The acquisition of a second language prepares students for college and 21st-century careers, which are the fundamental goals of the Next Generation Standards. Fortunately, many aspects of our discipline naturally support these goals. Guided by our own understanding of the purpose and potential of WL study, as well as New York State and ACTFL guidelines, we have traditionally striven to produce students who are both linguistically sophisticated and globally aware. Moreover, as a result of the district's PST initiative, the application of discipline-specific skills to the resolution of real-world problems has become a key feature of our students' educational experience.
The Next Generation Standards at once validate these principles and prompt certain changes to our practice, most notably an increased focus on non- fiction reading and writing. As such, WL students at all levels will closely read news articles, opinion pieces and technical works of appropriate complexity, and learn to summarize, evaluate and comment on them. In an age of unprecedented access to information and opinions, the ability to separate objective truth from persuasive rhetoric and opportunistically selected data, and subsequently communicate the result of that analysis to a particular audience, are crucial skills for the success of individuals, businesses, and nations. While non-fiction reading will take on new precedence, literature will continue to play an important role in our students' WL experience. The insights to be gained into the culture, history and the essential soul of the various peoples we study, through reading the works of their most brilliant authors, remain indispensable and irreplaceable.
In sum, while adhering to the overarching guidelines of the Next Generation Standards, NYSE, ACTFL, and the district's stated mission, we view it as our responsibility to provide our students a world-class WL experience which maximizes their potential, opens doors of academic and professional opportunity and is a joy in itself.