Foreign Language Curriculum Study
2004 - 2005
During the year, the Foreign Language Curriculum Review Committee met regularly to discuss both long-term curricular issues as well as those arising as a result of the changes being made within the school system. Our initial priorities were to
extension of the Spanish FLES program to
· examine how the Department might be more responsive to the needs of native and Heritage Spanish speakers K-12, including
o adding time for Spanish reading and writing instruction at the elementary and middle school levels.
o establishing differentiated courses for fluent speakers of Spanish, including native and Heritage speakers, as well as for students with significant outside experience in Spanish.
· retain and fine tune current course offerings which provide for
o the continuation of Spanish FLES through grades 5-7, so that at the end of the 7th grade year, Spanish students would attain a proficiency level that is equivalent to the proficiency level of a HS Spanish I student.
rotation of French,
a variety of
language options in the Middle School, i.e., the 1A and 1B levels of Spanish,
· maintain a variety of language offerings by
o considering adding critical languages, such as Chinese or Arabic.
o investigating opportunities for students to study less-commonly-taught (LCT) languages via distance learning or outside of the school day.
o differentiating courses in the high school for students who have completed the FLES program and for fluent Spanish speakers, as well as for students with significant outside experience in Spanish and French.
As the year progressed, the
demands of the transition of the school system impacted our discussions,
information-gathering efforts, and
decisions. Extending the FLES
Spanish program to
Foreign Language Curriculum Review Recommendations
1. Reinstate the 2004-2005 school year levels of instructional, pull-out, and enhancement time proportioned to the FLES Spanish program at Thomas Jefferson.
Expand the current FLES
Spanish program into
3. Examine the possibility of grading student achievement in Spanish classes at TJ and reporting it formally to parents and students in the same manner as is done for core classes.
4. Provide “Spanish for Educators” classes to MD and TJ teachers to strengthen their ability to integrate Spanish into their own classroom instruction.
Allow 6th grade students
currently taking the Exploratory Foreign Language Rotation to continue with
French 1A or
3. Offer a MS Spanish program in future years which reflects a sequential 3-year curriculum and which will serve as a transition piece between the elementary and high school programs, building on the instruction provided by the former and providing the rigor to prepare them for the latter. At the end of the 3-year MS Spanish program, students should achieve a proficiency level which is equivalent to that of HS level I students.
4. Provide appropriate resources for the MS Spanish program, including adequate instructional time (2 hours every 6 days for 5th and 6th graders and 60 minutes every other day for 7th graders), professional development for teachers, hands-on teaching materials for younger students, and continual remuneration of teachers for curriculum development.
5. If the French 1A and 1B sequence is not reinstated, offer French electives for 7th graders wishing to begin their study of French. A French elective will be offered starting in the ’06-’07 year to students wishing to study French in addition to studying Spanish
2. Provide professional development opportunities centering on “best practices” to HS Foreign Language teachers to help them prepare to teach 8th graders.
3. Discuss the placement of 8th graders in French I classes in order to best serve their needs.
4. Offer fourth year Spanish and French students the option of taking the French and Spanish IB Standard Level exam.
5. Continue to develop and refine the proficiency benchmark assessment system, with the goal of simplifying the process and coordinating evaluation to ensure valid assessment.
6. Create a dedicated Foreign Language computer lab in SY 2006-2007, which would
¨ facilitate the administration of yearly proficiency benchmarks assessments mandated by the School Board.
¨ allow teachers and students to use computer programs designed for skill development.
¨ be staffed as a remediation center after school, similar to the English Writing Lab and Math lab. (See #1 above.)
7. Review the current 2-12 curriculum guide in order to recommend changes and/or additions that will make it a useful tool for teachers and an informative document for others (administration, board, parents).
1. Differentiate foreign language instruction at the elementary school level by offering reading instruction in Spanish, rather than Spanish language instruction, to Spanish native/heritage speakers.
1. Consider offering a MS Spanish class for Fluent Speakers to differentiate instruction for the growing number of native/bilingual speakers needing literacy instruction, rather than oral/aural practice, in Spanish.
1. Offer a section of Level 2, Spanish for Fluent Speakers in the High School in order to differentiate instruction for the growing number of native/bilingual 9th and 10th grade native/Heritage speakers needing literacy instruction, rather than oral/aural practice, in Spanish.
2. Continue to offer IB Spanish, Level A2 in the High School.
1. Give all Foreign Language teachers adequate release time in the Spring so that they may write and grade the oral and written benchmark proficiency exams mandated by the School Board.
2. Run a feasibility study to determine the possibility of offering a “critical” language, i.e., Arabic or Chinese.
3. Establish a departmental policy governing requirements for students who wish to move through the Foreign Language course of study at an accelerated pace.
4. Investigate opportunities for students to study less-commonly-taught (LCT) languages via distance learning or outside of the school day.
Establish an immersion
opportunity or school exchange for MS Spanish
students. MS French students
6. Seek remuneration by the school system for teachers organizing and chaperoning school exchange (like to Lycée Ozenne and Trewhela’s School).
Seek Board approval for
textbook adoption rubric criteria.
Approval for the French/Spanish textbook rubric criterion and for
Seek Board approval for the
adoption of basal texts for Spanish levels 1a – 3,