International languages are essential to communicating as global citizens. Starting in middle school, students begin their formal study of French, Mandarin or Spanish. High school students can take a deeper dive with courses including French Literature, Hispanic Literature and Business Chinese. Our students develop practical language skills that foster a desire to experience other cultures.
Over 35% of our students decide to deepen their cultural and linguistic knowledge through our unique Network of Sacred Heart Schools exchange program. This well-established, international program offers our high school students the opportunity to study abroad at Sacred Heart schools in 41 countries such as Japan, New Zealand, Peru, France or South Korea.
In seventh grade, students begin their formal study of French, Mandarin or Spanish. Each seventh-grade international language course is the first of two middle school courses that, when combined, offer the equivalent of a Level I high school language class.
Students in French 1A study a series of units which encourages immediate use of practical expressions and appreciation of culture in the French-speaking world. Themes include school, daily life, home and family, and food and meals. Students learn parts of speech in French and how they function together to communicate in the present and near-future tense.
The French text is Bien Dit! Level 1A, and students have access to both a digital textbook and hardcover textbooks. Through texts, discussion, partner work, games, Internet resources, audio files and videos, all four language skills-reading, writing, listening, and speaking-are practiced daily. The proficiency-based program of Bien Dit! offers in-class opportunities for students to engage in communicative activities as they work towards mastering the instructional objectives. Students use a shared OneNote notebook to organize resources, notes and homework.
The first year of Mandarin is designed to guide students to effectively learn the fundamentals of Chinese used in daily life in China. The textbook for this course is Huanying, Level 1.
Students learn to read and write simplified characters as well as tones and Pinyin, the official Romanization from China, which is widely used in Chinese language programs. Various learning activities related to real-life situations and cultural introductions are also included in the class through class activities and multimedia. The class is aimed to enable students to obtain basic communication skills, as well as understand and appreciate the culture of the Chinese-speaking countries.
The approach to learning in Spanish is grammar and syntax-based, situational and cultural. The theme of each unit encourages immediate use of practical expressions and introduces new grammatical structures, including subject-verb-adjective agreement and the present tense. The textbook, Realidades AB, is tailored to middle-school students. Supplementary activities include viewing videos in Spanish, introducing the students to art from different Spanish-speaking countries, listening comprehension and writing activities.
These courses are the second half of a first-year high school language course started in the seventh grade. By the end of eighth grade, students will have completed the equivalent of a Level I high school language class. Students who successfully complete their course work may advance to Level II French, Spanish or Mandarin as ninth graders.
In French 1B, students continue building on their language skills and on the material they have acquired in the 7th grade course. The French textbook Bon Voyage! Level 1B expands the communication skills already acquired and broadens awareness of French-speaking people’s ways. Class activities include pair work, video clips, skits, short compositions and interdisciplinary readings. The use of a laptop is integrated into the course work.
Mandarin 1B is designed to apply what students have studied in the first year of Mandarin. In moving ahead with the second year of learning, we use the textbook Huanying: An Invitation to Chinese, Volume 1. Supplemental materials help students learn the most common practical vocabulary and expressions that are not in the textbook.
In class, we focus on tones for the purpose of improving pronunciation. Emphasis is on developing students’ conversation, reading of characters and writing skills. Ultimately, students advance more on communication tasks and writing with a computer. The integration of technology can assist in fostering students’ capabilities for Mandarin reading, listening, speaking and writing. Students will also learn about Chinese culture and how to interact with Chinese people. Since students have already gained a foundation for the language, they will find this second year of learning to be rewarding!
Spanish 1B emphasizes good communication skills and cultural understanding. The textbook used is Realidades A/B.
Main grammar instruction includes the near future tense, the present progressive tense, direct and indirect objects and the past tense. Supplementary activities include cultural studies and viewing short videos in Spanish. Investigations of cultural events, history and geography are also incorporated.
French I is an introductory course to the French language and Francophone culture. Students learn to communicate in the present and past about themselves, their family, their environment and many other aspects of daily life. Through a variety of communicative and proficiency-oriented activities in speaking, listening, reading and writing, this course aims to provide students with a solid foundation in the fundamental structures of the language as well as broaden their cultural understanding.
Level II expands the communication skills already acquired in Level I and increases cultural awareness of the different areas of France and the French-speaking world. Students learn to express themselves using the past, future, conditional and subjunctive tense. Class activities include pair-work, video clips, skits, short compositions and cultural readings, as well as one-on-one interviews. The course is conducted as much as possible in French with an emphasis on proficient communication in listening, speaking, reading and writing.
Students develop the awareness of cultural, social and political issues. This course allows students to communicate effectively in a range of situations, demonstrating linguistic competence and international understanding. Using a variety of media and text types, students continue to work on the development of oral and written expression in order to be able to express themselves accurately and resourcefully in French, using correct register and format for a variety of written text types which include formal and informal letters, journal entries, articles, interviews, speeches and more. Interactive oral activities, personal research and presentations are also included. This class is conducted in French and students are expected to communicate only in French.
French V: Survey of French Literature
For 11th and 12th grade students who have completed French IV and have a recommendation from a Forest Ridge language teacher.
This course allows advanced French students who have completed the IB French SL Year 2 or the Level IV class to continue their studies through French and Francophone literature. This course is designed to familiarize the students with significant works and authors in literature from the Middle Ages through the 20th century, and the historical, cultural and social factors which influenced literary trends and movements. Class activities include readings, analysis and discussions of a variety of excerpts from plays, novels, poetry and philosophical essays. Several plays and short novels will be read in their entirety. Activities also include presentations and short essays. This class is completely in French.
From One Schoolhouse: “Chinese I is designed for students with little or no experience in learning Chinese. Students develop the basic language skills in a cultural context by understanding and responding to structured social conversations. Starting with the introduction of the Chinese language system including Pinyin, tones, radicals and characters, this course focuses on students' performance of producing simple sentences and brief paragraphs related to the topics of greeting, sharing personal information and preferences, introducing others, making plans about and discussing school life. The corresponding cultural knowledge is introduced at appropriate intervals to enrich students' understanding of Chinese culture. Care is taken to create an authentic learning experience in reading, writing, speaking, and listening in the online environment.”
From One Schoolhouse: “Chinese II students continue to improve their Chinese skills by using both structured and created language. Cultural connections are made at appropriate intervals to familiarize students with the Chinese speaking world. Students learn to initiate and participate in daily communication, apply new vocabulary and more complex sentence patterns to fulfill the functions of expressing individual needs, describe circumstances, compare the similarities and differences of phenomenon, and demonstrate culturally contextualized understanding. Students improve character literacy, authentic language production and cultural competency. A variety of audio, visual, and textual materials are carefully selected based on the interests and preferences of the students, which optimizes the effectiveness of the online personalized experience.”
From One Schoolhouse: “Chinese III students develop their essential Chinese language skills while gaining a deeper understanding of Chinese culture through engaging with various audio, visual, textual materials and increasing authentic language application experience. The course is designed for students who have had at least two years of Chinese study, and takes them into structured communication through comprehensive skill-enhancement with abundant task-based practical grammatical structures and sentence patterns. Students engage in group work, online seminars, real-time speaking practice and personalized learning packets to improve constructive conversation skills in Chinese.”
From One Schoolhouse: “Chinese III/IV is a rigorous class that prepares students for AP® Chinese Language and Culture or Chinese V course the following year. Students develop language competencies, while building proficiency in applying Mandarin in a variety of real-life situations. The course builds through unrehearsed listening and reading texts, engaging essays, authentic projects and virtual field trips. Classroom discussions and debates are added sequentially so that students develop both communication and language learning strategies. A variety of audio, visual, and textual materials are carefully selected based on the interests and preferences of the students, to reflect the diversity of students' lives, school experience, and personal/social issues. Students should be prepared for a range of collaborative and individual activities each week, including speaking in real time with each other and the instructor.”
Mandarin V: Introduction to Chinese Literature
From One Schoolhouse: “This course focuses on applying Chinese language and cultural skills in real-world problem situations, and experiencing a variety of topics in Chinese history, geography, music and arts, literature, daily life, and national and global issues. Students use team work, group online seminars, one-to-one extra help, and a variety of engaging activities and experiential projects to meet individual needs. Students gain the high language proficiency and cultural competency to compare, examine, evaluate and solve conflicts successfully.”
Business Chinese aims to enhance learners’ Chinese language proficiency by introducing common business expressions and terms, as well as teaching national and international business case studies in Mandarin. In addition, this course discusses both success and lessons learned from international companies doing business in China. The course challenges learners to take previous Chinese knowledge and expand their linguistic skills so that they are competent and confident in applying their skills in the business field both orally and in writing.
Students will acquire some basic knowledge of business terminology, core vocabulary, idioms, expressions and commonly used business writing formats as well. Moreover, this course gives students an opportunity to develop a better understanding of and recognize the importance of cultural competence in doing business in China.
Note: Students who are near native speakers or native Mandarin speakers with a strong interest in obtaining a better and deeper understanding of Chinese business situations, and students desiring to become proficient in using Chinese for business purpose are welcome.
This course is designed for students to begin development of their linguistic skills in a foreign language. The approach to learning in Spanish I is both situational and cultural, and the theme of each unit encourages immediate use of practical expressions and broadens awareness of Spanish-speaking people's culture. The proficiency-based program offers in-class opportunities for students to engage in communicative activities as they work toward mastering the instructional objectives. Interdisciplinary readings, video clips and skit preparations add variety to the program.
Spanish II students will continue expanding their vocabulary and grammatical knowledge of the Spanish language. The goal of this course, gradually conducted more and more in Spanish, is to increase the oral and written use of Spanish as well as to further listening and reading comprehension. In order to achieve these goals, students will work individually and in a team in several presentations, projects, songs, games and hands-on activities that will take them onto cultural fields such as Hispanic markets, legends, food, movies, family and relationships, and a Spanish class yearbook.
Students in Spanish III will strengthen their vocabulary and grammatical tools of the Spanish language by reading and watching cultural documents and reflecting upon traditions of the Spanish speaking world. By the end of our course, mostly conducted in Spanish, students will be able to research and discuss environmental issues, social matters, technology conditions and professions. Through our adventure in Spanish, students exercise their analytical thinking in substantiating opinions, emotions and decision-making as a foundation for their global leadership role.
In this advanced course, students continue to develop their conversational skills while increasing their mastery of correct grammatical usage and reading comprehension. Students research and discuss current events–not only in the Spanish speaking countries but in the global community–using newspaper and magazine articles. Supplementary activities include memorizing famous poems, reading short novels, stories and viewing video segments and films.
Spanish V: Introduction to Hispanic Literature
This course is designed to further develop proficiency in all four areas of the language. Successful completion of at least four years of Spanish and a desire to become more fluent in both written and oral communication is assumed.
The course is taught in Spanish and students are always expected to speak Spanish. The curriculum for this class is based on six themes: “Las Familias y las comunidades”, “La Ciencia y la tecnología”, “La belleza y la estética”, “La vida cotidiana”, “Los desafíos mundiales” and “Las identidades personales y públicas”. There will be reading of authentic materials, presentations, compositions and regular written, listening, speaking and reading exercises provided in the text.
*Course offerings are based on student interest and minimum enrollment requirements; therefore, some classes listed may not be offered every school year.