Middle School level
Students begin the study of a second language in grade six choosing French, Italian or Spanish. Students in grades six, seven and eight will meet for 80 minutes of instruction on an alternating day cycle. This will provide for 400 minutes of instruction over a two week period. The second language program is designed to develop communicative proficiency – the ability to use the second language to interact positively with a native speaker of the chosen language. Instruction is provided in the four basic language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Cultural studies are an integral part of the program. The middle school second language program enables students to meet the New York State second language requirement of two units of study prior to the completion of grade 9. Students who successfully complete the regular grades six through eight world languages program are prepared to take the New York State Checkpoint A Examination in that language. Students who pass the examination receive one unit of high school credit for their middle school experience and may enter a course at the second level of study in that language in the high school.
The ENL teacher takes on the role of advocate for their students in their classes, via communication with the family, and equal access to participation in all school offered events. Regulations require ENL instruction for students for whom English is another language that they are learning while continuing to grow their home language.
High School level
Students continue the study of a second language begun in the middle school or begin the study of a third language. The general goal of the department is to teach languages in a “communicative approach” so that students achieve a level of functional proficiency in reading, writing, speaking and listening in the new language that leads to success on the Checkpoint B World Language examination administered after level 3 Italian or ASL, and level 4 Spanish and French.
The program offers a five-year sequence in French and Spanish, and a three-year sequence in Italian. In French and Spanish an accelerated program is offered which allows students to earn up to six units of college credit or to initiate the study of another language after completing the Regents examination.
Also offered through the World Language Department is English as a New Language (ENL) program which offers primary instruction and classroom integrated support to students who enter Guilderland schools working towards multilingual proficiency .