Montgomery Bell Academy’s Foreign Language Department offers courses in Latin, Greek, French, German, and Spanish. The graduation requirement involves at least two years of Latin, followed by either a third year of Latin or at least two years of a modern language sequence. For students entering at the tenth grade or later, the Latin component of the requirement is strongly encouraged but not mandatory, for the reason that students at grade ten or later are already expected to be involved in a foreign language sequence.
Students at Montgomery Bell Academy have the opportunity to take five years of Latin, a college-paced year of Classical Greek, four years of French, four years of German, and four years of Spanish, all culminating in at least one Advanced Placement Examination. Occasionally, a fifth-year Independent Study in one of the Modern Languages can be arranged. In language competitions, our students consistently score among the top foreign language students in the nation.
The Latin program comprises five levels: Latin I and II (required of all students entering before grade 10), Latin III, Latin IV: AP Latin Literature, and Latin V-Honors. The two required years of Latin study are taken either in the 8th and 9th grade by students who attend the Junior School or in the 9th and 10th grade by students who enter MBA in the High School. All Latin courses count as high school credit and appear on the student’s official school transcript, though scores from Latin I taken in the 8th grade are not included in the High School GPA.
Students entering MBA in the 10th grade are encouraged to take a three-year Latin sequence, unless they have already studied Latin or have already begun the study of a modern language. If, however, they prefer to substitute one of the modern languages in fulfillment of the language requirement, they may do so, although they will normally be expected to continue their foreign language study through the twelfth grade.
The Greek course is a college-paced introduction to classical Greek (i.e., the course covers the same material as two college semesters of Classical Greek). This course is designed for seniors but open to juniors with the approval of the department chair, and it carries Honors-level designation.
: The modern language program comprises four years each of Chinese, French, German, and Spanish. Credit in the first-year course for graduation requirements is contingent upon completion of a two-year sequence in the modern language, except in the case of seniors enrolled in a first-year course. In courses above the beginning level, separation of students in regular- and honors-level classes may be done at the discretion of the instructor, provided that prior scheduling approval has been obtained and that the work expected of the honors-level students is greater than that expected of students in the regular class(es). Currently Honors-level classes are available in Chinese II, Chinese III, French II, French III (no regular section), Spanish II, Spanish III, German II, and German III (no regular section). Advanced Placement courses are: Chinese Language & Culture, French Language & Culture, German Language & Culture, Spanish Language & Culture, and Spanish Literature & Culture.Common matters pertaining to both Classical and Modern Languages
- Summer school attendance: Students who fail any foreign language course are required to attend summer school (provided that the average for the year is 60 or above; for second semester or year's failure below 60, the department will determine whether summer school is a feasible option). In all foreign language courses, the second semester may balance out a first-semester failure.
- Continuing courses: Any course which is followed by a required course at the next level is considered a continuing course. In continuing courses, the second semester must be passed in order for the student to be promoted to the next level. This applies to all first-year foreign language courses and to Latin II for students taking Latin III in fulfillment of their language requirement. In principle, any student continuing his study of a foreign language to the next level above II is expected to pass the second semester; enrollment in the next level for students who do not pass the second semester will be contingent upon summer school work.
- Semester weights: The year's grade for students in all first-year foreign language courses is figured by counting the first semester average once and the second semester average twice, on the premise that much of the first semester is spent in learning very basic elements and how to study the language.