Sunday, December 22, 2013

Happy Holidays from the World Language Department!

To celebrate the holiday season, students in the World Language department got a treat of festive activities from around the world! Ms. Alderuccio led French caroling, with students going around to different parts of the school singing French Christmas carols. In Ms. Lahey's French classes, students also sung Christmas carols and made chocolate truffles, which they tasted to vote on the best recipe. In Mr. Smith's Latin class, students put on togas for a group photo. Students in Ms. Toro's Spanish Club made traditional food and decorated the classroom for the holidays.

From the World Language department, we wish everyone Bonnes Fêtes! Joyeux Noël! ¡Feliz Navidad! ¡Felices Fiestas! Buon Natale! Feriae felices! shèng dàn kuài lè! and 圣诞快乐!

Mr. Smith demonstrating the correct way to put on a toga.
Toga time in Latin class!
The Spanish Club decorated Ms. Toro's room for the holidays!
The Spanish Club making decorations.
Jingle Bells in French!

Chocolate truffles.
Students singing French carols in the WL hallway.

Students singing French carols in the WL hallway.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

AEF Awards WL Dept. $3,000 for AP Vertical Teaming

The World Language Department was just awarded a $3,000 grant from the Arlington Education Foundation to support the launch of AP Vertical Teams in French, Latin, and Spanish. The grant will fund professional development for all teachers -- middle and high school -- to attend College Board workshops. Teachers will then participate in AP Vertical Teams to review, revise, and collaborate on curriculum and assessments from level 1 to AP.

In recent years, each of the AP world language exams has been radically changed to reflect current research on foreign language acquisition, emphasizing the three modes of communication (interpretive, interpersonal, presentational) over discrete grammar and vocabulary items. Without strong preparation from the start of language study, success with the AP curriculum and exam is difficult.  

Key goals of the grant are: to strengthen instruction in World Language classrooms at all levels; to foster collaboration between teachers in the 6-12 language program; to strengthen World Language curriculum at all levels to better prepare students for rigorous AP language courses.

We are extremely grateful to the AEF for its continued support! ¡Gracias! Merci! Gratias!

Read about AEF's recent fundraiser, where WL Director, Catherine Ritz, was a guest speaker:

Thursday, December 12, 2013

APS Receives Additional $2,000 Grant from C.A.S.IT

At the General Assembly for the Centro Attività Scholastiche Italiane (C.A.S.IT) on December 8, the World Language Department of Arlington Public Schools was awarded an additional $2,000 grant towards its new Italian program. C.A.S.IT awarded APS $16,000 last year to support the return of Italian to the district.

The additional award was a surprise to WL Director, Catherine Ritz, and Italian Teacher, Dr. Antoni Di Sanzo, who had been invited to attend. These funds will help support materials needed to expand the Italian program in future years.

We are very grateful to C.A.S.IT for its support! Grazie mille!!

WL Director, Catherine Ritz, and Italian Teacher, Dr. Antoni Di Sanzo
receiving the award from C.A.S.IT President, Adelaide Guarracino

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

National World Language Honor Society Officers Hard at Work

This year marks the first that Arlington High School offers National Honor Societies for French, Latin, Mandarin, and Spanish. Each honor society is sponsored by a teacher's organization:

Collectively, these societies are called the National World Language Honor Societies (NWLHS) of Arlington High School. NWLHS recently held a meeting with faculty adviser Véronique Lahey in which officers were nominated and work began on how the NWLHS could fulfill its mission of promoting foreign language study at AHS and in the Arlington community. 

NWLHS officers are as follows:
  • President: Jacob Malin (Latin & Spanish)
  • Vice President: Isabel Verghese (French)
  • Treasurer: Julia Wood (French)
  • Media and Communications: Sarah Daum (Spanish)
Officers are developing strategies for reaching out to the community about their language of study. For example, discussions are underway about designing presentations for middle school and elementary school students, designing ads or promotional materials for Discover Languages Month, and making videos showing the use of their language in the Arlington community at large.

We look forward to seeing the work of this dedicated group of students!

NWLHS Officers, hard at work!

Treasurer: Julia Wood
Media & Communications: Sarah Daum
Vice President: Isabel Verghese
President: Jacob Malin

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Italian Flourishing at AHS

This year, Arlington High School saw the return of the Italian program, with 75 students enrolling in three sections of Italian 1, making up the first students to study Italian at AHS since the program was cut back in 2002. AHS received a $16,000 grant from the Centro Attività Scolastiche Italiane (C.A.S.IT., Inc.), an organization affiliated with the Italian Consulate, to bring Italian back to the district.

Yesterday, AHS Italian teacher, Dr. Antoni Di Sanzo, visited with the Italian Consulate to promote the program and speak with the Consul General, Guiseppe Pastorelli. Dr. Di Sanzo was also interviewed by Rai Italia, an Italian television network doing a piece on Italian language learning in the United States.

Dr. Di Sanzo with the head of the Italian Consulate, Guiseppe Pastorelli
Already, students in Italian 1 are able to communicate with basic proficiency in Italian, thanks to Dr. Di Sanzo's excellent teaching. Recently, students completed an essay in which they introduced members of their family, saying what their names were, how old they were, describing them, and saying things they like to do. In the below sample, a student described the family from the movie, "The Incredibles." Dr. Di Sanzo was impressed with the progress his students are making after only a few months of study. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

National World Language Honor Society Students Meet

During the 2012-2013 school year, the National World Language Honor Societies of Arlington High School were launched for French, Latin, Mandarin, and Spanish (for more information, click here). Last week, the first cohort of inductees met with adviser Véronique Lahey to develop a plan for demonstrating their commitment to world languages in the Arlington community. Students discussed how they could promote their language and culture of focus by reaching out to the community by, for example, speaking to elementary and middle school students about their language, creating videos showing the importance of their language in Arlington, or developing public awareness campaigns to show during Discover Languages month.

Juniors interested in joining the National World Language Honor Societies of Arlington High School should speak to Ms. Lahey, who will be sending out letters of invitation to qualifying students in the second semester.

Game Day for the French Club @ AHS

The French Club had its first meeting this year, with students playing authentic French games such as "devine-tête" (literally, "guess-head") and Monopoly, Lyon-version. Club adviser, JoLinda Alderuccio met with over a dozen students in her room for what should be a monthly get-together of AHS francophiles!

Monday, November 25, 2013

WL Director Receives National Board Certification

World Language Director, Catherine Ritz, was awarded National Board Certification in Early Adolescence Through Young Adulthood/World Languages, with a specialty in French on Saturday. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards requires teachers to go through rigorous examinations and develop a portfolio demonstrating that they meet high standards for excellence in teaching.

Teachers must demonstrate:
1) A strong command of content;
2) The ability to design appropriate learning experiences that advance student learning;
3) The use of assessments to inform instructional decision making; and
4) Partnerships with colleagues, parents and the community.

Catherine completed her portfolio and assessments last spring, and received her scores this past weekend.

Friday, November 8, 2013

WL Teachers Attend BER Workshop

World Language teachers in both the high school and middle school in Arlington attended a Bureau of Education and Research (BER) workshop this week entitled, "Strengthening Your World Language Instruction with the Three A's: Activities, Articulation and Assessment." In attendance were Véronique Lahey, Tony Di Sanzo, Meagan Bassett, Katia Haberman, Tara Kfoury, and Na Lu-Hogan. The workshop gave teachers strategies they can use to better differentiate instruction, support student-centered instruction, and keep their classes close to 100% in the target language. Teachers will be sharing what they learned at upcoming department meetings so that all members of the World Language department can benefit from their experience.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Language Clubs Present at Club Day!

The Language Clubs were all out in force on Club Day at AHS, recruiting new members and sharing their excitement for languages!


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Véronique Lahey Nominated for Excellence in Teaching

Arlington High School French teacher, Véronique Lahey, was nominated for the "Friedel and Otto Eberspacher Award for Excellence in the Teaching of a Modern European Language" -- an award given by Johns Hopkins University's Center for Talented Youth. Ms. Lahey was nominated by her student, Morgan Jackson, currently enrolled in AP French. The goal of the award is to promote the teaching of modern languages and to recognize the dedication of educators who instill in young people the desire to better understand the people and cultures of different parts of the world.

Congratulations to Ms. Lahey, who is greatly deserving of this honor!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Spanish Teachers Travel to Peru

Over the summer, four of Arlington's Spanish teachers -- Meagan Bassett, Katia Haberman and Christina Toro in the High School, and Anne Zachary in the Middle School -- travelled to Peru! Ms. Haberman is a native of Peru, and was returning home to visit her family over the summer. Ms. Bassett, Ms. Toro, and Ms. Zachary participated in a Primary Source program entitled, "Peru: History, Culture and Contemporary Life." In addition, Ms. Bassett was awarded an Arlington Education Foundation Continuing Scholar Award to participate in the program.

The trip was an enriching experience for all, and teachers are planning instructional units that incorporate their cultural experiences, bringing what they learned back to their students.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

AHS Language Lab - Phase 2 Renovations Complete!

Thanks to capital budget support, we were able to complete phase 2 of renovations to the language lab at the high school! Over the summer of 2012, brand-new laptops and headsets were purchased, and the lab was relocated to the World Language wing, making it more accessible to teachers. This summer, the lab was carpeted and student carrels were installed. These were crucial in supporting voice recording. 

The lab was opened for classes on Monday and so far, most students can be heard saying, "Wow!" when they get their first glimpse of the new space. It looks beautiful!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Travel Opportunities for 2014: China & Québec!

The World Language department is happy to sponsor two new travel opportunities for students this year... a China Exchange Program and a Québec Carnaval Homestay!

The China Exchange Program is open to all students, grades 9-12. The exchange will be between AHS and the High School Affiliated with Beijing Normal University. Students will host Chinese students in the beginning of February, and then we will travel to Beijing over April vacation. We will visit the Great Wall of China, Tienanmen Square, the Forbidden City and other sites during our trip. For more information please click here. If you are interested in signing up, please see Ms. Ritz in the World Language office, room 510. The deadline for signing up is October 1

The Québec Carnaval Homestay is open to all students enrolled in French, grades 9-12. We will travel by bus to Québec on January 31 and stay three nights. We will be in Québec during the annual carnival, so will take advantage of all the fun activities there including toboggan rides, the winter sports village, and a visit to the amazing ice hotel. Students will stay with Québécois families during the stay, so will be able to practice their French during the trip! For more information, click here. To sign up, please see Ms. Ritz in the World Language office, room 510. The deadline for signing up is October 15.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Travel to Italy - April 2014

  Travel to Italy! 

April 2014

 AHS staff members Cheryl Christo and Sabato D’Agostino are leading a cultural trip to Italy.
This trip is open to ALL AHS students (grades 9-12) and there are spaces available for adults. (you will not be a chaperone!)
Depart April  2014
9 Days, 7 nights

Venice, Florence, Rome, Verona, Assisi 

For further info;

 Cheryl Christo
Tino D’Agostino

Sign on now as space is limited and also lock in your air taxes!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

WL Dept. Highlighted in Superintendent's Newsletter

All of the exciting goings-on in our wonderful department have been highlighted in the Superintendent's most recent newsletter to the community. The full newsletter can be read here.

Academic Highlights
Mandarin Expands, Italian Returns and Creativity Shines in Language Education 
A vibrant learning environment exists at both Ottoson and AHS, as innovative and thoughtful curricula combine with our ability to offer important international and classic languages to our students. This year we have expanded our Mandarin instruction to include two classes of Mandarin 1A in the seventh grade. In addition, one of the World Language Exploratory teachers who has been studying Mandarin for a number of years has created a Mandarin unit for the sixth grade exploratory program. Supporting this growth, Na Lu-Hogan, a native of China, has joined us as a Mandarin instructor. She will split her time between Ottoson and AHS, where we are now offering four full- years of instruction. We are proud to report that we have approximately 40 seventh graders starting the language at Ottoson and about fifty students are enrolled in levels 1-4 at AHS.

We are also working on expanding our China Exchange program this year. Last February, we welcomed 30 young men and women from one of the oldest and best-known secondary schools in China to homes in Arlington. This year we will be hosting Chinese students again, but we also want to send some of our students to Beijing. We are currently recruiting for this April trip, and more information can be found by clicking here.

Italian has returned to AHS thanks to a grant from Centro Attivita Scholastiche Italiane. Tony Di Sanzo, a native Italian speaker who has taught Spanish part-time in Arlington for the past two years, will be teaching Italian 1. The enrollment of approximately 75 students has necessitated the creation of three sections. This reflects the importance of the language to members of our community. We now offer five languages at AHS and four at Ottoson. In addition, we offer Arabic, American Sign Language, German, Japanese and Russian online through the Brigham Young University Independent Study Program. You may learn more about this program by clicking here. Diverse offerings enable our students to choose a language they are excited about, enhancing their ability to reach higher levels of proficiency.

The addition of French and Spanish Cinema courses at the high school last year is an example of how creative programming can encourage conversation. The purchase of a green screen will enable our students to create their own films as well. The renovation of the AHS language lab, coupled with a mobile language lab (iPad cart) at Ottoson is enabling us to integrate technology thoughtfully to promote and expand learning.

We hope to continue growing our program in the years to come. We recognize the importance of
language to the global economy, and the fact that experiencing another culture via understanding the language is an experience that changes lives. You can read about the the mission of our dedicated language teachers by clicking here.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Talk the Talk: The Importance of Languages in Business

Former German Chancellor, Willy Brandt, best expressed the importance of speaking foreign languages when doing business when he said, "If I'm selling to you, I speak your language. But if I'm buying, dann müssen Sie Deutsch sprechen."

Read "Talk the Talk: A Guide to Mazimising Your Prospectus [resume] Using Languages," written by the British Academy in collaboration with the European Council, below about the importance of language in the business world.

For more reasons why you should learn another language, check out our "Why Study a Foreign Language" page.

Monday, July 15, 2013

AP Language Scores Are In!

We just received our Advanced Placement scores and are happy to once again announce excellent results for our students in world language! We offer AP courses in French, Spanish, and Latin. Students who are native speakers in languages we don't offer can also take the AP exam. Congratulations to all students and teachers for their hard work!

Here's our score breakdown by language:

AP French Language & Culture
5 - three students
4 - five students
3 - seven students

Total enrollment: 15
Average score: 3.733

AP Latin
5 - one student
4 - one student
3 - six students
2 - eight students

Total enrollment: 16
Average score: 2.688

AP Spanish Language
5 - four students
4 - two students
3 - two students
2 - five students
1 - three students

Total enrollment: 16
Average score: 2.938

AP Chinese Language & Culture
5 - one student

Total enrollment: 1
Average score: 5

AP Japanese Language & Culture
5 - two students

Total enrollment: 2
Average score: 5

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Languages & STEM

According to a position paper put out recently by the Joint National Committee for Languages and the National Council for Language and International Studies (JNCL-NCLIS):

" must be said that the work of traditional STEM enterprises – research, development, engineering, and so forth – is now inevitably global. Scientific advances hardly occur in one country or market alone anymore. Multilingual communication is intrinsic to today’s scientific progress, which means the language industry is fundamental to furthering every aspect of STEM professions in a way it has never been before. As the U.S. supports and promotes STEM, it is therefore vital that the language enterprise be included in that undertaking."

To read the full paper, please click here.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Ottoson Latin Teacher Named "STARS Teacher of the Year"!

Ottoson Middle School Latin teacher, Cassandra Mea, was named the STARS teacher of the year by the Arlington Education Foundation for 2012-2013. Each year, one teacher from each school is recognized. STARS stands for: School Teachers Are Really Special! To read the Arlington Patch article, please click here.

Congratulations to Cassandra who is very worthy of this award!

Monday, June 17, 2013

National World Language Honor Society Induction

On Thursday night, the National Honor Society held its annual induction ceremony. But this year, there were four new Honor Societies in the mix... the Société Honoraire de Français, the National Chinese Honor Society, the National Latin Honor Society, and the Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica. These four societies comprise the National World Language Honor Societies of Arlington High School, and we are proud to have inducted 46 students in our first year.

Following are the students who demonstrated a commitment to academics, a commitment to language studies, and a commitment to their language outside of the classroom:

Société Honoraire de Français

BLANAS Zaharoula
CALI Maria
CARTER Catherine Rose
McKAY Grace
McKAY Parker
MOJAHED Victoria
NAHN Gabriel
THOMAS Melissa
WOOD Julia

National Chinese Honor Society
LIU Tianna
RAB Connie
WANG Kevin
YANG Xiuyi Alexander
YU Caroline

National Latin Honor Society

DALEY Devlin
HANSON Sam Wallach
KELLY Michaela
KOGA Sayaka

Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica

DAUM Sarah
DOHERTY Kathleen
HART Danielle
POOR Eliza
PRATT Roderick
TAI Erika 

Among these 46 students, one student -- Jacob Malin -- was inducted into two Honor Societies, the National Latin Honor Society and the Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica. His speech follows:

"There are many reasons why learning languages is important. A foreign language can help to us to communicate, understand other cultures, and make new friends. But the primary reason I learn foreign languages is because it is fun. I’ve always loved languages and words, since I was very young. I was first introduced to learning a language other than English in elementary school by Señorita Foley and her Spanish-speaking puppet. I adored learning the little Spanish we were taught and was saddened when the Spanish program was cut from the elementary schools. In middle school I was eager to begin learning Spanish again. In eighth grade, Ms. Miville encouraged her students to try to actually communicate in Spanish, and we undertook activities involving the whole school such as a Spanish restaurant night and a Spanish marketplace. In high school, I continued to learn Spanish with Mr. Eladhari and Ms. Robinson. I’ve learned to take risks in speaking a language even if my grammar isn’t perfect. Though the Spanish language has never failed to interest me, in middle school I envied my many friends who seemed to have so much fun learning Latin. Upon entering high school, I was determined to begin learning Latin as well, and studied over the summer to catch up to the honors level. I was fortunate enough to have great teachers to help me, and in the past two years, I have even been lucky to study with the wonderful, fun-loving Latin teacher whom middle school students so long adored, Mr. Foley. Going to his class is always a pleasure, because everybody enjoys being there, which is not true of all high-school classes. I’ve never regretted taking two languages, and I look forward to becoming more fluent, traveling to places where I can use them, meeting new people, and enjoying works of literature in their original languages. I’d even be happy to take up another new language. Important research and studies, interesting essays, and other sources present many reasons to study foreign languages. As high school students, we all know that studying foreign languages has helped us even in English class and on standardized tests. But we should not underestimate the importance of enjoying learning. And one more reason to study foreign languages – never be in a position where you are forced to use a phrasebook and say “My hovercraft is full of eels.” Ask a Monty Python fan."

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Students Travel to France Over April Vacation

Over April vacation, 21 students and two teachers traveled to Melun, France as part of the semi-annual France Exchange program. French students had visited Arlington in November. As part of the visit to France, students stayed in families and spent a day at the Lycée Saint-Aspais in Melun, about 45 minutes south of Paris. Students then spent three days visiting Paris, going to the Musée d'Orsay, Sacré Coeur, the Eiffel Tower, the Marais district, Montmartre, and other historic areas. A one-day excursion to the Loire Valley was also organized and students were able to visit the beautiful Chenonceau castle as well as the castle and town of Amboise.

The next France Exchange is planned for the 2014-2015 school year, and is open to all students enrolled in French.

Friday, May 3, 2013

After-School Elementary Spanish Immersion Program Announced!

Arlington Public Schools is pleased to introduce a new after-school Spanish Immersion Program for the 2013-14 school year.

This fee-based, PILOT program:
  • is available to all Arlington Public School students entering Kindergarten and Grade 1 in the fall;
  • will meet at the Brackett Elementary School;
  • will begin at the end of the school day and run until 6pm throughout the school year;
  • and, families have the option of choosing two- or three-day weekly schedules.
Some program highlights:
  • All instructors are native speakers and experienced educators.
  • Lessons will take place entirely in Spanish.
  • Language study will be supplemented with arts, crafts, music, cooking and outside play.
Complete information and registration forms are available on the attached flyer.
Registration is limited to 40 students; please postmark registrations no earlier than May 10, 2013.
Direct all questions to Miriam@golingo.org617320-3467
This program is sponsored by Arlington Community Education, a program of the Arlington Public Schools that is completely supported by tuition received from our courses.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Continuing Scholars Grant Awarded to Latin Teacher, Abbi Holt

Congratulations to middle school Latin teacher, Abbi Holt, for being awarded the Arlington Education Foundation's Continuing Scholars Grant!

Abbi was awarded $1,870 to pay for tuition to UMASS Dartmouth's summer program on using spoken Latin in the classroom. The program works like a typical language immersion program and includes daily workshops on how to use spoken Latin with students. In the fall, Abbi plans to share what she learns with other teachers through an after-school workshop.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

AHS Students Participate in Classics Day

On Thursday, April 4th, a group of 22 students from Arlington High School, along with 650 other students from Massachusetts, attended Classics Day at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester. Students competed in ancient costume contests, certamen (Latin quiz-bowl) competitions, and a chariot race.

The day was a great success! One of our certamen teams placed third out of all the upper level teams and came home with a trophy. All of our certamen teams did very well, either winning their preliminary competition or coming in a close second place. The chariot race was one of the highlights of the day, even though our chariot did not win. All the students (and teachers) thoroughly enjoyed themselves, and many of them are already talking about returning next year!

To read more about Classics Day at Holy Cross, please click here

Emma Hodgdon (dressed as Lykaeon, the wolf-king), Sadie Griesmer (as Incitatus, Caligula'shorse) , Ruby Kinnamon (as the Minotaur) compete in the costume contest.

Students work on their chariot before the chariot race.

The charioteer (sophomore Will Doyle) smiles for the camera before the race. 

Senior Anna Rogers carries the chariot to the starting line.

A photo of the chariot right before the start of the race. (Sophomore Will Doyle was the charioteer, and seniors Robert Lin and Adam Kaminski pulled the chariot as the horses.)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Chinese Exchange Students Visit AHS

A group of 30 Chinese students and five teachers visited AHS this week, staying with host students and visiting classes. Coming from the prestigious High School Affiliated with Beijing Normal University, the group arrived Monday morning at AHS. They spent the day observing classes with their host students, attending a welcome lunch hosted by Superintendent Kathleen Bodie, and participating in a Model Congress after school run by Social Studies Director Kerry Dunne. Tuesday and Wednesday, the students visited more classes, enjoyed eating lunch in an American cafeteria, and showed off their singing, calligraphy, and martial arts skills at a special Mandarin Club meeting run by faculty advisor and Mandarin teacher, Xiaqing Rotstein. Finally, on Thursday, a field trip into Boston was arranged for  the Chinese students and their American host students for a guided tour of the Freedom Trail, followed by lunch and free time for shopping at Faneuil Hall. The group then said good-bye and is off to visit other schools in Washington D.C. and New York.

Discussions are underway to expand this relationship to a two-way exchange in the 2013-2014 school year. Stay tuned for details!

The Arlington Advocate also stopped by to interview students. Read their article here: Arlington Hosts Beijing Students from Soon-to-be Sister School.

Superintendent Kathleen Bodie welcomes the students and teachers.
Stuart Johnson, who organized the trip, and a Chinese teacher present gifts to Dr. Bodie.
Chinese students enjoy their first lunch at AHS.
A student demonstrates his calligraphy skills at a Mandarin Club meeting.