Department of World Languages



    Curriculum Overview: The primary objectives of the World Languages Department are to ensure that students have a deep and enduring understanding of cultures and acquire a high level of proficiency in the target languages we offer. We also aspire to provide students with global perspectives to inform how they see themselves in communities large and small, and to promote empathy and deeper understanding of the world’s cultures. Beginning in the 2017-18 school year the Greenburgh Central School District is excited to be offering Kindergarten through 12th Grade Mandarin instruction and 4th  Grade through 12th Grade Spanish. Also underway in 2017-18 is the development of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme in Woodlands High School and related IB World Language curricula development (If approved by the International Baccalaureate Organization this program is slated for implementation in the 2018-19 school year.). In addition to Mandarin and Spanish, Italian is also offered at Woodlands Middle School/High School. Grammar and vocabulary are taught both explicitly and, more often, in contextualized ways to make language learning meaningful and authentic. Culture plays an important role; language and culture cannot be separated as one influences the other. The ability to communicate in multiple languages bridges gaps and connects us to other peoples of the world. The work of the World Languages teacher is to ensure that students are equipped to navigate cultural and linguistic differences so that they can avail themselves of the social and economic opportunities that our ever-shrinking world provides. 

    The World Languages curriculum includes universal topics that are part of the New York State scope and sequence, as well as trans-disciplinary themes reflective of our IB Programs.  These topics, as needed, are revisited each year because of the cumulative and spiraling nature of language acquisition.  Please note that a few of the topics are introduced at the upper (or IB) levels of instruction due to their abstract nature and the linguistic demands that are needed in order to carry out high-level discussions.  As a student moves through the program, the expectation is that they handle each topic with greater confidence and control over grammatical structures in order to clearly and effectively communicate in the target world language.


    The topics are:


                Personal ID

              House & Home

               Family Life


    Physical Environment

                Meal Taking- Food/Drink

              Health & Welfare


    Earning A Living


                Public/Private Services



    Communication & Media

    Global Issues

                Social Relationships

              Cultural Diversity

               Customs & Traditions





    K-8 WORLD LANGUAGES: The emphasis in the beginning years of World Language learning is on listening and speaking skills while gradually introducing reading and writing. The World Languages teachers engage our children in age and level appropriate activities to develop Checkpoint A (novice level) fluency. Students at the Checkpoint A level can (listening and speaking)*...

    • comprehend simple language consisting of basic vocabulary and structures in face-to-face conversation with peers and familiar adults 
    • comprehend the main idea of more extended conversations with some unfamiliar vocabulary and structures as well as cognates of English words
    • call upon repetition, rephrasing, and nonverbal cues to derive or convey meaning from a language other than English
    • use appropriate strategies to initiate and engage in simple conversations with more fluent or native speakers of the same age group, familiar adults, and providers of common public services. 

    Required Assessments:
    Students complete Checkpoint A at the end of grade eight and take a locally developed assessment to ensure that they have met the Checkpoint A requirements. Upon successful completion of Checkpoint A, students receive one unit of credit for high school and are encouraged to continue their studies beyond Checkpoint A.


    9-12 WORLD LANGUAGES: High School students continue their study of Mandarin or Spanish but have the additional option of Italian as a second or third language of study. Incoming ninth grade students begin Checkpoint B to build their fluency beyond memorized responses. Students at Checkpoint B can (listening and speaking)*...

    • comprehend messages and short conversations when listening to peers, familiar adults, and providers of public services either in face-to-face interactions or on the cell phone/telephone
    • understand the main idea and some discrete information in television, radio, streaming video, or live presentations
    • initiate and sustain conversations, face to face, via Skype, or on the phone, with native-speaking or more fluent individuals
    • select vocabulary appropriate to a range of topics, employ simple and complex sentences in present, past, and future time frames, and express details and nuances by using appropriate modifiers
    • exhibit spontaneity in their interactions, particularly, when the topic is familiar, but often rely on familiar utterances
    • and use repetition and circumlocution as well as gestures and other nonverbal cues to sustain conversation.

    Required Assessments:
    Checkpoint B is completed at the end of grade ten with the Checkpoint B exam (Formerly the Regents exam and still a component of earning a Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation). Successful completion of Checkpoint B provides students with three Regents credits for graduation.

    International Baccalaureate Study - 11th & 12th Grade 
    World language study is considered a core subject area for IB diploma candidates and also provides students the opportunity to engage in college-level learning by earning a Certificate of Participation in their language discipline. Our rigorous World Languages course offerings prepare our students to enter our IB program in grade eleven. The topics covered in the curriculum move from fifteen topics to three major themes/topics for our IB World Languages programs; the overarching themes are communication & media, global issues, and social relationships, with options to include cultural diversity, customs, and traditions, health, leisure and science, and technology. Our IB World Languages program asks students to handle, discuss, write about and present such topics in the spoken and written form based on readings and listening activities. Our IB programme empowers our students with the tools to think critically to compete with and/or engage others in our global community in a language other than English. According to New York State World Language Study beyond the Regents level such as Levels IV, V, and IB Coursework fall under Checkpoint C. Students at Checkpoint C can (listening and speaking)*…

    • Understand standard speech delivered in most authentic settings.
    • Understand the main idea and some significant relevant details of extended discussions or presentations, and of recorded songs, feature programs on radio and television, movies, and other media designed for native speakers.
    • Draw on a wide range of language forms, vocabulary, idioms, and structures learned in class as well as those acquired through independent exposure to the language.
    • Comprehend subtler, nuanced details of meaning with some repetition and rephrasing.
    • Engage in extended discussions with native or fluent speakers on a broad range of topics that extend beyond their daily lives and are of general interest to the target cultures.


    Required Assessments:
    Students take the IB assessment at the end of IB World Languages SL YR 2 in grade twelve. Other advanced courses culminate in locally designed assessments


    IN CONCLUSION: Cultural fluency, the capacity to understand different peoples and perspectives in their own context as well as in our own, and to achieve the kind of cultural understandings that only come with learning, thinking and communicating in new languages - in diverse settings - are indispensable skills in our hyper-connected world. We have this in the Greenburgh Central School District.

    The World Language Department recognizes that it is noble and inspirational work to prepare students for their individual futures, and to be responsible, engaged, compassionate and impactful members of their present and future communities. Being multi-lingual and multi-cultural, and global in their thinking, might be among the most useful and adaptable assets we can bestow upon our children –especially as the workplace is demanding it in rapidly increasing measures,  as is our “shrinking” world.

    *A complete list of the NYS World Language Performance Indicators for Checkpoints A, B, and C, including those for reading and writing can be found on the NYSED  website. Please see below.


    For further explanation of the World Language Curricula Design and the New York State Syllabus please click on the following websites:

    Mandarin/Chinese Cultural Resources: