Academic Excellence

75 years of rigorous, classical education

Modern Languages

Our Modern Language curriculum focuses on listening, speaking, reading, and writing; after four years students reach proficiency to understand films in the target language, read books and report on their content, and carry on conversations on the topics of a standard newspaper, including politics, economics/business, science, leisure, sports, and entertainment.

Department Overview

Our program begins with an introductory level course in Middle School and proceeds to more advanced levels of proficiency in Upper School.

We apply the standards of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) in all three languages taught (Arabic, French, and Spanish) so that students not only learn to communicate in the language but demonstrate cultural competence in the language as well. In French and Spanish, students at each level are tested every year to assure that the national achievement criteria of the American Association of Teachers of French and the American Association Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese are met. In those languages, students in Form V or VI can take the AP Language and Culture Exam and can either obtain college credit, have the language requirement waived, or can proceed to an advanced level coursework in college.

Curriculum Sequence

Form A None; Focus on English Grammar and Composition
Form I None; Focus on first year of Latin
Form II Spanish 1; French 1; or Arabic 1
Form III Spanish 1 or 2; French 1 or 2; or Arabic 1 or 2
Form IV Spanish 2 or 3; French 2 or 3; or Arabic 2 or 3
Forms V & VI Spanish 3, 4 or AP Spanish or AP Spanish Literature; French 3, French 4 or
AP French; or Arabic 4

Course Descriptions

Modern Languages Faculty
Dr. Larry Joseph, Department Chair
French I, II, and III; AP French
Ph.D., Slavic Languages and Literature, Stanford University
M.A., Slavic Languages and Literature, Stanford University
B.A., Slavic Languages and Literature, University of California, Berkeley

Mr. Mourad Abdennebi
M.A., Texas Tech University
B.A., Mohammed V University (Morocco)

Dr. Charles Downey
French IV
Ph.D., Music History, Catholic University of America
M.A., Music History, Catholic University of America
B.Mus., Piano, Michigan State University

Ms. Belen Fernandez de la Pena
M.A., Western Philosophy, University of Madrid

Mr. Abdel Gubartalla
Arabic I, II, III, and IV
B.A., International Relations and French, Hiram College

Mrs. Melissa Montoya
Spanish II, III, & AP Spanish
M.A., Spanish Language and Literature, University of Missouri - Kansas City
B.S. Communications, University San Martin de Porres, Lima, Peru


Br. Matthew Nylund, OSB
Spanish I and II
B.A., History, Fordham University