Wednesday, November 23, 2016

WL Teachers Attend National ACTFL Convention in Boston

Teachers in the World Language Department in Arlington attended a national convention held by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) last week and over the weekend, where they learned new strategies and shared their knowledge through session and workshop presentations. The ACTFL Convention was held in Boston this year, so all teachers were able to attend, many for the first time. ACTFL attracts over 8,000 world language teachers from around the world to its convention each year.

We are proud to share that the following teachers were featured as presenters at this important professional development event:

Here are some other highlights of our time at ACTFL: 
  • AHS Mandarin Teacher Konwen Yuen attended a session called "Advanced Level Proficiency Gains: Classroom Practices that Work," which examined classroom instructional practices that facilitated proficiency gains to bring participants to high level proficiency. 
  • OMS Latin Teacher Abbi Holt attended a session called "Party Like It’s MMXVI: The Fun and the Fruit of 21st-Century Latin Teaching," which she said was by one of the best Latin presenters she saw. His spoken Latin was excellent and he did a great job explaining the active spoken techniques he uses.
  • A number of teachers were able to attend a workshop or a session by Greg Duncan, who came to do an in-service training for Arlington teachers last year. They appreciated being able to follow up with him now that they've had a year of implementing some of his strategies.
  • AHS French Teacher Véronique Lahey ran into a former student of hers and AHS graduate, Danny Chin. Danny is now teaching French in Malden.
  • WL Director Catherine Ritz -- who is currently serving as the President of the Massachusetts Foreign Language Association (MaFLA) -- was nominated to move into the role of MaFLA Programming Coordinator beginning in January, 2017. In this volunteer role, Catherine will coordinate all the professional development events that MaFLA runs annually.
OMS Latin Teacher Abbi Holt teaching other teachers gladiator wars during her session.
AHS French Teacher Véronique Lahey (right) with her former student, Danny Chin, who is now a French teacher himself
AHS Spanish Teacher Maria Arévalo (left) and OMS Mandarin Teacher Na Lu-Hogan (right) with our favorite presenter and world language guru, Greg Duncan
OMS Spanish Teacher Meagan Hyman (left), AHS Spanish Teacher Christina Toro (center), and WL Director Catherine Ritz (right) check out the ACTFL Exhibit Hall
Standing room only at WL Director Catherine Ritz's session on Assessment
OMS French Teacher Anne Zachary presenting on using Art in the classroom
AHS Spanish Teachers Emmy Osterling (left) and Katia Marticorena (center) and WL Director Catherine Ritz
OMS French Teachers Anne Zachary and Paula Nicholas (left) with AHS Spanish Teacher Maria Arévalo (center right) and WL Director Catherine Ritz

The Officers of the Massachusetts Foreign Language Association (MaFLA) (left to right), Jorge Allen of Andover Public Schools, Kathy Turner of Sharon High School, Catherine Ritz, WL Director at Arlington Public Schools, and Tim Eagan of Wellesely Public Schools
AHS Spanish Teachers Emmy Osterling (left) and Katia Marticorena (right) attend a workshop along with MaFLA Events Coordinator Joyce Beckwith

MaFLA President Elect Tim Eagan of Wellesley Public School and MaFLA President Catherine Ritz attend the ACTFL Awards Ceremony
MaFLA 1st Vice President Kathy Turner (left) of Sharon High School and MaFLA President and WL Director in Arlington Catherine Ritz (right) meet with ACTFL's Executive Director Marty Abbott (center) at the ACTFL 50th Anniversary Dinner
ACTFL's opening session

ACTFL's opening session

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

AHS Student Compete in Yale Certamen

This past Saturday, seven students (6 sophomores & 1 junior), traveled to Yale University to compete in the NJCL certamen competition. Kira played as an advanced team of one, while the sophomores played on two intermediate teams. Teams from all over the country came to compete and one of our intermediate teams placed 5th, just a few spots out of semifinals!

Pictured left to right: A.J., Sam, Isaiah, Maggie, Alexandra, Brett & Kira.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

WL Team Presents at the Mass Computer Using Educators Conference

A team of World Language teachers -- WL Director Catherine Ritz, AHS Spanish teacher Christina Toro, OMS Mandarin teacher Na Lu-Hogan, and former OMS Spanish teacher Alexa Finck -- presented a session on making digital global connections at a technology conference yesterday. The Massachusetts Computer Using Educators (C.U.E.) annual conference brings in educators from across disciplines looking for ways to better incorporate technology into their teaching. The WL team's session, "Go Global: Making Digital Connections," focused on ways that we have used technology resources such as Skype, WeChat, and WhatsApp to help our students connect with native speakers from places like El Salvador, Colombia, and China.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Congrats to our Global Competence Program awardees!

We are proud to announce that five students have successfully completed Arlington High School's new Global Competence Program, in which they submitted a portfolio demonstrating their commitment to global studies. Please join me in congratulating AHS seniors:
  • Hannah Barrett
  • Zach deBesche
  • Bailey Holman
  • Alexander Klein
  • Amelia Ostling
In order to receive this rigorous certificate, students must successfully demonstrated their ability to…
  • Think Globally: Have an increased knowledge of their relationship to the world; think about issues from a global perspective; gain an appreciation for other world cultures, viewpoints and perspectives.
  • Communicate Effectively: Improve their foreign language skills and their ability to communicate with people across cultural and language divides.
  • Contribute Responsibly: Use their global knowledge to interact and build relationships with people from other cultures; actively seek world knowledge to develop their own values and perspectives; demonstrate respect, open mindedness, understanding and flexibility in behavior and thinking; help others to embrace multiple perspectives.
An integral part of the portfolio process is the Global Engagement Project. Each student chose a country of focus, and investigated a particular aspect of their culture in depth. We are pleased to share these exemplary pieces of student work here:

Hannah Barrett: "Evolving Gender Roles in Peru"

Zach deBesche: "Música Chilota"

Bailey Holman: "Italy's Government: From Rome to a Republic"

Alexander Klein: "Where It Went Wrong: How the Nazi Party Came to Power"

Amelia Ostling: "Two Koreas"

Though I had very little prior knowledge or experience with the differences between North and South Korea, it was something I wanted to pursue. I know that people who are separated begin to differ after extended periods of time, and I knew this had to be true about the two Koreas.

To start from the beginning, anyone who knows about the division of the Koreas knows of their differing governments. The North is a Communist dictatorship, and the South is a Capitalist republic. The North is very isolated and experiences famine, whereas the South is a global power and a rising economic giant. A few years ago, I read a book by Euny Hong called The Birth of Korean Cool. The book was all about the drastic transformation of South Korea over a period of 30 years. As recently as the 1980s, South Korean students had to be tested for parasites and lived in mostly rural areas. But if we fast-forward to the present, South Korea has one of the most robust hospital systems in the world and has multiple metropolitan areas. From my own travel to Seoul, I can attest to the fact that it is a highly populated, extremely modern and global city. South Korea experienced this huge growth, but one look at the news on North Korea makes their differences very apparent. Through the videos I watched about North Korean defectors, I learned about the dreary everyday situation. Many defectors recalled seeing starving children in the streets and frequent periods of food shortages and famines. Just looking at pictures of the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, the stark differences between North and South are apparent. When looking at current pictures of North Korea, I feel as if I have been transported back to the 1950s, as if North Korea has been frozen in time since the division. This fascinated me, as someone who has lived in a very global and advanced country my whole life. How is it that two countries, which used to be exactly the same, have become so different?

Through my research, I began to uncover the answer to that question. First, the health of the citizens is very different. Because of frequent malnutrition in North Korea, adult men have experience stunted growth and now stand a full 15 centimeters shorter than their South Korean counterparts. Additionally, many diseases still run rampant in North Korea, and they lack a centralized health system, which shaves 12 years off their lifespans compared to South Koreans.

Second, food culture varies between the two countries. In South Korea, food is very flavorful, and many people eat Westernized foods on a daily basis. Fast food restaurants, like McDonalds and KFC, can be easily found in South Korean cities, and people indulge in coffee drinks. North Korea’s cuisine is more bland, and contains less meat. The most stark difference is that Western companies like McDonalds are absent from North Korea because of the country’s isolation.

Third, the differences in fashion and beauty standards between the two countries have become very distinct. From seeing pictures of ordinary citizens walking the streets, these differences are obvious, and by watching videos like 100 Years of Beauty - Korea, the viewer can obtain an even clearer picture. For example, women in South Korea love a natural or cute make up design, while North Korean women love dramatic make up.

Fourth, because of North Korean isolationism and dictator propaganda, the mindsets of the two countries are very different. In North Korea, Americans are seen as extremely evil. Young children are taught to play games where they attack dummies of American soldiers. As a strong contrast, South Korea’s military works very closely with US troops stationed there. All South Korean students have to learn English, and many South Korean citizens are very interested in foreign culture. Kpop music has become popular all over the world, and many South Korean people are proud to be sharing that as part of their culture.

Throughout my research, I have found that the amount of differences between these two countries are too numerous to count, and to name in my writing. However, the most amazing difference, and simultaneously the most dividing one, is the separation of the Korean languages. To me, as someone who is a foreign language student, and someone who is fascinated by linguistics, this is the most interesting difference. Because of every difference that I have previously listed, and many I have not, the two Korean languages have drifted apart. These languages have separated to the point where a North Korean defector cannot recognize half of the words used in daily South Korean conversations. This is partly because of the strong Korean nationalism in the North, which has made their Korean remain more faithful to the “original.” As a contrast, the Korean language of the South has adopted countless new words. The South Korean modernization and global culture has created many words adopted from other languages, namely English. Also, because of advancements in the South, many technologies are used daily that are non-existent in the North. Finally, because of government-created changes to the South Korean language, in order to make it more simple to say and spell, many words have been altered. Many of these changes are extremely difficult to explain to someone who does not study or know Korean, but I have included a video playlist below that may help.

Through my collage, I attempted to illustrate these differences, and through my explanation I attempted to highlight them. The separation between North and South Korea has created so many changes and barriers between the two countries culturally, many of which can be seen just by seeing pictures. A book titled Korea-Korea by German photographer Dieter Leistner was published with that exact intent. Leistner took photographs of similar locations in Seoul and Pyongyang and published them, highlighting the similarities with the separation of Germany into East and West. Though this book was the one reference I could not use in my collage and my project, it was the book that propelled me to think more about the North and South. This entire project fostered a desire in me to see the two Koreas reunited. I have seen countless reunion videos between families who were separated after the armistice, and each one never fails to tug at my heart. I have also heard countless stories from North Korean defectors, each one convincing me that a majority of what happens in the North is inhumane. Because of this, in my collage I placed a picture of North Korean gymnast Hong Un Jong and South Korean gymnast Lee Eun-ju in the center. Their selfie blew up social media and news all over the world because of their willingness to interact with each other. I hope that someday the two countries will no longer be as different as they currently are. Though reunification would come with many difficulties, in the end it would be best so that the Korean people can be reunited. In the end, I made this project with the hope that my fellow students will see it, read my words, and become more educated on North and South Korea.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Montréal Trip Information Meeting, 9/29

There will be an informational meeting for the new Ottoson Montréal Trip in Ms. Zachary's room on Thursday, 9/29 after school. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

National Spanish Exam Scholarship Awarded to AHS Senior

Felicitaciones to AHS alumni Kate Carr (class of 2016) for being awarded the National Spanish Exam Senior Scholarship of $2,000 to use towards her university education.

To qualify for this award, a student must have scored higher than 75 percent on the National Spanish Exam for level III and IV, submit a resume with their extracurriculars, write a persuasive essay in Spanish, and submit a video clip which shows the student speaking spontaneously with their teacher.

Congratulations Kate!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

OMS Montréal Trip Planned for 2016-2017

We are excited to announce a new trip next year for our French students at the Middle School! Ottoson French teacher, Anne Zachary, will be leading a trip to Montréal during April vacation, 2017. This trip is open to all 7th and 8th grade students enrolled in French.

A deposit of $250 is due by October 15, 2016 to reserve your spot. Students should register online using the following link:

Please click here for the TRIP ITINERARY and PRICING.
Please click here for a SLIDE PRESENTATION about the trip.

Please contact Ms. Zachary ( for more information.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Middle Schoolers Raise Money for Teosinte Students

After studying about life in Arlington's sister-city, Teosinte, El Salvador, 7th grade students were eager to help the youth of Teosinte by raising money to send them to high school. Currently, students in Teosinte can only go to school for grades 1-8, and although many kids would like to attend high school, their families cannot afford the $90/month fee. 7th grade Spanish students held two fundraisers selling handmade friendship bracelets and other goods to Arlington students and parents. All items were made in Teosinte and 100% of the profits went to helping Teosinte students attend high school. The 7th graders were able to raise almost $600, which will allow a Teosinte student to attend high school for four months next year.

Congratulations to these students for their hard work and dedication, as well as to Spanish teacher Ali Matson for organizing this important event!

Café Parisien, 2016

French students in Véronique Lahey's French 4 class competed last week in the popular Café Parisien project, presenting their proposals to a jury of judges. A year-long project, students must prepare a business proposal for a new café or restaurant in Paris (of course, this must be entirely in French!). Details are crucial, and students must include financial models, a restaurant layout, a marketing plan, a menu, and sample food for the judges to taste during their presentation.

Félicitations to this year's winners: Marie Olland, Arianna Fiorentini, and Tarangana Thapa

Marie Olland, Arianna Fiorentini, Tarangana Thapa

French & Spanish Global Interviews

Ottoson Spanish & French teachers Merridith Minerd's and Paula Nicholas' 8th grade students completed an end-of-year summative assessment in which they had to interview a native or advanced speaker of Spanish and French. The objectives were three-fold: to build oral proficiency, community and global awareness of the diaspora of the French and Spanish-speaking world. Students included questions from all four units of study: family/home, food, health, and clothing. Although students prepared questions in advance, they were expected to demonstrate communication skills and strategies in asking unscripted follow-up questions and making appropriate comments. Interviews included conversations with classmates, teachers, family members, friends, and neighbors, both locally and as far away as Spain, France, Canada, Germany and San Francisco.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Seal of Biliteracy Awards!

We are proud to announce that the following students have qualified to be awarded the Seal of Biliteracy, according to state and national guidelines. The Seal of Biliteracy is an award in recognition of students who have studied and attained proficiency in two or more languages by high school graduation. The Seal of Biliteracy encourages students to pursue biliteracy, honors the skills our students attain, and can be evidence of skills that are attractive to future employers and college admissions offices. 

The majority of students who participated in testing for the Seal of Biliteracy were current juniors. Additional testing sessions will be offered for students in November and May of the 2016-2017 school year. We will be holding an Award Ceremony next year for all qualifying students, and students will be given certificates and pins at that time. If you would like to learn more about how to apply for the Seal of Biliteracy at Arlington High School, please click here.


Platinum Seal - 
Advanced Low Proficiency
BARCHUK, Mykhaylo (Latin)
FRIEDMAN, Spencer (Latin)
GATES, Jessica (Latin)
GLICK, Eliza (Latin)
O'BRIEN, Erin (Spanish)
O'KEEFE, Samuel (French)
OSTLING, Amelia (Latin)
ROSSI-FORTUNATI, Julieta (Spanish)
TAPIERO, Nicolas (Spanish)
TRACEY, Alice (French)
WANG, Nina (Portuguese)
WANG, Nina (Latin)

Gold Seal - 
Intermediate High Proficiency
DURST, Sarah (Latin)
FRIEDMAN, Spencer (German)
JACOB-DOLAN, Jeremiah (Latin)
LEWIS, Alexandra (Spanish)
LINCOLN, Sharon (French)
LUSHI, Xheni (Latin)
MENDEZ, Rebecca (Spanish)
PLOTKIN, Sophie (Spanish)
RAGY, Mariam (Latin)
ROTHENBERG, Elsa (Spanish)
VEATCH, Roy (Latin)

Silver Seal - 
Intermediate Mid Proficiency
AYAD, Mustapha (Spanish)
BIRD, Juliana (Latin)
BLANAS, Eleni (Spanish)
BLANAS, Marinos (Spanish)
COLETY, Benjamin (French)
HURLEY, Emilie (Latin)
KLEIN, Alex (French)
MITRI, Peter (Spanish)
MORE, Gurpinder (Spanish)
NILES, Owen (Italian)
OLLAND, Marie (French)
PATHAK, Nachiket (French)
RAO, Ajay (Spanish)
SMITH, Timothy (Spanish)
TOMILSON, Sarah (French)
VELAGOSHTI, Viola (Latin)
VERSPYCK, Adrian (French)

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Open Mic Performances, by Juliana Bird

Open Mic Performances
By: Juliana Bird
April 31, 2016

On April 28th, there was an open mic event that included performances from interested students here at AHS. Students were encouraged to perform spoken word/acoustic or original work. There was a variety of performances that included Italian, Latin and Japanese poetry to original poetry, a series of Calvin and Hobbes, a picture book reading, and everything in between.

Mrs. Kitsis and the Student Library Committee organized the event to give students from AHS a chance to express their love of poetry and expose their original work. It was quite a success with over 15 readings and 25 audience members.

The structure of the event was unique. Students in the audience who hadn’t signed up for participation ahead of time could spontaneously fill out a participation form and read a poem. There was a variety of poetry books scattered about to spark inspiration. The accepting system allowed for about six impromptu performances.  

To start off the show, senior Jacob Deck sang a ballad and playing the harp. The event coordinator then performed the first poem: Ophemandius by Percy Bysshe.

Over the course of the event, there were many different poems read in their native languages. Junior, Owen Niles, read two poems in Italian and then summarized their meanings to the audience. Junior, Amelia Ostling also read a Latin poem written by one of the only female Latin poets. In addition, Mandarin teacher, Ms. Yuen, read an ancient chinese poem from 600AD about the beauty of the swan.

Teachers performed poetry as well. Mrs. Kitsis read the Jabberwocky picturebook. Mrs. Walsh-Bradley read an original poem called Ode to Coffee that she had written last minute that morning.

All of the performances were well done whether they were spontaneous or not. The Open Mic Event of 2017 was a success and the Student Library Committee hopes to continue the tradition in years to come.


Monday, June 13, 2016

Congratulations to our National Language Exam Winners!

Arlington is proud to recognize award winners for the National French Contest, National Latin Exam, and National Spanish Exam. Hundred of thousands of students across the country participate in these exams each year, and Arlington consistently has Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal winners at all levels.

Congratulations both to these students and their hard-working teachers!

National French Contest

8th Grade - French 1B
Ella Simring
Chiara Ruberto

Maddie Brosius
Anais Clinch 
Lillian Montilla
Audrey Skehan 

Eve Alton 
Nate Dorson 
Lena Goodnow 
Heather Kirtley
Avril Lynch
Matt Peterson 
Ella Walsh 
Elizabeth Wren 

French 2
Annie Cave 
Savannah Curro
Caroline Dressler 
Catherine DeFrondeville
Christian DeFrondeville


Ellyce Chisholm-Matzek 
August Hoglund 
Claire Kitzmiller 
Eleonora Leto 
Pamina Mejia 
Jacqueline Smith 


Nezar Nokrachi 
Anne Schoonmaker 
Abby Simon 
Sowmya Yelleswarapu 
 Jamila Zanobetti Foreman

French 3


Noa Donlan
Chloe Morgenstern
Erin O’Brien
Ashley Wicks


Maxime Aranow
Reese Green 
Beatrice Schueller


Marshall Joun
Annalie O’Brien
Grace Skehan
Isabella Wolfsdorf

French 4
Kate Carr 


Ben Colety
Julian Flesh
Clinton Garrahan
Natchiket Pathak 
Marie Olland
Minerva Veeser-Bobea

French 1B - 8th Grade - Front Row (L to R): Eve Alton (Bronze), Anais Clinch (Silver), Audrey Skehan (Silver), Lena Goodnow (Bronze), Chiara Ruberto (Gold), Elizabeth Wren (Bronze); Back Row (L to R): Nate Dorson (Bronze), Ella Walsh (Bronze), Matt Peterson (Bronze), Ella Simring (Gold), Avril Lynch (Bronze), Lillian Montilla (Silver), Maddie Brosius (Silver), Heather Kirtley (Bronze)
French 2
French 2
French 2 
French 3
French 4

National Latin Exam

8th Grade - Latin 1B
Liam Barthelmy
Anya Miller

Calvin Pike
Irene Johnson
Chrystal Zhu

Xavier Dolen
Lauren Murphy
Zoe Pappas

Latin 2

Brett Kahmann
Alexandra Tse
Nina Wang 
Andrew “A.J.” Wilson


Sylvia Billngsley 
Grace Biondi 
Oz Breton 
Gavin Cho 
Alana Colety 
Isaiah Donovan 
Spencer Friedman 
Max Garrity-Janger
Sam Goldstein
Michael Graham-Green
Maggie Horgan 
Ashby Loshin 
Chance Philbin
Zack Solovay

Latin 3

Charlotte Bell 
Josefine Kynvi
Julietta Rossi-Fortunati
Kira Solovay

Latin 4
Meg McDonald 
Grace Mungenast 


Sarah Durst
Eliza Glick 
Amelia Ostling 
Mariam Ragy

8th Grade - Latin 1B
8th Grade - Latin 1B
Latin 2
Latin 2
Latin 3
Latin 4
Latin 4

National Spanish Exam

8th Grade - Spanish 1B
Joan Cha
Grant Greisman
Maha Noor
Lana Popovic
Theo Rosen

Eli Barlow
Rafaela Diamond
David Gydus
Andrew Harrison
Kai Hazard
Sara Kushnirsky
Marie Elizabeth Nogard
Iris McAllister
Maryn McConkey
Kiran Pyles
Juliet Smith
Eileen Tucci
Helen Willoughby

Danielle Bernstein
Maggie Cardonna
Jonathan Cayer
Declan Dolan
Mitchell Fessler
Anna Hinkel
Jackson Kabelitz
Matthew Loosian
Emilia Mannstadt
Julia Miller
Calvin Olsen
Alyssa Paolillo
Maya Roth

Spanish 1
Katja Ampe

Lilah Vieweg
Spanish 2
Haneen Abderrazzaq
Jabar Awad
Ian Burnett
Winston Chen
Tiago Gomes
Abigail Hodgdon
Gil Kim
David Orians
Elizabeth Pegram
Lucas Plotkin
Clara Tully
Francesco Valagussa

Naomi Askenazi
Benjamin Brown
Jessie Cali
Jeffrey Candell
Andre Dasilva
Leonardo Drake
Sahil Duvadie
Henry Fox
Chloe Jackson
Jennifer Jordahl
Lulu Eddy
Venice Mountain-Zona
Allison Pugliese
Lucia Voges
Lauren White

Kelly Brosnan
Reina Conti
Isabella Dray
Rhandy Germosen
Max Hannon
Ethan Johnson
Hikaru Koga
Aidan LaValley
Lila Panico
Isabella Scopetski
Khushi Singh

Spanish 3

Quinn Connell 
Ethan Hall 
Ben Hoffinger 


Gabriela Awad 
Amy Cunniff 
Charlie Deakin
Grace Willoughby 


Ionis Kutrolli 
Fiona Lassell 
Sean Mahoney 
Sarah Shaller
Marina Wagner

Spanish 4

Eleni Blanas 
Clara Hevia 
Austin Lu 
Insa Mannstadt 


Nicole Haas-Loomis 
Patrick O’Toole 
Elsa Rothenberg

8th Grade - Spanish 1B: Top Row (Left to Right): Mitchell Fessler, Eileen Tucci, Theo Rosen, Marie Elizabeth Nogard, Sara Kushnirsky, Rafaela Diamond; Bottom Row (Left to Right): Anna Hinkel, Emilia Mannstadt, Alyssa Paolillo
8th Grade - Spanish 1B
8th Grade - Spanish 1B
8th Grade - Spanish 1B
8th Grade - Spanish 1B
8th Grade - Spanish 1B 
Spanish 2
Spanish 2
Spanish 3
Spanish 3
Spanish 3
Spanish 4