Curriculum Detail

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World Language

The Notre Dame World Language Program provides students with the essential knowledge and skills to contribute to a global society. The study of a world language enables students to communicate effectively with people of different cultures and to appreciate those cultures, both modern and ancient. By comparing and contrasting similarities and differences between cultures, as well as languages, we prepare students to become informed members of a global society.

Notre Dame High School offers study in seven languages: American Sign Language, French, Italian, Latin, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish. We encourage students to advance their skill beyond the classroom. Extra-curricular clubs, cultural activities, and honor societies enhance the students’ study of the language.  Notre Dame World Language teachers offer tutoring and additional help before, during, and after the school day as they are committed to student success. We encourage students to prepare and sit for national language competitions and exams. Students also have independent study options and preparation for the AP Exams and SAT Subject tests offered in the respective languages. Students with prior language education may choose to test into advanced levels. With block scheduling, students have the opportunity to easily study more than one language through their four years at Notre Dame.

"If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head.
If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart."
-Nelson Mandela
 
  • English Language & Culture

    2.5 Credits 40 Minutes, 1 Semester
    This class is designed for international students who need assistance on their road to English fluency and success at Notre Dame. While primarily an English as a Second Language course, ELC also assists international students in their transition into the American education system through instruction on critical thinking, reading, writing, academic discussions, and culture. The course is structured to build students skills as they advance through each level of the program. ELC meets the needs for a World Language for Cambridge International Students. Students are required to complete the equivalent of 10 credits to satisfy the Notre Dame graduation requirement.
  • French 1

    5 Credits 80 Minutes, 1 Semester
    This course will acquaint the student with the basic language skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing French. Understanding the cultures and history of the French-speaking people, acquiring vocabulary and constant exposure to the language in the classroom are integral parts of this course. Prerequisite: A placement test is recommended if a student has prior knowledge of French. (NCAA)
  • French 2

    5 Credits 80 Minutes, 1 Semester
    Students in French 2 will develop greater fluency in speaking through listening, reading, discussion and writing. An appreciation for the culture and history of France and French-speaking countries will be further developed through stories, films, and other authentic audiovisual materials. Prerequisite: French 1 / placement test is required for a Freshman to go directly into French 2. (NCAA)
  • Honors French 3

    5 Credits 80 Minutes, 1 Semester
    This course continues to develop proficiency and fluency through activities that provide a systematic review of fundamental French. Vocabulary and syntactical patterns are complemented by a program of modern readings, films and discussions. Prerequisite: 85 average in French 2 /Placement test is required for a student to go directly into Honors French 3. (NCAA)
  • Honors French 4

    5 Credits 80 Minutes, 1 Semester
    This college-level course is dedicated to the practical use and rigorous, in-depth study of French. It is intended to broaden and deepen the four skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The variety of readings, films, and other practical activities will provide ample opportunity for the student’s use of French, as well as provide rich insights into the people and the culture of France and the French-speaking world. Prerequisite: 85 average in Honors French 3. Placement test required to go directly to Honors French 4. (NCAA)
  • Latin 1

    5 Credits 80 Minutes, 1 Semester
    This course will provide the student with the necessary tools and techniques to read, understand and write Latin. Latin 1 will also assist the students in increasing English vocabulary and writing skills. Additional learning tools, i.e. web based activities and vocabulary/syntax software, will augment the scope of the Latin textbook, Book I from the Cambridge Latin Series and its accompanying workbook. The placement test is recommended if a student has prior knowledge of Latin. (NCAA)
  • Latin 2

    5 Credits 80 Minutes, 1 Semester
    This course is designed to increase the student’s knowledge of vocabulary and both Latin and English grammar. The textbook, Book II from the Cambridge Latin series, takes the student to Britain and into the ancient city of Alexandria. Additional learning tools (i.e., internet research and vocabulary and syntax software), will augment the scope of the Latin textbook, and its accompanying workbook. Prerequisite: Latin 1 - Placement test is required for a freshman student to go directly to Latin 2. (NCAA)
  • Honors Latin 2

    5 Credits 80 Minutes, 1 Semester or 40 Minutes, 2 Semesters
    This accelerated Honors course will provide the student the necessary knowledge of vocabulary and structural uses of Latin to continue with upper level Latin Honors courses. The textbook, Unit II from the Cambridge Latin series, takes the student to distant Roman provinces where they experience life in Roman Britain and the urbane city of Alexandria. Additional learning tools and complementary activities, i.e., web-based, interactive vocabulary and syntax software, will augment the scope of the Cambridge textbook. The grammar, Learn to Read Latin by Yale University, assists students with reviewing and consolidating their mastery of morphology and syntax to have the necessary foundation for continuing with Honors Latin 3.
  • Honors Latin 3

    5 Credits 80 Minutes, 1 Semester
    Honors placement for Latin 3 depends on the grade achieved in this accelerated course.
    Prerequisite: Placement by World Language Chairperson based on Latin 1 grades and standardized test scores.
    This course introduces the student to the more complex forms of Latin syntax. The textbook, Learn to Read Latin (Yale University Press) and accompanying workbook, prepare the diligent student to read and understand authentic writings of Roman authors like Cicero, Vergil, Ovid, or Livy. The Yale grammar will be supplemented by Book III from the Cambridge Latin Series. Prerequisite: 85 average in Latin 2. Placement test is required for a freshman to go directly into Honors Latin 3. (NCAA)
  • Honors Latin 4

    5 Credits 80 Minutes, 1 Semester
    This course continues the work of Honors Latin 3. The Yale textbook, Learn to Read Latin, and accompanying workbook, present ever-lengthening selections from authentic Latin writings. Numerous workbook exercises enable the student to better understand the original Latin selections. The grammar will be supplemented by Book IV from the Cambridge Latin series. Prerequisite: 85 average in Honors Latin 3. Placement test is required to go directly into Honors Latin 3. (NCAA)
  • Italian 1

    5 Credits 80 Minutes, 1 Semester
    Italian 1 develops speaking, writing and listening skills through a series of language related activities that focus on the fundamentals of pronunciation, vocabulary, idiomatic expression, and grammar incorporated in basic conversation, reading and writing. Culture is an integral part of the curriculum. As a result, this course creates an awareness about the Italian community as well as the global impact of notable Italians. This course is taught primarily in Italian and incorporates functional vocabulary from topics such as geography, history, family, school systems, celebrations and daily living. It is recommended that students with prior knowledge of Italian take a placement test. (NCAA)
  • Italian 2

    5 Credits 80 Minutes, 1 Semester
    This course is a continuation of Italian 1 and emphasizes spoken and written Italian. It focuses on mastery of more complex foundational skills. Students continue work on pronunciation, vocabulary, idiomatic expression, and grammar. These skills will be developed through conversational partnerships, reading and writing. This course continues to foster an understanding of the global influence 
    of the Italian community and highlights more specific cultural references. This course is taught primarily in Italian and incorporates functional vocabulary from topics such as food, shopping, current events, celebrations, and daily routines. Prerequisite: Italian 1. Placement test is required for a freshman to go directly into Italian 2. (NCAA)
  • Italian 3

    5 Credits 80 Minutes, 1 Semester
    This course emphasizes increased control and proficiency of the Italian language skills and vocabulary developed in Italian 1 and 2 through audiovisual, conversational, and drill methods. The curriculum includes practical applications of advanced Italian grammar through oral and written presentations and projects. This course utilizes film, music, short stories, current events, and music selections on contemporary Italy to expand the student’s view of Italian life and culture. This course is taught primarily in Italian and incorporates functional vocabulary from topics such as the history of Italy, Italian athletics, fashion, modes of travel and vacation planning. Students wishing to continue on to Honors Italian 4 may do so with the teacher’s recommendation. Students may be required to complete additional independent work in preparation for the rigor of the fourth year. Prerequisite: 80 in Italian 2 (NCAA)
  • Honors Italian 3

    5 Credits 80 Minutes, 1 Semester
    A precursor to Honors Italian 4, this course emphasizes increased control and proficiency of the Italian language skills and vocabulary developed in Italian 1 and 2 through audiovisual, conversational, and drill methods. The curriculum includes practical applications of advanced Italian grammar through oral and written presentations and projects. Honors Italian 3 is conducted primarily in the target language. This course challenges students to analyze popular Italian films, music, short stories, current events, and music selections on contemporary Italy. Students expand their understanding of Italian life and culture. This course incorporates functional vocabulary from topics such as the history of Italy, Italian athletics, fashion, modes of travel, and vacation planning. Prerequisite: 85 in Italian 2. A placement test is required for a freshman to go directly into Honors Italian 3. (NCAA)
  • Honors Italian 4

    5 Credits 80 Minutes, 1 Semester
    Conducted primarily in Italian, this is a demanding course that focuses on discussion and interpretation of historical as well as current cultural and literary texts. Students apply their developed language skills through extensive oral and written expression. Performance assessments, integrated with thematic units are anchored in authentic materials and serve as proficiency evaluations. This course incorporates functional vocabulary from topics such as community, diversity awareness, the global impact of immigration on the Italian culture, Renaissance art, and an overview of Dante's La Divina Commedia. This course challenges students to compare and contrast their own culture and self-awareness to better understand their interactions with others from global communities. Prerequisite: 85 average in Honors Italian 3/Italian 3 and a teacher recommendation. (NCAA)
  • Honors Conversational Italian

    2.5 Credits 40 Minutes, 1 Semester
    This course presents a practical conversational approach to Italian. Reading and writing will be part of the curriculum, but students will concentrate primarily on developing their listening skills and conversational Italian. Communicating using authentic materials and situations will be the focus of the activities. Students will be required to do presentations and recitations in Italian. Credit will be given for all class participation (formal and informal) and individual grades will be awarded for vocabulary acquisition, projects and class work. This course will be conducted almost exclusively in Italian. Prerequisite: Completion of any level Italian 3 course and teacher recommendation. (NCAA)
  • Mandarin Chinese 1

    5 Credits 80 Minutes, 1 semester
    This beginning course is designed to develop basic communication skills in Mandarin Chinese. Language structure is presented through various oral, written and visual activities, as well as through abbreviated readings. Cultural content is integrated through the use of all basic skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Geographical, historical and cultural topics are introduced when appropriate. Taking the placement test is recommended if a student has prior knowledge of Mandarin Chinese. (NCAA)
  • Mandarin Chinese 2

    5 Credits 80 Minutes, 1 semester
    This course will continue to grow and emphasize the practical communicative skills introduced in Mandarin Chinese 1. Level 2 will expand the study of vocabulary and structure by addressing more complex grammar points through various oral, written and visual activities, as well as through abbreviated readings. Cultural content is integrated through the use of all basic skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Prerequisite: Mandarin Chinese 1. Placement test is required for freshmen to go directly into Mandarin Chinese
  • Honors Manadrin Chinese 3

    5 Credits 80 Minutes, 1 Semester
    In Chinese 3, students will continue to build on and expand their use of spoken and written Chinese. As students expand their Chinese vocabulary, grasp of Chinese grammar, and mastery of Chinese characters, they will become more familiar with Chinese culture, and will be asked to communicate more and more in Chinese and less and less in English. By the end of Chinese 3, the successful student should be able to communicate in Chinese at an intermediate-to-advanced-intermediate level, especially spoken Chinese. Prerequisite: successful completion of Chinese 3. (NCAA)
  • Honors Mandarin Chinese 4

    5 Credits 80 minutes, 1 Semester
    Students will continue to work on their mastery of spoken and written Chinese building on knowledge learned in Honors Mandarin Chinese 3. They will continue to develop skills for proficiency in Mandarin through written, oral, project based activities and interpersonal dialogues. By the end of Honors Mandarin Chinese 4, the successful student will be able to command over 1000-1500 basic characters and communicate at an intermediate advanced proficiency level in reading, listening comprehension and written expression. The student’s spoken communication will be wholly in the target language, working towards demonstrating proficiency of an advanced level. In this course, students will also garner enhanced understandings of the Chinese language, society, culture, and philosophy. Prerequisite: Honors Mandarin Chinese 3 or a placement test. (NCAA)
  • Spanish 1

    5 Credits 80 Minutes, 1 Semester
    This course will acquaint students with the basic skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing Spanish through the use of a variety of authentic materials, and the Descubre Textbook series with its vast array of on-line resources. Appropriate analysis of grammatical concepts is used as a means to develop communicative skills and not as an end in itself. Students will also develop an appreciation for the culture and history of Spanish speaking countries. Taking the placement test is recommended if a student has prior knowledge of Spanish. (NCAA)
  • Spanish 2

    5 Credits 80 Minutes, 1 Semester
    This course will be a continued application of the basic skills acquired in Spanish 1 with an emphasis on speaking, reading, and writing through group learning and simulations using authentic materials and real life activities, and the Descubre Textbook series with its vast array of on line resources. A further appreciation of the culture and history of Spanish-speaking countries will be developed through videos and research reports. Prerequisite: Spanish 1/ Placement test is required for a Freshman student to go directly into Spanish 2. (NCAA)
  • Spanish 3

    5 Credits 80 Minutes, 1 Semester
    This course expands on the basic Spanish language skills and vocabulary introduced in Spanish 1 and 2. Advanced Spanish grammar and writing are included in the curriculum, but emphasis is placed on the practical application of the target language through: oral presentations, projects, videos, and class discussions. Film, short stories, music and geography are utilized to provide students with greater exposure to Spanish and Hispanic culture and heritage. Students wishing to continue on to Honors Spanish 4 may do so with the teacher’s recommendation; and will be required to complete additional independent work in preparation for the rigor of the fourth year. Prerequisites: for this course are an 80 average in Spanish 2 and teacher’s recommendation. Placement test is required for a student to go directly into Spanish 3. (NCAA)
  • Honors Spanish 3

    5 Credits 40 Minutes, 1 Semester
    A precursor to Honors Spanish 4, this course will be a demanding, in-depth study of Spanish grammar, crucial to achieving excellence in writing and conversation at the advanced level. Conducted primarily in Spanish, this grammar-intensive course will also stress practical application of the language in the classroom to achieve proficiency in all four language skills: reading, writing, listening and speaking. Literature, music and film will be used to help students gain greater command of the language and a deeper understanding of the culture and heritage of the Spanish-speaking world. Prerequisite: 85 average in Spanish 2. Placement test is required for a student to go directly to Honors Spanish 3. (NCAA)
  • Honors Spanish 4

    5 Credits 80 Minutes, 1 Semester
    Conducted almost entirely in Spanish, this is a demanding course that focuses on developing fluency in speaking the language and proficiency in listening, reading and writing. Course work is designed to expand vocabulary and develop greater command of the language, while mastering test-taking techniques and strategies. Students will be exposed to different genres of Spanish literature, they will listen to and discuss current events and utilize their speaking and writing skills in prepared and extemporaneous oral presentations and compositions. They will participate in role-playing activities, “real life” language application exercises and prompted oral discussions and presentations. Independent reading and preparation are an integral part of this course. Prerequisite: 85 average in Honors Spanish 3 or a 93 in Spanish 3. Prerequisite also includes a teacher recommendation and additional independent work. (NCAA)
  • Honors Conversational Spanish

    2.5 Credits 40 Minutes, 1 Semester
    This course presents a practical conversational approach to Spanish. Reading and writing will be part of the curriculum, but students will concentrate primarily on developing their listening skills and their conversational Spanish simulating real life situations and utilizing authentic materials. Students will be required to do presentations and recitations in Spanish. This course will be conducted almost exclusively in Spanish. Prerequisite: Completion of any level Spanish 3 course and teacher recommendation. (NCAA)
  • American Sign Language 1

    2.5 Credits 40 Minutes, 1 Semester
    The purpose of this course is to enable students to begin to acquire proficiency in American Sign Language fundamentals through a linguistic, communicative, and cultural approach. Emphasis is placed on the development of receptive and expressive signing skills and on the acquisition of basic grammar, vocabulary, fingerspelling, numbers, and cultural information based on the "Master ASL Curriculum." Nonverbal communication is an interdisciplinary skill. This course will teach Deaf Culture along with sign language. This course is an elective, no prerequisite is required. This course cannot be used to satisfy the minimum language requirement for graduation (10 credits of the same language). (NCAA)
  • American Sign Language 2

    2.5 Credits 40 Minutes, 1 Semester
    The purpose of this course is to progress student proficiency in American Sign Language based on the foundations mastered in American Sign Language 1. Students will continue to develop proficiency through a linguistic, communicative, and cultural approach. Learners will apply their prior knowledge from American Sign Language 1 to abstract concepts. Students will communicate stories, dialogues and narratives at the novice level. Students will work to master necessary skills and cultural understandings using the second part of the "Master ASL Curriculum." Nonverbal communication is an interdisciplinary skill. Students gain perspectives on hearing loss and terminology used by the deaf community. This course is an elective and cannot yet be used to satisfy the minimum language requirement for graduation. Prerequisites: Successful completion ASL1 and teacher recommendation. Students may place into this second level with a placement exam. (NCAA)
  • Wordsmart 1

    2.5 credits 40 minutes, 1 Semester
    This course will help improve students’ English skills. Activities focus on three skills: (1) expanding students’ vocabulary with higher-level words; (2) understanding informational texts; (3) being able to summarize these texts in your own words. Students will study college vocabulary words, their definitions, and usage. Starting with the study of prefixes, roots, suffixes, and words derived from these elements, students will learn to understand the definitions and connotations of higher level words in context. Students will also practice using these words accurately in writing activities. Ultimately, students will increase their English vocabulary and become more confident incorporating academic vocabulary actively into their diction and writing. This elective course is particularly valuable for college bound students and open to all students. No prior knowledge of a foreign language is required. The curriculum is geared to increase fluency with academic and scientific vocabulary used predominantly from grades 9 and 10 upwards. No Prerequisite. (Communications Concentration)
  • Wordsmart 2

    2.5 credits 40 minutes, 1 Semester
    This course will help improve students’ English skills. Activities focus on three skills: (1) expanding students’ vocabulary with higher-level words; (2) understanding informational texts; (3) being able to summarize these texts in your own words. Students will study college vocabulary words, their definitions, and usage. Starting with the study of prefixes, roots, suffixes, and words derived from these elements, students will learn to understand the definitions and connotations of higher level words in context. Students will also practice using these words accurately in writing activities. Ultimately, students will increase their English vocabulary and become more confident incorporating academic vocabulary actively into their diction and writing. This elective course is particularly valuable for college bound students and open to all students. No prior knowledge of a foreign language is required. The curriculum is geared to increase fluency with academic and scientific vocabulary used predominantly from grades 11 and 12 upwards. No Prerequisite.

Notre Dame High School

Located on 100 beautiful acres in Central New Jersey, Notre Dame High School, founded in 1957, is a college preparatory school for grades 9 - 12, preparing young men and women for lives of purpose, built upon a foundation of Catholic faith, with a commitment to academics, co-curricular activities and service to others.