The study of a world language is fundamental in the general education of any student. The study of another language enriches students' lives and expands their perspective through the study of culture and literature. There is a compelling and realistic reason for all students to study a language. Knowing more than one language is necessary for our economic survival and well being in an increasingly global society. The implementation of the study of world languages in the New Jersey Core Curriculum has validated for many years what research had shown for a long time: the process of learning another language sharpens students' learning skills, helps them score higher on standardized tests, and provides them with an invaluable marketing tool.
The West New York School District believes that it is essential for students to learn a language, other than English, in order to compete in the global society of the 21st Century. Research shows the advantages derived from studying another language and understanding the practices of other cultures. Verbal and math scores, in all types of standardized tests, climb higher with each additional year of world language study. Therefore, we enthusiastically implement a sequential study of a language alongside, and integrating with, other major disciplines, from the primary grades through high school.
It is our philosophy that a world language cannot be taught using a separate, isolated curriculum. Therefore, the West New York World Language Program adheres closely to the students' daily classroom studies. The learning of a language will be student-centered and will encompass interdisciplinary activities promoting individual learning, critical and higher order thinking. Through this interactive and progressive approach, supported by appropriate use of technology, we are committed to providing students with both the academic and personal advantage derived from a world language study and, equally important, personal awareness and appreciation of our diverse society.
The purpose of the World Language Curriculum in West New York is to introduce the study of another language and culture from the first grade onward: research shows that children are most receptive and more able to learn at a very young age. Instruction is provided in all elementary grades to foster competency and interest in the Spanish language and Hispanic culture.
The study and acquisition of another language is progressively and sequentially continue through the elementary levels and culminates at the high school levels. The criterion is presently reflected in the implementation of World Language instruction in our school system starting in kindergarten and continuing through 8th grade at the Middle School. At the 9th grade level, students may continue receiving Spanish instruction or begin to study French or Italian language and culture. These language courses are taught using a comprehensive curriculum that is aligned to the New Jersey World Language Curriculum Standard:
All students will be able to use a world language in addition to English to engage in meaningful conversation, to understand and interpret spoken and written language, and to present information, concepts, and ideas, while also gaining an understanding of the perspectives of other cultures. Through language study, they will make connections with other content areas, compare the language and culture studied with their own, and participate in home and global communities.
The West New York District has taught Spanish since its introduction in 1998 at the elementary schools because this language is the most widely spoken after English in the United States, and the limited availability of qualified language instructors. The study of Spanish allows our monolingual and bilingual students, who speak another language other than Spanish, the opportunity to practice and reinforce their new skills outside the classroom. At the same time, our bilingual students (Spanish), who possess varied levels of proficiency and competency in the language, are guided to improve their speaking and writing skills.
Students at the high school level have the option to select French, Italian, or Spanish for their world language instruction. These courses are taught by native speakers in most cases, or near-native language teachers who possess a vast knowledge of the target language and culture. One of the vital aspects of our program is the study of customs and practices of different peoples in the world as well as in our community. Our program is designed to increase students' quest for knowledge, promote appreciation of cultures, and, most importantly, create life-long learners.
Every student from Kindergarten to 8th Grade is provided with 40 minutes a week of Spanish instruction. At the high school level, students are offered the choice of three languages, French, Italian, or Spanish for 40 minutes 5 times a week for two years (Level 1 and Level 2) in order to fulfill the current college entrance requirement.
There is Level 3 and AP for each of the languages taught at the high school for students who have successfully completed Level 1 and Level 2 of the language. In addition, 7th Graders are tested with Spanish Honors version of the 8th Grade Placement test given in the spring. Those who receive a passing grade are given the opportunity to take a pre-first class of Spanish Honors as an 8th Grader and receive high school credit upon a successful completion of the course.
Non-Spanish speakers are usually placed in Spanish R classes in Level 1, 2, or 3. For heritage speakers of Spanish, there are additional courses depending on their fluency - beginners, intermediate, or advanced - Spanish R, Spanish M, and Spanish S.
Teachers focus on a variety of themes throughout the school year, the basic vocabulary to deal with each theme, and reading and writing selections to illustrate the topic of the lessons discussed. The four basic skills are addressed: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Each skill is introduced and practiced throughout the school year in order to increase the student's proficiency and fluency in the language as well as to help him/her meet the state WL academic standards.
They are highly qualified teachers who hold elementary and/or secondary education certificates as well as French, Italian and/or Spanish certificates to teach the language K to 12 grades. In most cases, they are native speakers or have reached near-native fluency and possess a vast knowledge of the target culture(s).
To learn more about the World Language Program you may contact the District Bilingual Supervisors, Ms.Yvette Miranda (Grades K-6) and Ms. Maddy Miqueli (Grades 7-12).