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

November 17, 2017

2017 Global Journeys Instructor Retreat

by Meredith Nuber, Global Journeys Upper Division Intern


For the second year in a row, Global Journeys returned to YMCA Camp Greenkill in Huguenot, New York, to host our weekend-long instructor training retreat. In addition to a number of pre-program preparations and extensive planning throughout the year, Global Journeys encourages instructors to take part in this weekend-long training. This fall, the Global Journeys team, along with 21 faculty/staff participated in the intensive two-day retreat.  

November 15, 2017

Visit to the Whitney Museum: Where We Are

by Karin Shim, Upper Division English Teacher


Our 11th grade American Studies students began the year with a personal narrative assignment that prompted them to think about their views of their immediate surroundings and society. Students responded to one of the following prompts: Have you ever had to voice an unpopular opinion? Was there a time when you were a minority in a situation? Have you ever made a mistake that affected the people or the situation around you? ​​​​​​​ 

November 14, 2017

Inbound Exchange Program with Santiago’s Liceo 7

by Meredith Nuber, Global Journeys Upper Division Intern


During the week of October 10, 2017, Avenues hosted 24 exchange students from Liceo 7 de Niñas de Providencia high school in Santiago, Chile.  

November 13, 2017

The Fab Five: A Program for 5th Graders

by Rachel Kreibich, 5th Grade Head Teacher


In order to ease into the new freedoms 5th grade students will gain in the years to come, they participate in the Fab Five. The Fab Five is an opportunity in which, for one hour a week, students transition between five different elective classes. All 5th grade classes are mixed together and assigned to one elective for six to eight weeks.  

November 9, 2017

Learning about Integers in a Meaningful Way

by Fanny Sosenke, Middle Grades Math Teacher


The first unit of the year in 6th grade math is “Integers.” In this unit, students expand their knowledge of whole numbers to include negative numbers. For meaningful and lasting learning to take place, it is crucial for students to make connections to what they are learning.  

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