Modern and Ancient Languages at Watershed
Language education is one of the many things we do differently at Watershed. This is because we know that historically, traditional high school language programs in the United States do not produce students who are fluent or even proficient in a second language.
Most Americans, when asked whether or not they speak a foreign language, will probably tell you something like “well, I took Spanish in high school, but I can’t speak it”.
Students commonly view language classes as a waste of time, and either do not believe acquisition of a second language is important, or they are convinced that learning can occur only by visiting a country where the language is spoken. That’s why the Watershed approach is different.
The Watershed way…
- Class sizes are small, giving each student the opportunity to speak and interact in the target language.
- Students are encouraged to design a personalized language curriculum, allowing them to focus their study around key countries, topics, and vocabulary that is especially relevant to their language goals.
- Excellent, college-level textbooks are supplemented by up-to-date videos, podcasts, audio books, newspapers, magazines, literature, and current events articles on relevant topics.
- Faculty members are available to help students design individualized study abroad and/or language immersion programs.
- Language classes take full advantage of online opportunities to interact with native speakers and practice using the target language for research and other practical purposes.
- With four years of language education at Watershed, students are comfortable reading and analyzing articles and literature written by native speakers for native speakers in either Spanish or Latin and are capable of researching and writing about any topic using all foreign language sources.
- Students will also be prepared to take both the SAT subject tests and Advanced Placement Exams in their target language if they so choose.
Why learn a language?
Students in Modern and Ancient Language programs have tended to demonstrate greater cognitive development, creativity, and divergent thinking than monolingual children. Several studies show that people who are competent in more than one language outscore those who are speakers of only one language on tests of verbal and nonverbal intelligence.
Learning languages provides connections to bodies of knowledge and research sources that are otherwise not available.
Many colleges require students to take two years of a foreign language and taking more than two years shows admissions officers that a student is willing to go beyond the basics.
Competency in a foreign language strengthens cultural understanding and opens up significant employment opportunities.
Instructor: Pete Kalajian
AP Computer Science Principles offers a multidisciplinary approach to teaching the underlying principles of computation. The course will introduce students to the creative aspects of programming, abstractions, algorithms, large data sets, the Internet, cybersecurity concerns, and computing impacts. AP Computer Science Principles also gives students the opportunity to use current technologies to create computational artifacts for both self-expression and problem solving. Together, these aspects of the course make up a rigorous and rich curriculum that aims to broaden participation in computer science.
The course has three evaluative elements: two projects and and a multiple choice test. Here is a breakdown of the weights:
AP Explore performance task: 16%
AP Create performance task: 24%
AP multiple choice exam: 60%
Foundational skills addressed:
8. Information Gathering and Analysis: The Explore performance task is an excellent test of how well students have mastered
9. Digital Tool Use and Literacy: The Create performance task requires students to demonstrate mastery of programming.
Instructor: Mariel Dowling
This course is designed for students who have never taken Spanish or who have a beginning level of proficiency in the language. The course content introduces grammatical concepts and cultural themes through lecture, practice, reading, writing, speaking, and relevant activities. Academic, literary, and primary sources are cited to create context for the language as an applicable skill. Students are introduced to “metalinguistic” topics so as to prepare them for the study of other languages. The ultimate goal of this course is to inspire curiosity and enthusiasm and to create a basis for further study.
Instructor: Mariel Dowling
This class is designed for students who have taken one year of Spanish or who have a beginning-intermediate level of proficiency in the langage. The course content introduces and reviews grammatical concepts and cultural themes through lecture, practice, reading, writing, speaking, and relevant activities. Academic, literary, and primary sources are cited to create context for the language as an applicable skill. Students employ “metalinguistic” knowledge so as to integrate their understanding of the course content into an expanding skill-set. The ultimate goal of this course is to further inspire interest in language learning and diversity of culture and experience.
Instructor: Mariel Dowling
This class is designed for students who have achieved an advanced level of competency in the Spanish language.The course content extends beyond grammatical concepts and cultural awareness into historical, literary, contextual and social competency in the interest of achieving eventual fluency in the language. Acquisition of metalinguistic skills and familiarity with universal grammar terms are also developed in this class so that students may be prepared for the successful study of other foreign languages.