World Languages

Our World Languages students explore three major languages through the study of culture and conversation. After one-term exploratory courses in grades 6 and 7, students select Chinese, French, or Spanish for grade 8. In the Upper School, they continue to immerse themselves in the language through challenging courses and meaningful experiences.


Chinese Courses

Chinese I is an introductory level course in Mandarin taught by a native speaking teacher. Students begin their exploration of the Chinese language by learning basic conversational skills, pronunciation, Chinese characters, and Chinese culture. They learn through various methods such as songs, games, stories, videos, and culturally relevant, authentic objects. Each student is paired with a native Chinese speaking student in order to practice conversation and share cultural insights throughout the school year. Open to students in grades 8-12.

Chinese II builds on the skills learned in Chinese I. It is designed to reinforce and further develop Chinese language skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing. Students will speak Chinese comfortably through expressing opinions and feelings, and in daily conversations. Additionally, students will explore Chinese culture through hands-on activities, projects and presentations, which furthers their understanding of modern China. This course will integrate technology in the learning of the Chinese language and follow national standards for foreign language education. Open to Upper School students who have successfully completed Chinese I.

French Courses

French I is a beginning level language course intended to give the student a basic foundation in French language skills. The student will learn the basics of communication in written and spoken French. Self-expression will become easier as self-confidence grows. Students will make comparisons between the French-speaking world and the United States as they engage in cultural projects which examine the French-speaking world. Grammatical topics and indicative tenses are introduced through an active communicative approach. Students will build vocabulary through video and audio programs, short stories, and dialogues. Open to students in grades 8-12.

French II is designed to continue students' exploration of the four basic skills: listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing. The topics covered in French II will focus on developing the student's' ability to engage in basic conversations by exploring subjects related to modern French and Francophone cultures. Students will speak, read, and write extensively. Basic grammar essentials are thoroughly reviewed and students will be introduced to more advanced grammatical concepts. Students will learn to speak to others about their daily lives and compare their experiences with those in the francophone world. French II is conducted entirely in French. Open to Upper School students who have successfully completed French I or have received permission from the Department Chair and Assistant Head of School.

French III is designed to refine the four basic skills: listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing as they relate to personal and general topics, daily life in the francophone world, and literature. Students will speak, read, and write extensively. Basic grammar essentials are thoroughly reviewed and students will be introduced to more advanced grammatical concepts. Students will learn to speak to others about their daily lives and compare their experiences with those in the francophone world. French III is conducted entirely in French. Open to Upper School students who have successfully completed French II or have received permission from the Department Chair and Assistant Head of School.

Honors French IV/V is a preparatory course for the AP French Language and Culture. Many of the activities are identical to AP activities and for some students, the course is the culmination of his/her French studies in the upper school. Students have already learned the basic structures necessary to communicate in French. In Honors French IV/V, students will refine their grammatical knowledge while learning new vocabulary to communicate in French in a variety of contexts. Students will continue to study French literature in a historical context, but they will also be introduced to AP-level work. The readings in the text and outside articles will serve as springboards for the practice of interpersonal, interpretive and presentational communicative skills. Students will explore culture and events in both contemporary and historical contexts; they will examine and interpret francophone culture to gain a better understanding of life in the francophone world. Reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills will be emphasized throughout the program with the goal of rendering these skills more natural, accurate and fluid when communicating with native speakers. Students will use both their primary textbook as well as other authentic materials and resources. The Honors French IV/V course is conducted exclusively in French. Students are expected to speak French when engaged in group projects outside of the classroom. Open to Upper School students who have successfully completed French III and have received permission from the Department Chair and Assistant Head of School.

AP French builds on French IV/V, preparing students for the AP Examination in French Language and Culture. Interpersonal, interpretive and presentational communicative skills grow through work with the six AP Global Challenges: Science and Technology, Contemporary Life, Personal and Public Identities, Families and Communities, and Beauty and Aesthetics. Communication and cultural awareness are emphasized. The course is conducted in French, and students are expected to speak French when working on group projects outside of the classroom. For more information, see the AP French page presented by The College Board. Open to Upper School students who have successfully completed French IV or V and have received permission from the AP Committee.

Spanish Courses

Spanish I is a beginning level course for students with little or no prior experience in Spanish. The fundamentals of Spanish are introduced through vocabulary and grammar, as well as oral and written communications. At the end of the course, students will be able to communicate orally and in writing, and will understand basic aspects of Spanish-speaking cultures. Open to students in grades 8-12.

Spanish II, building upon Spanish I, introduces more complex and varied grammar, vocabulary, and complex verb tenses, along with more refined and detailed sentence structures. Students will continue their studies of Spanish-speaking cultures. Students are expected to communicate in Spanish. Open to Upper School students who have successfully completed Spanish I or have received permission from the Department Chair and Assistant Head of School.

Spanish III is an intermediate-level course focusing on refining skills acquired in Spanish I and II. This involves a more advanced study of grammar through the use of short readings in Spanish. Emphasis is also placed on the ability of students to demonstrate communicative competency, both orally and in writing. This course is taught in Spanish. Open to Upper School students who have successfully completed Spanish II or have received permission from the Department Chair and Assistant Head of School.

Spanish IV/V is an advanced course focusing on the history and culture of Spanish-speaking countries, along with a continued study of grammar. Classes are taught in Spanish, and students access electronic news media to enrich both their study of the language and their understanding of current cultural events. Open to Upper School students who have successfully completed Spanish III or have received permission from the Department Chair and Assistant Head of School.

Department Events

Knox International Fair

The Annual Knox International Fair is an opportunity for all of the students within the campus community to showcase their heritage with presentations, traditional costumes, food, and more.

Students prepare many wonderful food tables (above) for our annual International Festival which celebrates the culture and cuisine of the many nations from which our students hail.

In the fashion show portion of our International Fair (left), students have the opportunity to share the diverse styles of dress from their home countries.




Our Faculty

Danielle Lagnese

Danielle Lagnese

Titles: Chair, ESL & World Language
Carlos Martinez Andaluz

Carlos Martinez Andaluz

Titles: Spanish Teacher