Welcome to the World Languages Department
"One Language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way." Frank Smith
Elcie Douce, Ed. D.
World Language Department Chair
(845) 353 - 7173
The Nyack World Language instruction is a standards-based instructional program based on the revised New York State Learning Standards for World Languages. The Standards are aligned to both the World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages and the high-leverage teaching practices which outline what students should know and be able to do in the languages and cultures which they study as they progress through the language proficiency pathway.
The World Languages department goals focus on three communicative modes (Interpretive, Interpersonal, Presentational), but also reference the incorporation of cultural products, practices and perspectives with the aim of deepening cross-cultural understanding. The fundamental goal of the World Languages program is to enable students to communicate effectively in the target language. Teachers emphasize speaking and vocabulary development, especially in the beginning levels, rather than the study of grammar in isolation. As students progress from introductory to more advanced courses, grammar skills are taught in context as tools for effective communication.
The department strives to equip students with the skills to express communicative functions that include providing and obtaining information, expressing personal feelings, socializing and persuading. Applying speaking, listening, reading and writing skills, students must use the target language effectively in a variety of real-life situations. In addition to the practical application of communication in the language, students strive to understand the cultural products, practices, and perspectives of the peoples in countries where French and Spanish are spoken.
Cultures, intercultural understanding, and validation of diversity are themes that run throughout the school mission and are referenced in the departmental goals, along with attention to real-world contexts and the need to communicate in an increasingly global world.
Nyack World Language Department MISSION
Nyack’s World Language Program strives to empower students to communicate with confidence and compassion. Through the development of linguistic and cultural literacy students acquire a global mindset, which fosters a deeper understanding of and connections to their own culture and the world. We believe that language study through interdisciplinary and real-world contexts ignites students’ passion for lifelong learning, willingness to embrace a global perspective, and enthusiasm for languages and the cultures they reflect.
A GRADUATE of the Nyack World Language Program will…
- Explore different perspectives, embrace and demonstrate empathy for other cultures;
- Connect languages and cultures to their personal and professional lives
- Feel confident taking risks and communicating in the target language;
- Understand our interconnectedness and impact within our local and global communities;
- Use language skills to deepen knowledge of other content areas;
- Develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills through language study;
- Be lifelong learners of languages.
The Nyack World Language Teachers…
- Work toward a minimum of 90% target language use in the classroom
- Incorporate comprehensible input strategies (i.e., visuals, gestures, circumlocution, manipulatives, realia, context cues)
- Establish a comfortable/safe classroom environment for students
- Encourage risk-taking in the target languages
- Establish a classroom community in which students support and encourage each other
- Assess students based on what they can do (versus what they know)
- Use more holistic forms of assessing student proficiency (e.g., Integrated Performance Assessments (IPAs), projects, rubrics)
- Minimize the focus on precision while placing greater emphasis on communication
- Design curricula and experiences that connect students to the real world and other content areas
- Use the World Readiness Standards (5 Cs) as a frame for curriculum development
- Embed language structures (i.e., vocabulary, grammar, syntax, etc.) in meaningful contexts
- Movement from topics to themes
- Adapt our instruction to meet students’ needs and interests (differentiation)
- Demonstrate a personal passion/enthusiasm for the target languages and cultures
The Middle School Program
The Nyack World Language program starts at the 6th grade level where students study either French or Spanish. At the Novice level, students are able to communicate minimally with formulaic, and rote utterances, lists and phrases. The primary objective of the Middle School program is to ensure that students reach a Novice-High proficiency level where they will be able to:
- identify the general topic and some basic information in both very familiar and everyday contexts by recognizing practiced or memorized words, phrases, and simple sentences in texts that are spoken, written, or signed.
- communicate in spontaneous spoken, written, or signed conversations on both very familiar and everyday topics, using a variety of practiced or memorized words, phrases, simple sentences, and questions.
- present information on both very familiar and everyday topics using a variety of practiced or memorized words, phrases, and simple sentences through spoken, written, or signed language
- identify products and practices to help them understand perspectives in their own culture and other cultures.
- interact at a survival level in some familiar everyday contexts.
Students are expected to take the Checkpoint A FLACS Assessment at the end of their 8th grade year, which grants them one unit of credit in order to complete the world language requirement for the Regents diploma. Throughout their course of study students foster their three modes of communication (Interpretive, Interpersonal, Presentational) and expand their language proficiency through a variety of themes and topics:
The High School Program
As students progress through the language continuum at the High School level, they have the opportunity to move ahead on the proficiency pathway in French or Spanish as well as to opt for a whole new language learning experience in our American Sign Language (ASL) program. All students are encouraged to continue their language study beyond the Checkpoint B level and earn College Credit through Albany University, Rockland County Community College, and Advanced Placement courses in Spanish and French as well as the opportunity to earn the New York State Seal of Biliteracy.
The High School program is divided in two Checkpoints:
- The Checkpoint B level encompasses two grade levels, 9th and 10th grade where students earn two additional units of study in French, Spanish or ASL for a total of three units in the same language . They need to pass the Checkpoint B FLACS Assessment in that language in order to complete the world language requirement for the Regents diploma with Advanced Designation. The goal is for students to reach the Intermediate-Mid proficiency level. Throughout their two years of study, students enhance their three modes of communication (Interpretive, Interpersonal, Presentational) through a variety of real-world tasks embedded in a wide range of themes and topics:
- The Checkpoint C level also covers two grade levels, 11th and 12th grade, where students earn two units of study in French, Spanish or ASL . At this level, students have the opportunity to earn College Credit through Albany University, Rockland County Community College, and Advanced Placement courses. In addition, students are able to complete the requirements for the New York State Seal of Biliteracy. At the Checkpoint C level, students are expected to reach the Intermediate-High proficiency level. Throughout their two years of study, students deepen their understanding of the Checkpoint B themes and topics in the three modes of communication (Interpretive, Interpersonal, Presentational), expand their language skills and their intercultural competence as they move along the language continuum.
At the Checkpoint B and C levels, students are able to create with language, initiate, maintain and bring to a close simple conversations by asking and responding to simple questions. They will be able to:
- understand the main idea and some pieces of information on familiar topics from sentences and series of connected sentences within texts that are spoken, written, or signed.
- participate in spontaneous spoken, written, or signed conversations on familiar topics, creating sentences and series of sentences to ask and answer a variety of questions.
- communicate information, make presentations, and express my thoughts about familiar topics, using sentences and series of connected sentences through spoken, written, or signed language.
- make comparisons between products and practices to help them understand perspectives in their own culture and other cultures interact at a functional level in some familiar contexts.
MS World Language Teachers
Marie Sheila Jeannot
HS World Language Teachers
Dr. Elcie Douce
Notable Nyack Students...
Notable Hispanic and Franco Americans..
Nyack Seal of Biliteracy
The New York State Seal of Biliteracy (NYSSB) was established to recognize high school graduates who have attained a high level of proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in one or more languages including ASL, in addition to English. The NYS Seal of Biliteracy:
- Affirms the value of diversity in a multilingual society.
- Encourages the study of languages.
- Identifies high school graduates with language and biliteracy skills for employers.
- Provide universities with additional information about applicants seeking admission.
- Prepares students with twenty-first century skills.
- Recognizes the value of world and home language instruction in schools.
Students who are awarded a Seal of Biliteracy will receive:
- The New York State Seal of Biliteracy insignia affixed to the high school diploma
- A NYS Seal of Biliteracy medal
For more information, please contact: Dr. Douce or your Guidance Counselor.