• April 21, 2023

    World Language Department recognized for excellence

    Golden GlobeThe Upper St. Clair High School World Language Department recently earned a 2023 Golden Globe Award from the Pennsylvania State Modern Language Association (PSMLA).  

    The PSMLA Exemplary Program (PEP) Awards recognize four levels of excellence – Globe, Bronze Globe, Silver Globe and Golden Globe, the highest level of recognition. The awards are for a two-year period. Upper St. Clair High School last received the Golden Globe in 2019.

    “The Golden Globe sets a language program as exemplary within the state,” Marc-André Clermont, French teacher and World Language Department curriculum leader, said. “Our teachers have been working very hard to adapt to a constantly changing landscape in education, and they now have the privilege of being recognized for those efforts.”

    To qualify for a Golden Globe, a school must meet or exceed eight out of 11 program indicators that include a high percentage of world language enrollment, a variety of languages offered in four-year sequences, retention of students at higher levels, participation in AP and/or IB programs, and other key instructional practices.

    Mr. Clermont believes Upper St. Clair’s community support works to strengthen the district’s educational programs, including within the World Language Department.

    “The community of Upper St. Clair is a special one with a rich background of cultural and linguistic diversity,” he said. “While language programs across the country are struggling to keep course offerings open, we have found a way to maintain an offering of six language choices for students. This is a testament to not only the work that goes into every language classroom every day, but also to the overwhelming support we have received from the community.”

    Upper St. Clair High School offers five levels of French, German and Spanish; and four levels of Latin, Chinese and Japanese. There are 13 faculty members within the high school’s World Language Department.

    “We have a core of teaching professionals who constantly strive to ameliorate their craft even though they already deliver instruction at a high level, which shows how much they care about their students and their profession,” Mr. Clermont said.

    Approximately 85% of Upper St. Clair High School students are enrolled in world language classes. An increasing number of students are taking classes in two or more different languages.

    “We believe that learning a second or third language is important in graduating well-rounded individuals who are ready to engage with the outside world,” Mr. Clermont said. “In order to keep pace with the increasingly global and interconnected professional communities our students will eventually be working in, proficiency in a second language will always be an advantage in markets that include multilingual speakers from around the world.”

    Upper St. Clair’s world language program focuses on oral proficiency, which anticipates that all students will have sufficient oral practice in their classes to be able to get along in another country.

    “We are proud to give students the opportunity to graduate from our high school with a working proficiency of the language they choose to study and have worked hard to continue to maintain a high standard for our students,” he said. “Many of our students are well prepared to meet the growing demand for bilingual speakers in their chosen professions, and will find their hard work in high school to be of benefit to them throughout their lives.”

    Upper St. Clair High School’s World Language Department faculty members include Bethany Chase, French; Marc-Andre Clermont, French; Joanna Darakos, Spanish; Anne-Marie Ganster, French; Lixia Kang, Chinese; Lynne Kopaz, German and Spanish; Constantina Lardas, Latin; Kelly Lee, Spanish; Cephus Moore, French and Spanish; Chie Ramsey, Japanese; Jacob Reis, German; Johanna Rennhoff, German and Spanish; Kate Sebastiao, Spanish; and Louise Fidler, department aide.