World Language FAQs

  • What languages are taught at South Middle School?

    Students at South Middle School have the option to study French, Mandarin Chinese, Latin, and Spanish in grades 6-8. Some students who require academic interventions in the 6th and 7th grade delay the study of language until the 8th grade when they begin studying Spanish.


    How and when does my child choose their language?

    Each year (typically in January), representatives from South Middle School visit 5th graders at all elementary schools to share a presentation about the World Language program and the process by which students indicate their preference for language study. Shortly after, parents are contacted with a World Language introductory letter and instructions for accessing a Google Form on which students indicate their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choices for language study. 


    Is my child guaranteed their first language choice? 

    Although we try our best to grant everyone their first choice, it is not always guaranteed. There are many factors that go into scheduling. This is why we ask you to choose up to 3 languages in the event the first language choice can not be accommodated.


    Can my child switch to another language next year if s/he does not like it? 

    No. World Language study is a 3+ year committment. Therefore, it is important to choose the language you are passionate about learning to ensure your dedication, interest and independent success in learning the language.   


    What if my child is proficient in the language they are choosing? 

    All language classes in grade 6 begin at an introductory level and work towards a low-intermediate level by grade 8. If children are heritage learners and can read, write, listen and speak in the language they are thinking about taking, it is strongly recommended they choose another language to study.   


    What does the middle school language program look like?

    We offer a three-year program in Chinese, French, Latin and Spanish with emphasis on the four modalities of listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. In Latin,the emphasis is on translation, grammar, and Latin to English word derivation; there will also be a strong focus on Roman mythology, history, and the daily life of the ancient Romans, as well as the impact of the Greco-Roman world on our modern society.  All courses incorporate 21st century skills: communication, critical thinking, creativity and collaboration. There is a communicative approach to language learning, as well as an emphasis on cultural fluency. 


    What will my child learn over a three-year period? 

    There are various topics that make up the NYS Checkpoint A curriculum. These topics include: Personal Identification and Information, House and Home, Family Life, Education, Physical Environment, Leisure Activities, Meal-taking/ Food/ Drink, Health and Welfare, Community and Neighborhood, Shopping, Earning A Living, Travel. All of the aforementioned topics will not be learned at once. Some of these topics will be introduced solely in grade 6, while others are introduced for the first time in grade 7 or grade 8.  Language is continuously built upon, therefore as students progress through the Checkpoint A program, content will be spiraled from previous years of study.