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World Languages

Two photos of children and their teachers in a classroom


To prepare our students for a more connected and interdependent world, DCPS offers world language programming from early childhood through advanced high school courses. World language courses aim to foster five core standards:

Communities: students will positively contribute to multicultural communities at home and around the world;

Communication: students will have the ability in read, write, speak, and listen in their target language(s);

Comparisons: students will draw comparisons and contrast different perspectives and lifestyles;

Cultures: students will gain an appreciation for a variety of cultures;

Connections: students will make connections across content areas using world language skills.

DCPS world language instruction is aligned with the OSSE standards[PDF] and national ACTFL (American Council on The Teaching of Foreign Language) World Readiness Standards, which seek to link culture and communication through language learning. Students’ language proficiency is measured in grade 8, and in Level 2 courses using the national STAMP (Standards-Based Measure of Proficiency) and ALIRA (ACTFL Latin Interpretive Reading Assessment) exams. Schools offer at least one of eight world languages, including American Sign Language, Arabic, French, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish. For a list of languages by school, please contact the World Languages Team.

Student Experience

Students’ world language experience aims to prepare them to become global citizens who effectively communicate and collaborate with diverse audiences. In each grade and across the district, students will have the opportunity to read, write, speak and listen in new languages.

Elementary school: Students at schools with world language programming typically receive a minimum of 45 minutes of world language instruction per week.

Middle school: Students should receive world language instruction in grades 7 and 8, and have an opportunity to begin their learning in grade 6. Students are eligible to receive high school credit as part of their coursework.

High school: All students must graduate high school with a minimum of 2 credits in a world language. Students are encouraged to continue their studies beyond the requirement courses up to the AP level.

Program Highlights

Students are encouraged to participate in district-wide world language focused events, including the DCPS Chinese New Year Celebration, the DCPS World Languages Festival, and other events and cultural celebrations.

DCPS has partnered with ACTFL (American Council on The Teaching of Foreign Language) to create proficiency targets for each course level and ensure that our world-class curriculum includes all modes of language learning--interpersonal, interpretive and presentational.

DCPS Global Education offers study abroad language learning experiences in the languages taught in DCPS to enhance the student’s target language experience and build students’ global competence.

Contact Information

Kate Burkett, Director, Language Learning
Shana Wilson, Manager, World Languages
DCPS World Languages, General Inbox