Second Language Proficiency

At Avenues, our goal is to graduate students who are truly at ease beyond their borders. Second language instruction is integral to achieving this goal. Guided by the most current research on language acquisition and evidence showing the significant social and cognitive benefits of learning a second language, we have created an immersion curriculum designed to educate students who can converse comfortably on subjects ranging from the everyday to the academic, with a focus on global awareness.

At Avenues, students in nursery through fourth grade spend half of their time learning in English and half of their time learning in the second language of their choice—Spanish or Chinese. Beginning in September 2017, fifth grade students will also be in immersion classrooms. The Chinese language curriculum at Avenues teaches speaking in Mandarin and writing in Simplified Chinese. All content subjects (literacy, math, social studies, music and art) are taught in both English and Spanish or Chinese. Students in grades five through 12 receive intensive language study in the immersion style. Students in these grades are placed in leveled language classes according to their proficiency.

In addition to the social and personal benefits of being multi-lingual, current research shows that second language acquisition is highly beneficial to the development of brain functions and cognitive skills. Our coordinated curriculum in both English and the immersion languages leads to a high level of academic rigor and an opportunity for interdisciplinary learning that is engaging and meaningful.

LANGUAGE CHOICE ON YOUR APPLICATION

Immersion grades (Nursery–4)

Please select a preference for Chinese, Spanish or “No Preference.” Please note that the choice of language is a factor in our selection process. Applicants are admitted to a particular language track. If you truly have no preference between Spanish and Chinese, the admissions committee will choose a language placement for you in order to achieve a balanced class composition.

Intensive Language Grades

Students in grades five through 12 will have intensive language instruction classes as they develop proficiency in either Spanish or Chinese. Beginning in September 2017, fifth grade students will be in immersion classrooms.

MORE ON IMMERSION INSTRUCTION

Avenues teachers are extremely well qualified, with extensive training in subject content and, for the language teachers, in second language instruction. English and second language teachers collaborate extensively to create and nurture the social, emotional and academic growth of their students. Teachers share the responsibility for teaching the content and curriculum and communicate with each other regularly about student progress and concerns.

Language teachers use the second language 100 percent of the time for both instructional and procedural interactions, providing sufficient input for consistent incremental assimilation of the language. Through formal and informal assessments, teachers monitor students’ progress and offer opportunities to strengthen their language skills through dynamic and differentiated groupings.

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Avenues students will become proficient in a second language, which is fundamental to being a truly global citizen.

Recent Articles from OPEN, our news and discussion blog

February 22, 2018

Middle Grades Lunar New Year Celebration

by Ting Wang, Middle Grades Chinese Teacher


In class, middle grades students not only learned about the “do’s and dont’s” of Lunar New Year, they also learned about how Chinese people follow a day-by-day guide to do New Year’s preparation seven days before the Lunar New Year’s eve.  

February 15, 2018

The GO Project-Avenues Partnership

by Jennette Mullaney


Since 2012, Avenues has partnered with the GO Project, an educational intervention program that serves under-resourced children in New York City.  

February 13, 2018

Learning About the Filmmaking Process

by Rachel Kreibich, 5th Grade Head Teacher


Nick Shumaker, the father of one of our 5th graders, recently visited the Palms’ classroom to talk about the process of creating the animated film White Fang.  

February 7, 2018

Tactfully Approaching Strangers in a Second Language

by Spencer Baron, Upper Division Chinese Teacher


In Chinese 3-4, we are actively focused on our skills at making conversation. As we move across topics essential to daily life in Chinese, the one common thread is the opening. That very small but important dance of interaction between two or more people is where so many decisions are made about how to move forward and will dictate how friendly each side will decide to be 

February 6, 2018

A Picture Book Teaches Compassion

by Liz Salegumba, Pre-K Head Teacher


This fall’s earthquakes in Mexico and devastating storms in Puerto Rico deeply affected members of our teaching team. One of our teachers saw an opportunity for children to learn compassion with the use of Alvaro F. Villa’s Flood, a moving and wordless eBook.  

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