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State High World Languages Department Honor

A world language teacher works with studentsArgent. Argenti. Plata. Fiddtan. Yin. Silber. Silver.


For the State College Area High School World Languages Department, they all spell excellence.


This spring, the department received a Silver Globe Award from the Pennsylvania State Modern Languages Association (PSMLA) Exemplary Program Awards. Good for three years, the award signified that State High, which offers French, Spanish, German, Arabic, Chinese and Latin, met or exceeded at least eight out 11 rubric indicators for measuring “exemplary” programs. 


State High French teacher Amanda Showers, the department coordinator, decided to apply to the awards program after attending the PSMLA conference in November. With the help of her colleagues and the district’s registration office, Showers compiled figures for enrollment, scheduling and other data that the application required.


“This recognition and award is something incredibly special to be shared by our department, our school, and our community,” Showers said. “We have wonderful teachers in the World Languages Department who bring with them passion, dedication, and a wealth of experiences which help to strengthen and enrich our programs. We feel grateful to have the support of building and district leadership, and the community, to be able to offer such a wide, rich variety of language opportunities to our students.”


“In addition to offering courses in six languages, WL students at State High can also participate in other opportunities such as AP and International Baccalaureate courses, language clubs, field trips — both locally and abroad with our travel and exchange programs, participation in National Language Exams, membership in national language honor societies, participation in the Seal of Biliteracy, among other things. All of these opportunities exist because of the hard work and initiative taken by our teachers throughout the years.” 


Showers said credit should extend to the middle school world languages program for preparing students for high school courses.


“While this award focuses on the program at the high school level, I'd like to acknowledge the incredible work done by our colleagues at our middle schools, who are the first ambassadors of language and culture for many of our students,” she said. “Their passion, dedication, and love for what they do help to lay the foundation for language learning which leads to the many opportunities that exist at the high school level.” 


State High French teacher Michelle Regel said she appreciated the work Showers did to submit the necessary data for the department to be considered.


“I'm grateful to work with all of our kind and hardworking colleagues,” Regel said. “Our world language teachers exceed expectations by offering a variety of courses and pathways for students, working together to develop curricula and assessments and create and share activities. We have high expectations for student performance. We also offer opportunities to make connections globally by offering opportunities to travel and host student travelers, and we  provide many ways for students to participate in a variety of activities and connect locally.” 


“World language teachers at State High are not only remarkable professionally, we're also friends. We care about each other personally. We genuinely care about our students too. I'm happy that our department is receiving recognition for many of the things we've been doing daily for the 18 years that I've been working with my amazing colleagues.” 


A world language teacher works with studentsThe 2024 rubric contained the following indicators for the Golden Globe, Silver Globe, Bronze Globe, and Globe awards:

  • Maintain a high percentage of total world language enrollment
  • Provide a variety of languages in a four-year high school sequence
  • Retain students at higher levels
  • Participate in AP, IB, level 5 and/or CIS program
  • Schedule classes that are one level per class period
  • Provide an extended sequence of instruction in a commonly taught language
  • Implement PSMLA Key Instructional Practices
  • Administer end-of-year, standards-based performance assessment(s)
  • Engage in yearly staff development on world language topics
  • Maintain membership in professional organizations
  • Provide special program features


“The world continues to grow increasingly interconnected, and having knowledge of and experiences with other cultures, languages, and people is a very valuable skill,” Showers said. “The incredible colleagues that I have the honor of working alongside strive each and every day to help our students be more prepared to join a multilingual global community. I'm so grateful to my colleagues, our administration, the community, and — the reason why we do what we do —  our students. We couldn't do any of this without them!”


By Chris Rosenblum

Photos by Nabil K. Mark

Published May 30, 2024