Middle School World Language
Scarsdale Middle School offers a level 1 French and Spanish course beginning in the sixth grade. Arriving sixth graders are either continuing their study of Spanish, as begun in second grade at the elementary level, or they are beginning their study of French. Sixth graders have French and Spanish classes every other day during the first semester and every day during the second semester. Seventh and eighth graders have class five days a week. Upon successful completion of this course, at the end of eighth grade, students receive a “Unit of Credit,” and the final grade appears on their high school transcript as Course #313.
The middle school world language teachers make preliminary recommendations for high school courses in early January. Students will learn about their recommendations when they meet with their House Counselor to plan their high school schedules. Teachers review the student’s performance on a rolling basis throughout the spring. Occasionally, teachers change the recommendations after the final exam. The final grade for 8th graders is calculated by adding their quarter grades and their final exam grade and dividing them by five. This final grade appears on the high school transcript.
Based on 8th-grade coursework and assessments, the teachers can recommend four possible paths to success as your children move on to the HS.
- 312 is designed for students new to a world language or for struggling students who consistently get grades below a 70. If a student is having trouble, his or her teacher will be in touch by the middle of the 2nd quarter to discuss this alternative. Students following this path will earn a “Unit of Study” rather than a “Unit of Credit” during 8th grade. 312 is a level 1 course.
- 322 is a second-level course for students with grades ranging from C- to B-.
- 323 is a second-level advanced course for students with grades ranging from B- to A-. This course moves quickly and is conducted almost exclusively in the target language.
- 324 is a second-level honors course for students who earn an A or A+ average for the year. Students move at a rapid pace and use the target language exclusively in class.
Scarsdale High School does not adjust or “weight” course grades based on difficulty. Teachers strive to carefully place students in courses that will appropriately challenge them while allowing them to grow as language students. The SMS teachers hope that the students will continue to develop a love for the language that they are studying.
Please, visit the SHS course catalog for descriptions of their world language courses.
** Heritage or native speakers may reach out to their middle school teacher and the high school department chair to inquire about a placement test.
The middle school course emphasizes listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. In the beginning weeks of sixth grade, students continue their Spanish studies and, in French class, are introduced to the sound system, emphasizing listening and speaking. All students become conversant in topics such as name, age, health, residence, use of the alphabet, calendar, classroom objects, colors, numbers 1-100, time, weather, and seasons, and various social amenities with greetings and farewells.
As students progress in the program, they are able to communicate effectively in a variety of situations. By the end of eighth grade, they are able to discuss aspects of their school day, favorite sports, pastimes, their home, family, food, clothing, shopping, their town, and the movies. They can offer opinions and make requests and suggestions. Students learn and practice grammatical structures as related to the vocabulary themes and topics they are studying.
The study of culture is an integral part of the program. Language and culture are inseparable. Teachers weave it into class in a variety of ways throughout the year. Students compare and contrast their culture with the culture of their chosen language.
The World Language Department incorporates technology into the curriculum. Teachers devise varying activities at all three grade levels, which promote using technology and bringing the world into the classroom. These projects also introduce students to real-life situations where they are required to think critically and creatively to express themselves. Teachers make interdisciplinary connections with other departments in the school.