Monday, December 1, 2014

French Exchange Students Visit AHS!

The first half of the France Exchange took place late October/November, with a group of students arriving from the Lycée Saint Paul Bourdon Blanc in Orléans. The students visited the High School and did some sight-seeing in the Boston area. Arlington students will be traveling to France over April vacation as part two of the exchange!

The entire exchange group!
A French student (left) and an AHS senior happened to wear the same Batman shirt -- les Batman twins!
French students were paired with AHS students in French class for an authentic learning experience.
French students were paired with AHS students in French class for an authentic learning experience.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Día de los Muertos celebrated in Spanish classes!

Spanish classes in Arlington High School and Ottoson celebrated Día de los Muertos last week, a Mexican holiday that honors the dead on November 1. Students made calacas and calaveras (skeletons and skulls) and other crafts in honor of the holiday. To learn more about Día de los Muertos, click here.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Arlington teachers well represented at MaFLA Conference!

There was lots of excitement of this past weekend at the Massachusetts Foreign Language Association (MaFLA) Fall Conference, where I had the honor of serving as Conference Chair. There was a strong attendance from Arlington world language teachers!

Here are some highlights:
  • Three Arlington teachers presented 75-minute sessions, demonstrating their leadership and engagement in professional development:
    • Abbi Holt presented a session entitled, “Activate the Latin Fandom!” She shared how to connect Latin teaching to popular fantasy tropes such as Dr. Who, Harry Potter, and Sherlock Holmes, and included a demonstration of the Gladiator Cardboard Wars assessment she developed last year at Ottoson. Attendees were completely intrigued and I’m sure we’ll see this assessment being used in other schools in no time!
    • Katia Haberman presented a session called, “Peru: Empire of Hidden Treasures.” Katia has become a regular MaFLA presenter in the short time she’s been teaching, having been asked to present at a MaFLA spring event, as well as at the MaFLA Summer Institute. Her enthusiasm and engaging style work as well with adults as it does with her students… the room was packed! 
    • Na Lu-Hogan presented a session for Mandarin teachers, “Integrate Engaging Activities to Advance Mandarin Chinese Proficiency.” Sharing many of the creative, student-centered activities she’s developed since she’s joined Arlington Public Schools, Luna’s presentation was so good that a few teachers came running up to me afterwards asking where they could buy some of the resources she had shown them. 
Abbi Holt presenting, "Activate the Latin Fandom!"
Katia Haberman presenting, "Peru: Empire of Hidden Treasures"
Na Lu-Hogan presenting, "Integrate Engaging Activities to Advance Mandarin Chinese Proficiency"
  • AHS teachers Véronique Lahey, Emmy Osterling, and Ed Foley, and Ottoson teacher Paula Nicholas, attended a 6-hour workshop on Thursday by national world language expert, Chantal Thompson, on proficiency development. Our department goal this year is to better understand the world language proficiency levels, set appropriate proficiency targets for each level, and ensure that our assessments (DDMs) are valid and reliable. These teachers are planning to bring back what they learned and will prepare a presentation to the department for the Nov. 4 PD day.
  • AHS teachers Christina Toro, Tony Di Sanzo, and JoLinda Alderuccio, and Ottoson teachers Merridith Minerd and Ali Matson attended a variety of workshops and sessions on Friday along with Abbi Holt, Katia Haberman, and Na Lu-Hogan. Among the sessions they attended, Merridith, Ali, and Tony went to another 3-hour workshop focused on proficiency, and are also preparing materials to present to the department to support our work this year.
  • At the Business & Awards Luncheon on Saturday, Katia Haberman and Na Lu-Hogan were awarded New Teacher Commendations, only given to four teachers per year state-wide. This award is for teachers who have been teaching less than five years and who have demonstrated excellence in foreign language education. As recipients of the award, Katia and Luna are given three years of complimentary membership to MaFLA to help support their professional development. 
Katia Haberman and Na Lu-Hogan receiving their New Teacher Commendation
I was also delighted that elementary principal Mark McAneny was in attendance, and went to a session entitled, “Peek Inside an Effective Elementary Program,” presented by the K-8 World Language Coordinator from Brookline Public Schools. I hope this is a sign of good things to come for Arlington! 

Finally, I am delighted to announce that I have been elected at President of the Massachusetts Foreign Language Association for a two-year term beginning this January. I look forward to representing Arlington and supporting world language teachers across the state with high-quality professional development.

Arlington is on the map for its World Language program!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

French/Spanish Teacher, Anne Zachary, Participates In National Gallery of Art Workshop

This summer I had the immense pleasure of studying art history with other teachers at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC! This year’s theme was “Impressionism and Post-Impressionism,” featuring (mostly!) French artists of the late 19th Monet, Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Paul Cézanne, as well as the Dutch Vincent Van Gogh and American Mary Cassat. When I returned, I was thrilled to receive a citation from Senator Elizabeth Warren for my participation in the NGA’s institute! Look for more art studies to appear in my French AND Spanish classes this year!

- Anne Zachary

An art historian lectures on Van Gogh while I sit next to his self-portrait!
A congratulations from Senator Elizabeth Warren
My classroom now contains more Impressionist images.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Outstanding Scores on AP Language Exams!

Congratulations to the teachers and students for their outstanding performance on this year's AP language exams! In addition to offering AP French, Latin, and Spanish, there are a number of students who who take the AP exam in their native language (such as Japanese, Italian, or German). We are proud to share the following score breakdown:

AP French Language & Culture
Total Students: 18
Average Score: 4.167
Score of 5: 5
Score of 4: 11
Score of 3: 2
Score of 2: none
Score of 1: none

AP Latin
Total Students: 12
Average Score: 3.417
Score of 5: 2
Score of 4: 3
Score of 3: 5
Score of 2: 2
Score of 1: none

AP Spanish Language & Culture
Total Students: 16
Average Score: 3.375
Score of 5: 1
Score of 4: 5
Score of 3: 9
Score of 2: 1
Score of 1: none

AP German Language & Culture
Total Students: 1
Average Score: 5
Score of 5: 1

AP Italian Language & Culture
Total Students: 1
Average Score: 5
Score of 5: 1

AP Japanese Language & Culture
Total Students: 1
Average Score: 5
Score of 5: 1

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Félicitations to this year's Café Parisien winners!

Students in French 4 once again participated in the Café Parisien competition designed by French teacher, Véronique Lahey. Following a real-world business model, students must work in small groups throughout the year to develop a business proposal for a new café they will open in Paris. Students present their work to a jury as if they were presenting to investors, with one group coming out the winner. The presentation must be thorough, including a café name, menu, location, research into potential customers, marketing and advertising strategy, and a financial plan. Students also prepare one dish from their menu for the jury. Throughout the year, all this work is done in French. Ms. Lahey was awarded a Department of Education Lighthouse Technology grant in 2001 to develop the project, and has been asked to present on it many times at Project-Based Learning conferences and the Massachusetts Foreign Language Association fall conference.

Congratulations to this year's winners!

First Place: "Le Petit Bonjour," Pauline Allor, Eva Donlan, & Sarah White

Second Place: "La Petite Poche," Catherine Tiffany, Julia Blass, & Andrea Abanto

Third Place: "Le Feu Ancien," Nicholas Madden, Zach Guion, & Dan Klingberg

Friday, June 6, 2014

Exciting Changes for the 6th Grade World Language Program!

We are undergoing some exciting changes in our 6th grade language program! Beginning next year, students entering the 6th grade will choose one language to explore for the year. Students may then continue their language in 7th & 8th grade, or switch to a new language. The language program will be as follows:

6th Grade:  Exploring French / Exploring Latin / Exploring Spanish (classes meet every other day)
7th Grade: French 1A / Latin 1A / Mandarin 1A / Spanish 1A (classes meet every day)
8th Grade: French 1B / Latin 1B / Mandarin 1B / Spanish 1B (classes meet every day)

We are asking 5th grade parents to give us your first, second, and third choice of a language for the 6th grade exploratory program so that we may schedule your classes for next year. We will do our best to give you your first choice, though you may be assigned your second or third choice due to limited space.

If you do not receive your first choice, you will be able to switch in the 7th grade, but will not be allowed to switch in the 6th grade. We are not able to offer Mandarin in the 6th grade at this time.

If you are a 5th grade parent, please fill out the LANGUAGE SELECTION SURVEY as soon as possible.

National Spanish Exam Results Are In!

We are proud to announce the award winners of this year National Spanish Exam, which is taken by thousands of students across the country. ¡¡Felicidades to students and teachers for these excellent results!!

Bronze Medal
Alvina Napit
Tomke Schoeningh

Gold Medal
Mustapha Ayad
Katherine Barker
Olivia Guion
Gabriel Nahn
Patrick O’Toole
Esla Rothenberg
Nicolas Tapiero
Tommaso Valagussa

Silver Medal
Isabel Aluia
Emily Brown
Anna Goldstein
Nicole Haas-Loomis
Mary Kandaras
Philip Lindsay
Austin Lu
Insa Mannstadt
Susan Ni

Bronze Medal
Maya Alperin
Faolan Coogan-Pluck
Akshat Gangurde
Frances Lin
Gurpinder More
Victoria White

Honorable Mention
Hannah Barret
Dylan Braveman
Natalie Burden
Gregory Foley
Grace Jenkins
Nicholas Holt
Harry Kandaras
Emma Maxtutis
Sana Mohtadi
Miguel Nascimento
Salome Lefort
Sarah O’Connell
Pablo Opperman
Ajay Rao
Jake Tamir-Pinsky

Gold Medal
Kate Carr
Jacob Chaves
Erin O’Brien
Victoria Tse

Silver Medal
Michaela Aladjem
Cecile Dedios
Max Fox-Jurkowitz
Tali Gorokhovsky
Benjamin Gould
Galen Hall
Michael Reynolds
Stefan Rookwood

Bronze Medal
Mina Burton
Jack Cohn
Maura Doherty
Grace Gutierrez
Sara Gutierrez
Garth Hull
Lenna Iskenderian
Antranig Kechejian
Griffin Lessell
Abigail McCabe
Emma Murach
Noelani Ramos
Ashley Wicks

Honorable Mention
Erin Ay
James Bauer
Benjamin Berke-Halperin
Nick Cuervo-Torello
Molly Doherty
Myles Goldstein
Alison Jordahl
Leah Lavin
Isabella Pajevic
Olivia Sorenson
Paul Stokes
Shivam Rastogi
Nathan Vitale
George West
Kristjana Xhuveli
Julius Zuckerman

Gold Medals
Yana Galina

Silver Medal
Diego Opperman
Jonah Vandermel

Bronze Medal
Rosella Aluia
Aaron Colonnese
Alexander Crowley
Gabriel Entov
Olivia Wan

Honorable Mention
Anthony Aggouras
Maria Arvanitis
Dominique Carey
Emma Curtis
Gaurav Dangol
Christina Kennedy
Megan Lo
Anja Pajevic

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

France Exchange Program Announced for 2014-2015

Arlington High School students enrolled in French for the 2014-2015 school year are encouraged to participate in the France Exchange, being run once again by French teacher Véronique Lahey. Seniors and Juniors will be given priority. We will be partnered with the Lycée Saint Paul Bourdon Blanc in Orléans.

To view the itinerary, please CLICK HERE.

For more information, please view the below presentation, or see Ms. Lahey (

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

National French Exam Results

The National French Exam results are in! Arlington High School has 25 National prizewinners!
We are extremely proud of all our students!

French 2 Top Ten National Medal Winners:
Kate Carr
Alexander Klein
Tess Lavalley

Honorable Mention:
Nachiket Pathak
Minerva Veeser-Bovea
Clinton Garrahan

French 3 Top 10 National Medal Winners:
Kiran Gite --* Placing 1st in the state and 2nd nationally!
Alice Tracey
Bernardo Lowen Zordan
Ian Bernardin
Rachel Harrison
Madeline Goldstein
Grace Hoglund
Alice Liu

Honorable Mention:
Vignesh Chockalingam
Allison Candell
Louisa Kuper
Samuel O'Keefe
Kathryn Ray

French 4 Top 10 National Medal Winners:
Emanuele Vico
Luca Canepa

Honorable Mention:
Pauline Allqr
Zachary Guion

French 5 Honorable Mention:
Brooke Bernardin
Gabriel Nahn

Friday, May 23, 2014

Students Inducted in National World Language Honor Societies

In only its second year at Arlington High School, we are proud to announce that the following students were inducted recently into the National World Language Honor Societies of Arlington High School. Students must meet rigorous academic criteria and demonstrate a commitment to language learning in order to join these societies, which are currently offered for students in French, Latin, Mandarin, and Spanish.

Société Honoraire de Français
Julia Blass
Tim Chang
Marybeth Ciarlone
Shannon Coughlin
Ruth Ferrante
Zachary Guion
Allison Holt
Daniel Klingsberg
Nicholas Madden
Redate Negussie
Panagiotis Nikitas
Aidan O'Day
Emma Stewart
Catherine Tiffany
Camille Vitale

National Latin Honor Society
Meghan DeCourcey
Eryk Dobrushkin
William Doyle
Samuel Glick
Sara Hamilton
Ruby Kinnamon
Joseph Romano
Kaavya Senthil
Rahul Sompuram

National Chinese Honor Society
Mitchell Kwok

Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica
Anthony Aggouras
Rosella Aluia
Eliza Brush
Dominique Carey
Ellen Cayer
Jack Cohn
Aaron Colonnese
Gaurav Dangol
Rachel Domond
Katarina Gentile
Audrey Griffith
Marley Jurgensmeyer
Christina Kennedy
Megan Lo
Alexandra McElhoe
Diego Opperman
Anja Pajevic
Ammarah Rehman

Congratulations to these students for this wonderful academic achievement!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

AHS Awarded $16,000 to Continue Italian Program!

Arlington High School was just awarded $16,000 from the Centro Attività Scolastiche Italiane (C.A.S.IT., Inc.) to continue its Italian language program. Italian was brought back to the high school last year--thanks to another generous C.A.S.IT grant--after being cut in 2002. There are now 75 students studying Italian 1 at the high school, and thanks to the additional funds being awarded, we will be able to offer Italian 2 next year as well.

We are very grateful to C.A.S.IT for its continued support, and look forward to the growth of Italian in the years to come!


Monday, May 19, 2014

Two WL Teachers Present at MaFLA Diversity Day

Arlington High School French teacher, Véronique Lahey, and Spanish teacher, Katia Haberman were invited to present at the Massachusetts Foreign Language Association's annual Diversity Day to share their expertise with other language teachers. Ms. Lahey presented to French teachers about the region in southern France where she is from, with a presentation entitled, "La France n'est pas que Paris: Découverte du Midi" (France is not just Paris: Discovery of the Midi region). Ms. Haberman presented to Spanish teachers on her native Peru with her presentation, "Peru: Imperio de Tesoros Escondidos" (Peru: Empire of Lost Treasures).

We are so proud of both teachers for sharing their expertise with fellow language teachers across the state and representing Arlington in this important professional development event!

New Teacher Commendations Awarded to Na Lu-Hogan and Katia Haberman!

I am very happy to announce that Spanish teacher Katia Haberman and Mandarin teacher Na Lu-Hogan have been awarded the Massachusetts Foreign Language Association's New Teacher Commendation! This award recognizes their demonstrated excellence in foreign language teaching. Only four teachers in the entire state are given this award each year, so it is a true honor to have two of them be a part of the Arlington Public School system (though knowing both teachers well, I am not at all surprised!).

Please join me in congratulating Katia and Luna! They are both so very deserving of this important recognition!

¡Felicidades, Katia!

Zhùhè nín, Luna!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Gladiator Cardboard Games at the Ottoson!

Latin students at the Ottoson dressed up like gladiators on Friday and practiced spoken Latin to participate in the first-ever Gladiator Cardboard Games, which will hopefully become an annual tradition. Latin teacher, Abbi Holt, organized the games as a fun and interactive way for students to understand Roman culture, practice using Latin, and have a lot of fun!

To learn more, check out the games overview and rules HERE.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

China Exchange

Seven middle and high school students participated in Arlington's first-ever China Exchange with their partner school in Beijing: the High School Affiliated to Beijing Normal University. Beijing students came to Arlington in January, 2014, and Arlington students traveled to Beijing over April vacation. While in China, we visited Tienanmen Square, the Forbidden City, Summer Palace, the Great Wall, and many other sights in the city of Beijing.

Please take a look at our photos!

For more information on the China Exchange, please click here.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Félicitations à Hara Blanas - 1st Place Winner in French Oratory Contest!

I am so excited to share the wonderful news that Hara Blanas won first place in last night's Club Richelieu French Language Oratory Contest! This is the first time that any student from Arlington High School has participated in the contest. A student in Véronique Lahey's AP French class, Hara has had excellent preparation throughout her French studies, and will now be moving on to the regional contest, to be held on March 22. Hara was awarded $400 for her win. 

Hara had to prepare a speech addressing the following topic: If you could live in a francophone country -- any one in the world, but not in France -- where would you live and why? What would your life be like in this country?

To quote Véronique, "Hara dominated" !!

Monday, March 10, 2014

AHS Program of Studies - World Languages

Arlington High School has just released the Program of Studies for the 2014-2015 school year. CLICK HERE to find just the World Language section.

We're excited to continue to offer five languages at the High School, and strongly encourage students to take advantage and use one of their electives to take a second second language! French, Latin, Italian, Mandarin, and Spanish are important languages globally, and important languages to this community. We also offer five more languages online for students to choose from (these classes do not count towards the graduation requirement): American Sign Language, Arabic, Japanese, German, and Russian. Let's hear it for linguistic diversity!!

We are also excited to offer courses for all learners, even those who may struggle with the Curriculum A and Honors levels. Students can now choose from two courses designed with them in mind that will help them meet the graduation requirement:

Latin Language and Culture 1A &1B
CL1115Z Latin Language and Culture 1A 5 points
This course and Latin Language and Culture 1B will offer students the opportunity to explore cultural topics in depth while following the Latin 1 syllabus at a slower pace. A wide variety of activities will be used to teach and reinforce Latin grammar and vocabulary, as well as English prefixes and roots derived from Latin. Students use the knowledge of Latin vocabulary to broaden their English vocabulary base, and improve their literacy skills in English. Students will be encouraged to select both courses. Enrollment in this course requires the approval of the Director of World Languages.

CL1116Z Latin Language and Culture 1B 5 points
This course is a continuation of Latin Language and Culture 1A, and offers students the opportunity to explore cultural topics in depth while following the Latin 1 syllabus at a slower pace. A wide variety of activities will be used to teach and reinforce Latin grammar and vocabulary, as well as English prefixes and roots derived from Latin. Students use the knowledge of Latin vocabulary to broaden their English vocabulary base, and improve their literacy skills in English. Enrollment in this course requires the approval of the Director of World Languages. Upon successful completion of this course, students may enroll in Latin 2A or H, depending on teacher recommendation.

Spanish for Conversation
ML1111Z Spanish for Conversation (Novice) – Curriculum B 5 points
With an emphasis on practical applications of Spanish, students will develop basic conversational skills and be able to apply them to a variety of real-world situations. Students will develop an understanding of Hispanic culture in the United States and the importance of Spanish globally. This course is open to students enrolled in the Workplace program. Admission by students not enrolled in Workplace requires approval from the Principal and the Director of World Languages.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

AHS voyage au Québec!

Last weekend, 19 AHS students travel north as part of the bi-annual Québec Homestay. What would drive us north during a miserably cold winter, you ask? Only one thing... le Carnaval de Québec! Once a year for three weeks, Québec City is transformed into a winter playland, with ice sculptures decorating the city, an ice castle in front of the parliament where the Bonhomme du Carnaval lives, and a huge winter play area with tubing, dog racing, human foosball, hot springs, and more. As entrance "tickets" to the winter carnaval, little figurines of the Bonhomme are purchased and attached to jackets, and these can be seen being worn by almost everyone throughout the city. Another highlight of this time of year in Québec is the Hôtel de Glace -- the Ice Hotel. One of only two in the world, this hotel is constructed entirely of ice, and for a hefty price, you can stay overnight and sleep on an ice-bed!

French students experienced a truly amazing time in Québec! We will be going again in 2015-2016. A ne pas manquer! (Not to be missed!)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Chinese Exchange Students Come to AHS!

This past Sunday, a group of 30 Chinese students and four teachers arrived from Beijing to spend the week at Arlington High School. This is the second year AHS has welcomed these students, who come from the High School Affiliated To Beijing Normal University. Most students stayed in families while they were here, while others stayed at the Homewood Suites in Arlington. Students shadowed their American host siblings for three days at AHS, attended a presentation by the Guidance Department on applying to American universities, went to a basketball and a hockey game, and enjoyed outings into Boston and Cambridge.

While our Chinese friends left us today, the exchange is only just beginning! Over April vacation, seven Arlington students will travel with two teachers to Beijing to spend a week with host families, attend Chinese high school, and visit tourist sites around Beijing. 

Chinese students arrive at the Homewood Suites in Arlington
Chinese teacher, Qi Te, presents a gift to Arlington High School
AHS Principal, Dr. Matthew Janger, speaks to the Chinese students and thanks them for coming
The Chinese & American students! The start of a lifelong friendship!!
The exchange teachers: AHS Mandarin teacher, Na Lu-Hogan; Chinese teacher, Qi Te;
World Language Director, Catherine Ritz; and Social Studies Director, Dr. Kerry Dunne

Thursday, January 9, 2014

French Students Meet Webster - French-Canadian Rapper!

Students in French 4 & 5 took a field trip to Andover High School on Tuesday to attend a presentation and concert by French-Canadian rapper: Webster! Students first learned from Webster about how to write rap -- which is, of course, a musical form of poetry. Talking about rhyme structure, metaphor, alliteration, and assonance, Webster showed examples from his own music to demonstrate the intricacy of rap. Students were then treated to an interactive concert by Webster and given posters to take home.

Véronique Lahey & Catherine Ritz with Webster