World Languages

World Languages Program

We believe that all students should have the opportunity to learn a new language. We will provide students with a well-articulated sequenced program that develops increasing levels of proficiency and cultural awareness. Through the use of authentic materials and cross-cultural opportunities, students will acquire the skills to participate in an increasingly global community.

The world languages program of the Belmont Public Schools begins at the Belmont Middle School. The languages offered are:

  • French

  • Latin

  • Mandarin Chinese

  • Spanish

Students select one of the offered languages to study for grades seven and eight. At Belmont High School, students can continue studying the same language and/or begin a new language. Students are required to complete two years of world language study for graduation; however, we encourage students to study a world language throughout their four years at Belmont High School. We offer Advanced Placement courses in all four languages.

Belmont High School Program of Studies

Department Contact

Phone: (617) 993-1294

Email Marie Penner-Hahn, Director of World Languages

Faculty Listing is here.

Purpose and Objectives

The BPS world languages curriculum is aligned with the Massachusetts State Frameworks and the National World Language Standards. The overarching objective for all world languages curricula is linguistic and cultural proficiency. These are the enduring understandings that guide our work:

  • Culture is the products, practices and perspectives of a group of people. 

  • Language is a vehicle for culture and reflects a culture's norms and mores. 

  • Language and culture evolve over time. 

  • Our language and culture influence the way we see the world. 

  • Studying other languages and cultures broadens our perspective on our own culture and the world.

In all classes, language is taught in a communicative context, and from the earliest levels students apply what they learn to read, write, speak and listen in the target language. For students of Latin the emphasis is on using the language to read, translate and understand authentic texts in Latin.

All beginning language courses are taught at the college preparatory level. Upper-level courses (2 through 5) are offered at both the college preparatory and the honors level. Both college preparatory and honors levels are rigorous courses in which students learn both language and culture. The difference is that the honors courses advance at a faster pace and students are expected to apply newly-learned language structures more quickly. 

Advanced Levels and Travel Programs

Travel to another country offers students the opportunity to hone their language skills in meaningful, authentic contexts while also deepening their understanding of target language cultures. Currently, BHS has four student trips scheduled for the spring of 2025. For more information on each trip, please contact the trip leads directly.