World Languages

  • The Office of World Languages aims to provide all learners with a standards-based, proficiency-oriented, and engaging World Language curriculum, which focuses on developing effective communication in at least one world language other than English, as well as cultural competence to help all our students become better-equipped global citizens. Our curriculum is aligned to the World Language Readiness Standards for Learning Languages, which is based on the 5 Cs: Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities to equip our students both linguistically and culturally to compete globally. The focus in language education in the 21st century is no longer on grammar, memorization, and learning from notes, but instead on using language and cultural knowledge as a means to communicate and connect to others around the globe. DPSCD currently offers five languages: Spanish, French, Chinese, Japanese, and American Sign Language to meet the needs of more than 7,000 elementary, middle and high school students.

    Curriculum Overview

    Our curriculum meets the World Language graduation requirement as directed by the Michigan Merit Curriculum. Beginning with the graduating class of 2016, all students must have completed two credits in a world language other than English before graduation, or demonstrate a two-year equivalent proficiency at the Novice High level on the American Council of the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Proficiency Scale. Students at Novice-High Level are expected to use the language communicatively in highly predictable situations when interacting with native speakers in a variety of contexts. To be placed in higher language courses, students will need to demonstrate that they have met the prerequisites of language proficiency established for each language course via the presentation of the official transcript from schooling in a country where the language that they claim proficiency is spoken or via district-wide language proficiency exams.  

    Michigan Academic Standards for World Languages

    Seal of Biliteracy

    The Michigan Seal of Biliteracy (MI-SoBL) was created to recognize high school graduates who exhibit language proficiency in English and at least one additional world language. The Seal may be awarded to any student receiving a high school diploma, a high school certificate of completion, or a high school equivalency certificate, who has demonstrated Intermediate High Proficiency on acceptable world language assessments. The Seal was created to encourage students to study world languages and embrace their native and heritage languages. The Seal will provide employers with a way to identify individuals with strong language and biliteracy skills. The Seal may serve as an additional tool for colleges and universities to recognize applicants' language abilities for admission and placement. For this year, 2023–2024, DPSCD is only testing seniors.

    There are three ways for students to receive the seal:

    • A learner from outside the U.S. who has had formal schooling and transcripts to show they completed the 6th grade year of instruction and meets high school graduation requirements
    • Heritage speaker or multilingual learner who meets high school graduation requirements
    • Classroom second language learner in IB/AP programming that shows strong language skills

    To apply or ask questions, please contact Sean Gordon or Erica Lopez-Negrete.

Contact Information