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Students in Wilmette District 39 begin their language study in the Elementary Spanish program where they receive instruction in Spanish on a regular basis throughout their elementary school experience.

Middle school philosophy encourages choice and exploration, therefore, rising fifth graders are asked to make a choice between five languages to study during their middle school and junior high years.  The language they choose is the language they will continue with from fifth through eighth grade.

Highcrest Middle School offers students the choice between continuing their Spanish language study or beginning study in French, German, Latin or Mandarin Chinese.  Each language has its own unique history, culture, and language goals, so students are asked to weigh the choices against their personal interests and preferences before choosing a language.  Students at Highcrest Middle School and at Wilmette Junior High School receive language instruction five days a week for 40 minute class periods.

At the end of a student’s eighth grade year, if the student has completed the 5-8 grade sequence of language study, that student will enter into the next year of that language at New Trier High School, if they choose to continue with the same language.  There are also opportunities at New Trier to choose a new language to begin.

Second (or third) language learners...
  • ...are better listeners
  • ...are better problem solvers
  • ...have deeper cultural understandings
  • ...often score higher on SAT and ACT exams
  • ...are flexible thinkers