The State Department of Education has included world languages as one of the Core Curriculum Content Standards areas that are required as an essential component of a well-rounded education for all students. This requirement is part of the effort to ensure that all students get a “world class” education through more demanding standards, which include fluency in a language other than English.
In order to meet the degree of fluency required by the World Language Standards, the district must provide all students with access to consistent, long-term direct instruction which utilizes certified teachers, quality instruction, a rigorous curriculum, and sequential language study using strategies that are grounded in research. Research has demonstrated that fluency in a second language is attained when students have the opportunity to interact with one another in meaningful communicative experiences and are provided with systematic, long-term, and frequent exposure to the target language. In this effort, the Newark Public Schools seeks to provide continuous language instruction, beginning in the primary grades and extending throughout the student’s school career.
The World Languages Program operates at all Secondary schools and has expanded to include 54 elementary and middle schools. In addition to assisting in the recruitment, screening and selection of qualified teachers, appropriate staff development opportunities are provided to administrators and world language teachers that highlight appropriate content, effective instructional practices and research-based models of effective second language programs.
Among the staff development opportunities offered to teachers are workshops on research-based best instructional practices such as content-related thematic teaching, communicative based activities that highlight the three modes of communication as well as orientations on the Standards, Standards-based instruction and Standards-based Measurement of Proficiency.
World language staff provides support through:
- Classroom visits and teacher conferences
- On-going support and demonstration lessons
- Parent meetings
- Assistance in the implementation of a systematic and coherent sequence of instruction
- Consultation with teachers and administrators in designing systematic improvement of instruction and scheduling
- Advisory services for teachers on effective methods and strategies
- School-community advocacy for world language learning for all students
- Revision of course proficiencies and development of a corresponding sequence of mid-year and final exams at the secondary level
- Selection and adoption of textbook series and supplemental instructional resources
- Review and recommendation of high quality video and multi-media resources
- Development of curriculum guides and supplements that align with the standards and best instructional practice
- Marisol Diaz, Director