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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 has invested in world language programming in all schools, from the early childhood level through advanced high school courses. DCPS world language instruction is aligned with the national ACTFL (American Council on The Teaching of Foreign Language) World Readiness Standards, which seek to link culture and communication through language learning. Schools offer at least one of eight world languages, including American Sign Language, Arabic, French, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish.

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.

Curriculum and Assessment

The DCPS World Language Curriculum is aligned with the American Council on The Teaching of Foreign Language (ACTFL) World Readiness Standards; these national standards seek to link culture and communication through language learning. DCPS has partnered with ACTFL to provide students and teachers with a world-class curriculum that reflects these standards and the three modes of language learning: interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational. Our teacher-developed curriculum focuses on building student proficiency and was backwards designed from the AP Themes and ACTFL Can-Do Statements. 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.


The Standards Based Measurement of Proficiency (STAMP) is used to assess language proficiency targets set forth by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) in Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, French, Italian, Japanese, Latin, and Spanish. All Grade 8 and Level II World Language students take the STAMP assessment at the end their World Language course. 

District Partnerships

DCPS World Languages 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 World Languages also partners with DCPS Global Education, which 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. Partnerships with Qatar Foundation International and Casa Italiana/The Italian Embassy allow for students to study Arabic or Italian at various school sites within DCPS.

Contact Information

Kate Burkett, Director, Language Learning