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Academics
Upper School
Academics

World Languages and Cultures

Our Vision

The Berwick Academy Department of World Languages and Cultures is committed to promoting a globally literate education through world language communication and cultural competence.
We recognize that “to study another language and culture gives one the powerful key to successful communication: knowing how, when, and why to say what to whom.” (National Standards for Foreign Language Learning, 1996, p.11) Over the course of their career in the WLC Department, students develop proficiency in speaking, reading, writing, and listening in the target language. In order to instill a globally literate mindset in our students, cultural awareness and strong communication skills are our highest priority. We align our curriculum with the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Proficiency Guidelines, and follow their World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages

Upper School Philosophy

The Upper School Department of World Languages and Cultures (WLC) mission is to provide students with a meaningful program wherein they gain proficiency in at least one other language (Latin, Mandarin, or Spanish), while exploring places, customs, and people beyond the Berwick campus. Our goal is for our students to develop self-expression and empathy through our curriculum. Students leave our classrooms as globally literate citizens with an open-minded, empathic window into the world. In Mandarin and Spanish classrooms, instructors use the target language while integrating speaking, reading, writing, listening, and cultural studies into the curriculum.  

To make language-learning accessible to students of all backgrounds and abilities, the WLC department honors students’ strengths through small classes, an array of course offerings, and varied assessments. Language classes include various creative and cultural activities for students to better understand themselves and the world around them. Aside from the academic courses, the World Languages and Cultures Department promotes international study and travel opportunities and offers eligible students membership into the National Honor Society. Pre-Kindergarten through twelfth grade students collaborate in divisional assemblies to share their passion for languages and cultures.

See how our Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 12 Spanish and Grades 4 through Grade 12 Latin and Madarin programs align with the ACTFL Proficiency Scale here

In the World Languages and Cultures program, students are exposed to Berwick’s curricular initiatives: STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math), MESH (Media Literacy, Ethics, Sociology, and History), and JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion). 
Language learning affords students the opportunity to develop and further critical academic skills that are directly applicable to other areas of study. The cognitive effort involved in processing a new language teaches students how to apply those processes to other classes. The continual building upon previously learned material is a powerful tool that helps students know how to improve their study skills.

All students are required to complete a language (Latin, Mandarin, or Spanish) through the third level.

Berwick Academy

Berwick Academy, situated on an 80-acre campus just over one hour north of Boston, serves 600 students, Pre-Kindergarten through grade 12, from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. Deeply committed to its mission of promoting virtue and useful knowledge, Berwick Academy empowers students to be creative and bold. Berwick strives to graduate alumni who shape their own learning, take risks, ask thoughtful questions, and come to understand and celebrate their authentic selves. Founded in 1791 and rooted in a tradition of college preparation, our culture of innovation prepares students for a complex and dynamic world.