SMCS World Languages
World Languages Offered: German, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish
As part of St. Mary Catholic Schools’ focus on 21st century learning, the community is committed to inspiring students to become well-rounded citizens who will thrive in a global marketplace. The ability to understand other cultures and communicate effectively are key to future success.
Each semester, SMCS elementary schools alternate the instruction of Mandarin Chinese and Spanish as part of the classroom instruction for fourth and fifth grade students. While at the elementary campuses, the Chinese and Spanish teachers also spend time with the younger students, introducing them to simple vocabulary and interesting aspects of Chinese and Spanish/ Hispanic cultures, such as Chinese New Year and the Day of the Dead.
With this early exposure to two world languages, when they enter middle school, students have had enough experience to either choose the language they would like to continue with, or to begin learning German. All languages are offered at this level are taught every other day, and students in eighth grade who have completed both the A and B level of instruction may take a for-credit language class at St. Mary Catholic High School in any of the three languages.
At the high school, world language classes are part of the daily curriculum for those who elect to take them and are an important component of most college admissions requirements. SMCHS is pleased to offer a CAPP German class that enables students to earn both high school and college credits in upper-level German.
The Confucius Classroom
St. Mary Catholic High School is home to one of fewer than 100 Confucius Classrooms in the nation. The program is designed to foster cross-culatural goodwill by teaching about Chinese language and culture through classroom, community and cultural experiences. It is administered by the Confucius Institute at UW-Platteville, and supports the SMCS Mandarin Chinese program at all grade levels. Since its establishment in 2013, the SMCHS Confucius Classroom has provided classroom materials and experiences, an artist-in-residence program and field trips to Chinatown and The Field Museum in Chicago, as well as several performances and dining experiences. In addition, the program has offered multiple seminars open to the public ranging from calligraphy and cooking to Chinese tea ceremony, etiquette and history.
The instructors of each of the three world languages offered at St. Mary Catholic Schools realize the value of experiencing a native-speaking culture firsthand, so international travel at the high school level is encouraged. In 2014, German students took a two-week trip to Europe where they visited Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and France and saw large cities, castles, a pilgrimage church, Dachau Concentration Camp and the Swiss Alps. Another trip is being planned for 2017. For the past several summers, Spanish students have traveled to the Dominican Republic to experience the culture, language and food of the island, and to engage in environmental service work. In summer 2017, Chinese language students traveled to Beijing, Shanghai and X’iang, China to experience Chinese culture, history, language and food.