Friday, May 18, 2012

Foreign language opens gateway to global future for CMS students

Providence High School has been recently designated as a PASCH Schule
for its German studies program. It is the first high school in North
Carolina to receive this distinction. The PASCH, which stands for the
"Schools: Partners for the Future," is an initiative of the Federal
Foreign Office. The aim of PASCH is to create and strengthen a global
network of 1,500 partner schools with special links to Germany. The
program is designed to awaken and maintain student's interest and
enthusiasm for modern-day Germany and the German language.

Through the N.C. Standards of the Common Core, teachers are preparing
students to develop a proficiency in a foreign language versus simply
memorizing vocabulary. At Providence, 14 of its 300 students enrolled
in German studies chose to take a Deutsches Sprachdiplom, an
international exam given throughout the world – similar to the SAT.
Students wanted to challenge their expertise on the German culture and
language. Their knowledge of Germany and its vernacular resulted in
Providence's PASCH Schule distinction.

"We focus on what you learn in the classroom and teach students how
they can apply it in the real world. It isn't just about earning an
'A' at the German AP level," German teacher Stacy Feldstein said.

"German class is half culture and half language. You have to be able
to understand that balance and connection," senior Stephen Fitch
added. "We talk about the education system in Germany, along with
other differing cultural aspects. It enlightens us to how things are
so different from home."

Eric Hancock, who is also a senior, already sees the value of
acquiring a proficiency in a foreign language. His sister, who also
studied German at Providence, currently works with the foreign

"There is no doubt that studying German opened up my mind to a whole
other world," said senior Eric Hancock. "In this one class, I get to
experience something I never did before."

Feldstein said, "Students need to be prepared to work with different
cultures in business and in politics. We need to know how to seek
things from another language. It helps us interact with each other and
avoid a lot of misunderstandings. Understanding a foreign society
makes you flexible in your thinking and allows you to become a part of
a team."

The school was awarded 1,200 Euros (approximately $1,500) for the
PASCH Schule designation. The German teachers will use the funds for
new class materials.