The study of a foreign language is invaluable in broadening the students' sensitivity to and appreciation of other cultures. The acquisition of a second language increases students' intellectual capacities and facilitates their understanding of different patterns of thought.
The immediate goal of the foreign language curriculum is to teach communication skills. From the outset, special attention is placed on the development of the four language skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
Advanced Placement courses are offered in French, Latin, and Spanish. Middle School and incoming Upper School students of French and Spanish must demonstrate above-average competency before entering French or Spanish II in ninth grade. Students who show proficiency in the first three years are encouraged to continue their study in Grades 11 and 12. In the fourth and fifth year courses, students focus on the reading of poetry, novels, and plays. Students who are language-proficient may elect to carry two languages.
The course of study in French introduces seventh and eighth grade students to the fundamentals of the language. Students work on the four basic skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. The course focuses on the development of basic grammatical structures and everyday vocabulary. Skits, discussion and role playing will be a regular part of class. Students will also learn about French culture and French-speaking areas of the world.
The study of the Latin language is a ticket to travel back in time. The exploration of Latin grammar and vocabulary will give you a strong foundation in the language so that students can achieve the goal of translating ancient texts. Students will learn English vocabulary influenced by Latin roots and explore the many ways that the Roman Empire continues to shape our modern world.
In Grades 7 and 8 students learn vocabulary, idiomatic expressions and grammatical structures that will enable them to develop their speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills. Through cultural readings and related activities, they will gain an understanding and appreciation for the people and culture of Spain and Spanish America.
This course is designed for students with no prior Chinese language background who wish to begin learning modern Standard Chinese (Mandarin). Its goal is to lay a solid foundation in Chinese for further study, and to strive for an all-around development of communicative competence in listening, speaking, reading and writing in modern Chinese. It provides basic training of pronunciation and tones, syntactic structures and usage, commonly used vocabulary for day-to-day life, and character recognition and writing.
This course is is designed for students who have taken Chinese I or equivalent courses. It will further consolidate the students’ proficiency in all four language skills. Special focus will be placed on oral practice of daily conversation. Students will be exposed to Chinese audio-visual materials and situational survival phrases via role-play. They will develop the linguistic and cultural competence to survive in Chinese speaking countries or areas.
This course is designed for students who are motivated to achieve a high level of linguistic competence. This course is conducted almost entirely in Chinese, except when English is required for grammar introduction and explanation. Special focus goes to the understanding and application of complex syntax and vocabulary. By the end of the academic year, they should be able to narrate and describe the topics and subjects they are familiar with. They will also develop a deeper understanding of Chinese culture through lectures and field trips.
French 1 develops the basic structures and vocabulary for understanding, speaking, writing, and reading in French. Classroom activities foster communication and cultural competence through comprehension and grammar exercises, skits, conversation, and the use of a variety of audio-visual materials. French 1 is conducted almost exclusively in French.
This course strengthens the students’ proficiency in language. Students gain facility in the use of tense and other essentials of grammar and syntax. The course is conducted entirely in French except when the presentation of new or complicated material requires the use of English.
French III and Honors French III
The main objective of this course is to develop listening, speaking and writing skills, while allowing you to strengthen your knowledge of contemporary French society and heritage. There is a thorough review of French grammar and a wide range of communicative activities chosen to improve proficiency and give practice of newly acquired linguistic material. New grammatical structures and vocabulary will be introduced in the context of specific activities and tasks.The course aims at building your confidence in French, while giving a foundation for the understanding and appreciation of French-speaking cultures that includes exposure to their rich literary and artistic productions. Contemporary social and political issues will also be discussed in class, and students are expected to watch news on a regular basis. A wide range of authentic material will be offered, including films and songs.French 3 is conducted exclusively in French.
French IV and Honors French IV
This course introduces students to a selection of French and Francophone masterpieces (books, fine arts, and movies) from the Renaissance to the present. In addition to readings and literary analyses, students are encouraged to write short stories emulating the style and tone of a given author. Each masterpiece is introduced with a brief overview of the milestone events and important figures of the period. This class is conducted entirely in French. Grammar is reviewed and expanded but is no longer the focus of the course.
AP French Language and Culture
AP French is designed to prepare students to take the 2018 AP French Exam. Another important goal of the course is to provide you with a deep and broad understanding of the French culture. This course will represent the culmination of your French Studies in high school and will help you get ready to take upper level French courses in college. At this point, you have already learned the structures necessary to communicate in French. In AP French, students review and refine those grammatical structures while learning new vocabulary to communicate in French on a variety of topics. AP French emphasizes all aspects of language: listening, speaking, reading, writing and culture. This course is conducted exclusively in French.
This course provides an introduction to Latin syntax, grammar, and vocabulary. In addition, students examine Roman history and culture, and study Latin roots of English vocabulary. The goal of Latin I is to give students a solid foundation for further study in Latin and to deepen students’ knowledge of both Latin and English grammar and vocabulary.
This course continues the study of Latin grammar, syntax, and vocabulary. Its chief aim is to enable students to read passages of poetry and prose of increasing length and complexity with confidence. The course also reinforces the students’ grasp of English grammar and usage and includes the study of English vocabulary derived from Latin roots.
Latin III and Honors Latin III
Students finish their study of Latin grammar and syntax in this course and begin their study of Latin poetry and prose. A unit on Roman history, with selections adapted from Livy, is followed by an introduction to the poetry of Virgil, Ovid, and Catullus. Students read and analyze the poetry to understand its historical context.
Latin IV and Honors Latin IV
This course will survey Latin literature of the late Roman Republic and the Age of Augustus. We will read poetry and prose of numerous authors (Caesar, Catullus, Cicero, Vergil, Horace, and Ovid) and also discuss the differing social and cultural contexts. We will continue to work on Latin grammar and syntax using appropriate terminology and will meaningfully analyze poetic style, diction, rhetorical figures, and metrical techniques.
Advanced Placement Latin
In AP Latin, students will immerse themselves in the works of two of the most iconic Latin authors from ancient Rome: Publius Vergilius Maro (Vergil/Virgil) and Gaius Julius Caesar (Caesar). Through translating and reading selections from Vergil’s Aeneid and Caesar’s de bello Gallico, students will experience the beauty of Latin poetry and prose, and the universal emotion woven throughout the lines of both pieces of literature. While focusing on literal, accurate translation (prepared and by sight), precise knowledge of vocabulary, and a thorough understanding of Latin syntax, students will analyze and discuss the social and political context of each work. Intertwined themes will also serve as catalysts for in-class discussions and analytical writing assignments. Students will complete the entire Advanced Placement curriculum in preparation for the Advanced Placement examination in May.
This is a comprehensive introductory course to both the Spanish language and the cultures where the Spanish language is spoken. This course is modeled on the communicative approach where emphasis is placed on communicating a message through meaning-bearing input and structured output rather than repetition and rote memorization. While it is still important to study vocabulary and produce the language, the approach is directed toward the exploration and deeper understanding of the language. The overarching objectives of this course are to develop basic communicative skills in Spanish as a second language and to develop knowledge about the cultures of Spanish-speaking countries.
This course is an intermediate course that allows students to grow in their confidence speaking in the target language, expand their vocabulary, understand new grammar concepts, improve their reading and writing, and become a better listener of Spanish. Communication is key in class and Spanish is expected to be used at all times. Immersing yourself in the language during class replicates what you would do if you were in a Spanish-speaking country.
This course builds upon the basic course content of Spanish I and II with more complex grammar and thematic vocabulary aimed at strengthening language skills. It focuses on real communication in meaningful contexts that develop and consolidate speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills, while expanding cultural competency. The various components of the Descubre program emphasize an interactive, proficiency-oriented approach to the study of Spanish language and culture. The ultimate goal is to increase communicative competency and strengthen confidence in self-expression. For this reason, Spanish will be the primary means of communication in this course.
Honors Spanish III
The Honors course expands girls' abilities to speak, read, write and understand Spanish. They revisit material that was learned in Spanish I and II, but deepen their knowledge and get a better grip of the language. The girls go over new vocabulary and grammar, watch skits, will listen to music from different Spanish speaking countries, read interesting articles, work on oral presentations, etc. Only Spanish is spoken in class.
This course continues to strengthen skills by adding more complex grammar, vocabulary, and written practice. In addition, speaking and aural comprehension skills are emphasized, and the students converse and express ideas solely in Spanish. Writing skills will be practiced through short compositions and workbook exercises. Reading skills will be enhanced through short stories, poetry, and other original Spanish texts that lend themselves to discussion of current events in science, technology, art literature, politics and popular culture. Students will compare and make connections to their own experience. The class uses the textbook Descubre 3 and the accompanying resources to strengthen language skills and to increase cultural competency.
Spanish IV Honors
As a continuation of third-year Spanish, by the end of the fourth-year course the students will have been presented with all the major grammatical constructions of Spanish. The girls approach these constructions, along with new vocabulary, by means of various thematic units that utilize authentic material (literature, the press, audio and video clips) from Spain and Latin America about contemporary issues facing the environment, concerning the uses of science and technology, and the challenges facing those in the workforce. A variety of exercises and assignments will enable the student to develop skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening.
Advanced Placement Spanish Language and Culture
This course is the equivalent of a college-level introduction to Peninsular Spanish literature and Spanish-language literature of the Americas. Throughout the year, students use a variety of key literary texts from the Middle Ages to the twenty-first century and audio-visual materials to explore Spanish and Spanish-speaking American cultures via the study of literature. The class focuses on the literary production of narrative, drama and poetry, paying particular attention to the technical terminology to discuss the creation of the selected works and their social, cultural and historical contexts. Along with analyzing formal characteristics of readings, students will also explore how the content of these readings reflect a particular culture in a particular period of history as well as the universal human experience that seemingly transcends time and place. One measure of success is the Advanced Placement exam at the end of the course which is comprised of exercises in reading and listening comprehension, covering both form and content, and formal expository writing on literary texts.