in the use of approximately 300 new characters, basic grammatical structures including simple compound and complex sentences, and can  read and write approximately 300 characters. While linguistic aspects of the Chinese language are the primary focus of the class, introduction to the social and cultural background of the language is an important part of the course, as well.

    In Grade 7 Latin, students continue to build their translation skills through the synthesis of increasingly complex grammatical concepts and learned vocabulary. Roman cultural topics are studied more in depth and add context to translations. Students continue to learn about Pompeii and the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. They learn more about grammatical cases and learn to conjugate and translate verbs. The students also learn more about history and Roman villas through their projects every trimester.
  • Grade 8

    Grade 8 Spanish and French are mostly conducted in the target language. Students deepen their lexical, grammatical knowledge and explore themes such as house and homes, clothes and accessories, travel and summer vacations as well as getting around by car in French. They expand their usage of past tenses by learning the difference between “imparfait” and “passé composé”. French students are also introduced to new moods: conditional and subjunctive. In Spanish, students broaden their vocabulary about sports and health, daily routines, clothes, legends and stories. They learn to communicate using different past tenses (preterito versus imperfecto). In addition, they work with all command forms, and the future and conditional tenses. They also make cultural comparisons and explore how to communicate within an increasingly global society.


    Grade 8 Mandarin students make progress toward the use of higher level cognitive skills in guessing the sound of a new characters or the meaning of new phrases; using Mandarin to exchange information and communicate ideas. The students are expected to be proficient in the use of 350 new characters and more complicated sentence structures such as complex, compound, complex compound sentences.


    Grade 8 Latin students continue to learn complex grammar and more vocabulary for translation. Students learn about the wider reaches of the Roman Empire, including Alexandria, in their translations. They are also introduced to all grammatical cases, how to decline a noun, Latin adjectives, pronouns, and an additional verb tense. The students engage further in Roman life and art through their projects every trimester.
  • Grade 9

    As freshmen, students may continue study of the language they have previously learned or choose a new language. Four levels of French, Spanish, Italian, and Mandarin are offered, as well as a fifth level of Advanced Placement in all but Mandarin. Two levels of Latin are currently offered (Latin returned to SA in the 2012-2013 school year) and our hope is to grow that to four levels as our students progress through the Senior School. Students may also elect to study a second world language in the Senior School.
     
    The focus in French is the practice of basic language skills through reading non-technical prose, poetry, and songs. Writing skills are enhanced through simple compositions. In Italian, conversation is emphasized, along with an introduction to Italian culture, history, art, and music. All levels of Spanish emphasize more complex grammatical structures and vocabulary, with all classes conducted in Spanish. Mandarin focuses on listening, reading, and writing, as well as on building the vocabulary and sentence patterns in communicative context. Students are expected to participate in classroom conversations, short role plays, and to write guided narratives. The class is conducted in Mandarin.
  • Grade 10

    In Grade 10, all world language classes are conducted in the target language. Students read and write increasingly complex, challenging works from a variety of genres, as well as learn and practice grammatical and syntactical structures. Grammar is continuously reviewed to strengthen language skills.
  • Grade 11

    Most students will complete the three-year world language requirement as juniors, many by taking Advanced Placement French, Spanish or Italian, or other advanced courses such as Francophone Civilization or Spanish and Latin American Cinema. Some students elect a second world language in the junior year as well.
  • Grade 12

    Seniors typically complete their study of world language with an Advanced Placement course in French, Spanish, or Italian, or with an advanced course in the target language. Since the language courses have been taught in the target language for some years, students are expected to converse with some fluency during class discussions.

List of 12 members.

  • Jennifer Brown 

    Grade 8 Dean, Middle School Spanish Teacher
    Boston College - B.A.
    Universidad de Salamanca - E.L.E.
  • Marina Buratti 

    Senior School World Language Teacher
    University of Pittsburgh - B.A.
    University of Pittsburgh - M.A.
  • Shan Callaghan 

    Middle School Mandarin Teacher
    Hunan University (China) - B.A.
    Nanjing University - Master Degree
  • Ken Goleski 

    Global Studies Program Coordinator
    St. Lawrence University - B.A.
    Robert Morris University - M.S.
  • Alison Daniel 

    Lower School Spanish Teacher
    Bethel University - B.A.
    Middlebury College - Master of Arts
  • Eva Kidwai 

    Chair, World Language Department; Senior School Spanish Teacher
    University of Rochester - B.A. Spanish & Linguistics
    University of Buffalo - M.A. Spanish (Linguistics specialization)
    University of Florida - A.B.D. Linguistics
  • Mónica Lynn 

    Lower School Spanish Teacher
    Guilford College - B.S.
    University of San Diego - M.B.A.
  • Katherine Schmidt 

    Senior School French Teacher
    Boston University - B.S./B.A./B.A.
    Université de Franche-Comté - maîtrise
  • Pascale Spinelli 

    Chair, MS Language Department; Middle School Spanish and French Teacher
    The Sorbonne Nouvelle University - B.A.
    The Sorbonne Nouvelle University - M.A.
  • Vanessa Villalobos 

    Senior School Spanish Teacher
    West Virginia University - B.A.
    West Virginia University - M.A.
  • Sesame Zamora 

    Senior School Latin Teacher
    Lawrence University - B.A.
    Rutgers University - M.A.
  • Jing Zhou 

    Senior School Mandarin Teacher
    Central South University - B.A.
    Carnegie Mellon University - M.A.

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Sewickley Academy is a nationally recognized Pittsburgh private school enrolling students in Pre-K through Grade 12 on a single campus.