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World Languages Department

Robert J. Wottawa II, Ed.D.

Secretary Carol Bartlett 631-224-2143




Gelato and a Show Highlight Italian Culture for HS Language Students

The high school’s Italian-language students recently enjoyed a three-part field trip celebrating the language and culture of Italy, beginning with a visit to Caffe Italia in Deer Park to taste fresh gelato. The students tasted a wide variety of gelato flavors as well as biscotti, pastries and cappuccino.

“It was like we were in Italy,” said Emily Gerde, one of several language teachers accompanying the students. “It is the most delicious and fresh gelato you will taste on Long Island.”

The next stop was the Jamaica Performing Arts Center in Queens, where the students took in an interactive performance by Incanto Productions, sponsored by the Italian American Committee on Education. The interactive show, “I Sette Mondi,” incorporated dancing, trapeze artists, and spoken and sung Italian, with audience participation geared toward different levels of language learners.

The day was completed with a trip to Heckscher Park in Huntington, where the students ate lunch and enjoyed the beautiful setting.

An Unforgettable Tour of Spain

A group of 35 advanced language students from the high school had the opportunity to travel to Madrid and southern Spain on an unforgettable educational tour during spring break.

The trip began with a visit to the Prado Museum, home of Spain’s great masters such as Goya, Velazquez and El Greco. The students enjoyed life in Madrid, centered on outdoor cafes, eating tapas and walking through the Plaza Mayor.

Later, the group visited the medieval city of Toledo and viewed a demonstration of sword making. The students walked the twisted alleyways and cobbled streets of Seville, visiting the old Jewish quarter as well as the Columbus gravesite in the world’s largest cathedral.

In Granada, near the snowcapped peaks of the Sierra Nevada, the group toured the imposing but delicate Moorish castle the Alhambra and its luxurious gardens. In the evening, students enjoyed a flamenco dance show.

The high schoolers’ last stop was Cordoba, to see one of Spain’s most impressive monuments, the Mosque-Cathedral dating to the 8th century.

“We walked through picture-perfect narrow white-washed alleys, passing tile-covered patios dotted with vibrant colored flowers,” said teacher Lisa Rapiejko. “Our students enjoyed speaking Spanish and learning about the history of Spain, where the medieval and modern blend seamlessly.”


Piacenti Named Student of Month

Earning recognition in March for her dedication to learning, senior Jordan Piacenti was named East Islip High School’s World Languages Department Student of the Month for study of the Spanish language.

“I have had the pleasure of having taught Jordan as a sophomore, and again this year as a senior,” said teacher Diana Rivera. “She has consistently demonstrated exemplary conduct and character. Her classwork and homework are always completed on time, and her quiz and test scores are outstanding. She is a joy to teach, and it is my pleasure to recognize her achievements as outstanding Spanish student.” 

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Foreign Language Week Celebration

With enriching demonstrations of French, Italian and Spanish language and culture, as well as American Sign Language, the high school celebrated Foreign Language Week in the school’s library during the week of March 5.

Tuesday was American Sign Language Day. Students wore T-shirts with sign language messages, signed popular songs in ASL, taught basic signs and the alphabet, and played fun games with visiting fourth-graders from JFK.

For Spanish Day on Wednesday, students watched a Foreign Language Honor Society presentation in the library about the roots of flamenco dancing and how it inspired Irish step dancing. They then moved into the school’s Forum for a live performance by senior Kathryn Bingham, an accomplished Irish step dancer who competes nationally and was honored with first place in a recent competition.

“Kathryn has been dancing for 15 years, and her love of dance was evident as she danced the entire day and encouraged her peers to participate by inviting them on the stage to learn intricate dance steps,” said teacher Lisa Rapiejko.

For Thursday’s French Day, French Club members presented a French cabaret where they sang popular French songs, and Italian Day on Friday found the school’s Italian students demonstrating the tarantella dance, discussing famous singers and songs from Italian culture and teaching some basic vocabulary in Italian.

“Our students certainly enjoyed learning about different languages and cultures through engaging, fun-filled activities,” said Rapiejko.

In the event’s annual poster contest, sponsored by Dr. Janet Hiller, first place went to Joelle Tomossone, second to Emily Alexander, third to Shannon Wodicka and honorable mention to Kelli Karlin. This year’s theme was “Languages: Windows to the World.” Dr. Hiller, the district’s retired world language chairperson, provides the winners with bookstore gift cards.

The Regents Exams May Return

Dec. 15, 2016

We are extremely pleased to announce that recently, the Board of Regents approved a number of items in their 2017-2018 budget proposal, which includes the funding to restore the Regents exams for world languages. Though the legislature and the governor will have the final say, this is a victory for our profession, but more importantly, for the children in New York State.

FLACS and other organizations had conversations with the NYSED Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages about which assessments to restore. The NYSED decided to restore the Checkpoint B Exams in order to use those exams as a pathway (4+1) exam for graduation purposes. If the legislature and governor approve of the funding and the Regents exams for world languages are restored, please know that FLACS will support the NYSED Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages in any way we can to ensure a smooth transition. FLACS will continue to create the Checkpoint A Exams and any of the Checkpoint B assessments that are not currently on the list to be restored by NYSED. At a time when the NYSED eliminated our exams, FLACS mobilized to maintain standards, but more importantly, to ensure that our learners were provided with quality assessments. We have evolved over time to become the largest consortium in New York State to create assessments in Chinese, French, German, Italian and Spanish. We are proud of our work, but more importantly, we are proud of the world language teachers and administrators who continue to develop items for our assessments on a yearly basis.

FLACS would like to thank Lissette Colon-Collins, assistant commissioner of OBE and WL, for her leadership and collaboration on this important issue that impacts our profession and learners. We also thank the Board of Regents for their support of world languages; their unanimous vote to include funding in their budget to restore our Regents exams reaffirms their commitment to the children of New York State. New York State is one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse states in the nation, and our learners deserve quality assessments in a language other than English. The FLACS Board encourages the legislature and governor to support the NYSED budget proposal that includes the restoration of Regents exams for world languages.


The Executive Board, FLACS

Thursday, December 13, 2018