Friday, February 26, 2016

Announcing the Global Competence Program at AHS!

Arlington High School is proud to announce the launch of a new initiative: the Global Competence Program.

The AHS Global Competence Program (GCP) is designed to foster students’ global awareness, and, in so doing, provide AHS graduates with the essential skills for participating in and contributing to an increasingly globalized society. GCP participants will:
  • 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.
The Global Competence Program is open to all students and students are encouraged to submit their Initial Application early in their high school career in order to have time to complete all required components. Upon successful completion, students will be awarded a Global Competence Certificate and pin for graduation. More information including all requirements and paperwork can be found here:

A component of this program is foreign travel. Please help support our students by making a donation to the Global Education Fund, which awards travel scholarships to students enrolled in this program. Please send a check made out to “Arlington High School” with “Global Travel Fund” on the memo line. Checks should be mailed to Catherine Ritz, Director of World Languages, Arlington High School, 869 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington, MA, 02476. Your support is greatly appreciated. Thank you for helping make travel a reality for our students in need!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Québec Homestay, 2016

The third semi-annual AHS French trip to Québec City took place at the end of January. Twenty-one students stayed in pairs with French-speaking families, engaging in breakfast, dinner, and other activities (students mentioned bowling, playing cards and a musical jam session). During the day, students traveled together to experience Winter Carnaval, trips to the Montmorency Falls and Ice Hotel, snow tubing, a ferry ride on an ice cutter, a scavenger hunt inside a restored fort, and traditional Québecois singing, dancing and a lumberjack meal at an authentic Sugar Shack.

This trip allows students of French to receive a first-hand understanding of the importance of the French language to North America. There is nothing more powerful for a language student than to spend time in a country where that language is spoken. Following each trip, students return filled with energy and enthusiasm to continue learning French, and they share that excitement with their classmates.

Thanks so much to French teachers Anne Zachary (Ottoson) and Joli Alderuccio (AHS), who led this year’s trip. I am grateful that we can offer real-world experiences like this to our students, and provide them with an authentic opportunity to use the language they have been studying. We will run the Québec trip again during the 2017-2018 school year. (Next year, France exchange!)

Ms. Zachary and Ms. Alderuccio with Bonhomme Carnaval ice sculpture
Crossing the St. Lawrence River on an ice cutter ferry (Chateau Frontenac in background)
Having fun at Montmorency Park
Ice sculpture at the Ice Hotel
Playing the wooden spoons at the sugar shack

New Date for Chinese New Year Celebration: March 4

Due to a snow day, we have a new date for the
Chinese New Year Celebration
at Ottoson Middle School
March 4, 2016
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.

  • Chopstick Competition: Prove your chopstick dominance by competing to pick up as many items as you can in one minute!

  • Chinese Calligraphy: Think you’ve got good handwriting? Try writing Chinese New Year’s poems using traditional methods!

  • Trivia: Think you know China? Time to prove it in a trivia challenge!

  • Martial Arts Demonstration: Arlington karate school Zhen Ren Chuan Martial Arts will do a live demonstration!

  • Student Performances: Ottoson Mandarin students will present poetry, festival songs, and a short play!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

AHS Announces new Seal of Biliteracy Award

Arlington High School is proud to announce the launch of a new award: the Seal of Biliteracy! The Seal recognizes 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.

We encourage current Juniors enrolled in upper-level foreign language courses as well as English Language Learners who speak another language at home to apply for this award. Students must submit a short application with their intent to pursue the Seal, then take a proficiency-based assessment this spring. Results will be evaluated and the Seal will be awarded next fall. There are three levels of the award: Silver, Gold, and Platinum.

The application must be submitted by March 18 in order to apply for the award. Please see the Seal of Biliteracy page on our website for more information and for the application, or contact Catherine Ritz at

We look forward to supporting language students and encouraging language study through this important award!

Monday, February 22, 2016

French Summer Scholarship Winner at AHS!

Senior Alice Tracey won a competitive scholarship that will allow her to travel to France this summer for no cost. Competing against 50 students nationwide, Alice won the scholarship from the American Society of the French Academic Palms. Alice plans to travel to Paris and participate in an intensive French language program for four weeks. Félicitations, Alice!