World Languages


The Saint Gertrude High School World Languages Department offers three languages: Spanish, French and Latin. The program focuses on the four skills; reading, writing, listening and speaking. Students learn about different cultures through the study of art, music and literature. At all levels the work is concentrated on varied cultures and global awareness.

In addition to learning a language, foreign language students acquire knowledge of many nations and their contributions to the global community. In essence, not only does the student become more proficient, but she becomes culturally literate.

As ninth graders, students select one of the languages offered. Those students who wish to study an additional language may do so if their schedule permits.

Honors Course Placement for IV and V in all three languages is determined by teacher recommendation and student performance. The Honors levels have more intensive writing and reading from authors of the literary world that represent all three languages. Students must express great interest and aptitude to be recommended for the Honors Courses.

Language Courses

This course provides an introduction to the French language and culture. All four language skills – reading, writing, listening and speaking, are developed and practiced. Course work is functional, task-oriented activities allowing students to begin to explore the French language and culture. Students learn basic communication in French at the beginner level, including how to introduce themselves and others, how to order food in a French restaurant, and how to speak in the past and future.

This course provides a continued introduction to the French language and culture, building upon skills acquired in French I. All four language skills – reading, writing, listening and speaking are developed and practiced. Course work consists of functional, task-oriented activities allowing students to explore the French language and culture. Students continue their learning of basic communication in French and move toward the intermediate level, exploring various topics including school, sharing travel/daily living experiences, speaking in various ways about past events, creating and answering questions, and examining French culture.

This course introduces students to more advanced communicative production of the French language in an immersion environment. All four language skills – reading, writing, listening and speaking are developed, practiced and evaluated. Course work consists of functional, task-oriented activities allowing students to explore more fully the French language and culture. Students begin to move away from communication at the intermediate level toward more coherent, consistent and personalized language production. Students learn in greater depth about the differences and similarities between American and French cultures. Emphasis is placed on creating more sophisticated language skills, on understanding French history and on developing an appreciation for current issues in French and francophone cultures.

Level IV concentrates on the acquisition of a greater command of the language, with emphasis on developing fluency and bilingualism in speaking and creative writing. The course likewise involves an intensive grammar review, and a detailed study of French art and history. Students read French literature, including poetry, short stories and excerpts of novels, and analyze the ways in which history impacts, and is reflected in, French art and literature.

This class will emphasize advanced communicative production of French language in an environment conducive to learning French. All four language skills-reading, writing, listening and speaking will be developed, practiced and evaluated. No English will be used in class. Students will learn in greater depth about the differences and similarities between American and French cultures. Emphasis will be placed on the study of French history, literature, art and culture as well as linguistics and language structure. The students will use a variety of technology as well.

Latin I serves as an introduction to classical Latin vocabulary, grammar, and syntax. Students will practice reading and writing Latin at the introductory level, as well as basic elements of spoken Latin as a conversational supplement. In addition to learning the foundations of the Latin language, students’ study of the language will be enriched through the exploration of the modern use and influence of Latin in our own language, as well as the basics of Roman history, culture, mythology, and religion.

Latin II continues the introduction to the fundamentals of classical Latin vocabulary, grammar, and syntax. This course reinforces the vocabulary, grammar, and syntax introduced to students in Latin I while also introducing more complex, foundational forms. Students will continue to practice reading and writing Latin at the introductory level while transitioning to the intermediate level. In addition to completing the foundations of the Latin language, students’ study of the language will be further enriched through the exploration of the modern use and influence of Latin on our own language, as well as more elements of Roman history, culture, mythology, and religion.

Latin III reinforces the advanced grammar and syntax introduced in Latin II, as well as introducing further elements of advanced Latin grammar and syntax not covered up to this point. Through the use of more advanced Latin texts (including authentic texts at the end of the year), Students will both continue to practice reading Latin at the intermediate level, and learn about the details of Roman history and culture as recorded by the Romans themselves. Students study of the language will continue to be enriched by the exploration of Latin in a modern context and basic elements of spoken Latin.

Latin IV Honors continues to reinforce the skills and topics covered in the first three years of the course, while also focusing on the translation of authentic Latin poetry. This course introduces students to the lives and works of the Roman poets Gaius Valerius Catullus and Publius Ovidius Naso. Students will exclusively read authentic Latin texts at a more advanced level with emphasis on analysis and interpretation of the readings rather than simply translating for understanding of the language. Students will learn to interpret authentic Latin texts both through the lens of the ancient context in which they were written and how the themes from these texts apply to our modern conceptions.

Level I provides students with a functionally oriented introduction to the language through development of listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. Students work on the fundamentals of language structure and basic dialogues. Likewise, students are introduced to the culture and customs of Hispanics.

In Level II, the student continues to enhance language development by concentrating on the four language skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening comprehension of Spanish. Students are introduced to the preterit and imperfect tenses and learn to distinguish between these past tenses. They begin to discuss past events, as well as present and immediate future events. Students continue to grow their vocabulary while they explore Hispanic countries and cultures.

In Level III, students continue to develop proficiency in the four language skills: reading, writing,speaking and listening comprehension of Spanish. Students practice vocabulary and grammar concepts in communicative activities that simulate real life experiences. Students communicate with each other and with the teacher primarily in Spanish as they grow their understanding of the language. Students continue to learn about the cultures, histories, music and art of many Spanish-speaking countries.

The Spanish IV class is designed as a study of grammar, vocabulary and culture through literature, art, music and history. The essential goals of the course are language development and application, communication, exploring cultural perspectives and making linguistic comparisons. The course will enhance cultural awareness and an appreciation for others and their way of life. By learning a second language the students will be able to access a greater variety of information and express themselves using a more rich vocabulary. In essence, they will have an increased global awareness.

In Spanish V, the students continue to study grammar, vocabulary, and culture through history and the arts. Additionally, the students continue to develop second language acquisition through a natural progression while increasing cultural awareness and appreciation. The students become more proficient and confident in their ability to discuss, read and interpret, listen to and write using well organized higher level skills. They acquire greater knowledge of and a heightened appreciation for the many nations that comprise the Spanish-speaking world and for many of their contributions. In essence, not only does the student become proficient in the four language skills, but she becomes culturally literate with regard to the Spanish speaking peoples, producing a well rounded citizen.

Faculty