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 11 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 - 8

    Completing three years of language study is required as part of the diverse curriculum in Middle School. Students entering in Grade 6 select to study Chinese, French, or Spanish. It is our philosophy that students will grow in their appreciation and mastery of a language if they remain in the same language for three years. Students may not add or drop a language after the first day of school but movement, while not recommended, is possible if the schedule permits following the Grade 6 year only. Regardless of the language choice, students finishing three years of study in Middle School should be ready for a Level II or Level III course in Grade 9. Teachers make a recommendation for the next level based on academic readiness, current mastery in the language course, evidence of executive functioning skills (i.e., planning, time management, and ability to work independently), interest, and motivation.

    The first two introductory years of language study are described as Novice 1A and B, while the third year moves to a Novice 2 level.

    Novice 1A level courses run in response to interest, therefore, a course with fewer than five students may not run. New students in Grades 7 and 8 with previous language experience will take a skills assessment to establish their readiness for the grade level language. Those with no previous experience will enter an introductory course. 

    Novice 1A Chinese, French, and Spanish
    Students fully engage their hearts, hands, and minds in the Novice 1A course. With an emphasis on project-based learning, students develop an appreciation for people and cultures through active roleplay, songs, and recreation of cultural traditions helping them to broaden their understanding of varying perspectives, practices, and values from other parts of the world. Language study is engaging and meaningful when students learn the skills needed to communicate in the target language by engaging in miming, drawing, singing, improvising a scene, collaborating with peers, and playing a variety of games. Simultaneously, students work to build the foundation for reading, writing, speaking, and listening to the target language. 

    In Novice 1A courses students build their introductory linguistic skills through short stories. In Novice 1A Chinese, students will learn how to recognize and draw Chinese characters by understanding how they were developed through images and stories. The stories promote learning within a communicative context and allow students to use text evidence to support their answers to comprehension questions. By emphasizing, expanding, or promoting lexical terms, grammatical patterns, and recognizing characters, the stories prepare students to be successful at the next level. They develop their writing skills through simple compositions or guided narratives, partake in interactive guided and unrehearsed conversations in the target language as they are expected to participate in diverse class activities. 

    Novice 1B Chinese, French, and Spanish
    Novice 1B world language courses allow students to further immerse themselves in the language and culture as they expand their communication skills. With a continued focus on the development of listening, speaking, reading, and writing students expand their vocabulary in the target language and are prepared to have a conversational dialogue with a peer or practice at home with a family member. Students grow in their appreciation for the culture by collaborating with a peer on a research project, watching movies, singing songs, or preparing food, crafts, or artwork that are common in the culture. 

    Novice 2 Chinese, French, and Spanish
    In Novice 2 courses in Middle School students end their three-year sequence of focused study and are able to understand and communicate in the target language using more complex sentence structures. Students engage their hands and minds by participating in interactive exercises, short plays, videos, short stories, and reading novels, helping them to build a fundamental capability of oral communication through real-life situations that explore new cultural, lexical, and grammatical themes. They develop their writing skills through more elaborate compositions or guided narratives, partake in guided and unrehearsed conversations with peers in the target language. Finally, students engage their hearts by developing cultural sensitivity and global awareness while they are introduced to Hispanophone, Francophone, and Chinese cultures. They expand their horizons through exploring real estate (houses and their architectures), fashion, the automobile industry, neighborhoods, hobbies, weather, food, and travel in the region. A community of respect is elevated as students acquaint themselves with a variety of perspectives on society as they practice their four linguistic competencies: reading and listening comprehension, speaking and writing skills.

  • 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 9 members.

  • Photo of Jennifer Brown

    Jennifer Brown 

    Middle School Spanish Teacher
    Boston College - B.A.
    Universidad de Salamanca - E.L.E.
  • Photo of Marina Buratti

    Marina Buratti 

    Senior School French and Italian Teacher
    University of Pittsburgh - B.A.
    University of Pittsburgh - M.A.
  • Photo of Shan Callaghan

    Shan Callaghan 

    Middle School Mandarin Teacher
    Hunan University (China) - B.A.
    Nanjing University - M.S.
  • Photo of Monica Lynn

    Monica Lynn 

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

    Katherine Schmidt 

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

    Pascale Spinelli 

    Middle School Spanish and French Teacher
    The Sorbonne Nouvelle University - B.A.
    The Sorbonne Nouvelle University - M.A.
  • Photo of Joel Svensson

    Joel Svensson 

    Senior School Latin Teacher
    University of Gothenburg - B.S.
  • Photo of Vanessa Villalobos

    Vanessa Villalobos 

    Senior School Spanish Teacher
    West Virginia University - B.A.
    West Virginia University - M.A.
  • Photo of Jing Zhou

    Jing Zhou 

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

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