Heritage Language Programs - German

New School Prep

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Address: 130 East Marks Street, Orlando, FL, 32792

Contact person:

Name: Sara Hoefler

Title: German Coordinator

Email: sara_hoefler@yahoo.com

Telephone: (407) 246-0556

Program Description

Purposes and goals of the program: The purpose of the New School Prep German program is for students to experience the joy and personal enrichment that learning German brings as they meet the following goals:
- Using the German language effectively in written and oral communication
- Developing foreign cultural literacy and cross-cultural awareness
- Developing both aesthetic and interpretive capacities through engagement with authentic cultural materials and situations

Type of program: The New School Prep holds partial immersion, foreign language, content-based, and before- and after- school programs, and an extracurricular club. We include a service learning component through the innovative “New School to Namibia” program. New School German students work with local college German students to gain insight into the business side of philanthropy as they raise scholarship funds for needy children at a German language school in Windhoek, Namibia as well as assist in the tasks of setting up and maintaining a 501c3 organization.

Program origin: The program was created in 2005 by private tuition.


Parents’ expectations for the program: Parents primarily expect their children to gain German language and cultural skills in an academically challenging and exciting manner.


Instructors’ and administration’s expectations for the program: New School teachers and administration expect the program to further expand students’ horizons as “Renaissance people” by introducing them to new cultural, academic, and communicative concepts through the German language.


• Third-generation immigrants, 15%
• Children of interethnic marriages, 5%
• Non-ethnic background, 80%

Countries of origin: Iran, Cuba, and Germany

Total student enrollment: 35

How the program identifies heritage speakers: Personal contact with students and parents, and a template of the oral interview SOPA (Student Oral Proficiency Assessment)

Percentage of students who complete the program: 95%

Possible reasons for student withdrawal: Financial or moving to a different state

Students’ attitudes toward the language varieties they speak: Students are proud of languages spoken at home and enjoy making connections between their home languages and the German they learn in class.


Number of instructors in the program: 1

Languages in which instructors are proficient: English and German

Proficiency level: English (native); German (near native)

Credentials: All certifications needed for the state of Florida, and a Masters of Education, a Masters in American Language and Literature, and a SOPA training certificate

Professional development opportunities instructors have: Attendance foreign language conventions such as Florida Foreign Language Association (FFLA), Florida Association of Teachers of German (FATG), and Southern Conference on Language Teaching

Professional development opportunities instructors need: Attending conferences such as FFLA and FATG are integral to introducing teachers to new practices and ideas in teaching German.


Total contact hours per week: 4

Student grouping: Students are grouped according to age.

Language skills

Heritage language skills: Listening, speaking, reading, writing, and reading culturally appropriate visual cues

English skills: Mainly listening, but through the study of German grammar and vocabulary, students become more aware of the workings of English.

Levels of language proficiency reached by the end of the program: A student who stays with the New School German program from 4th through 8th grade will be ready for high school German level 2 or 3.


Aspects of culture taught: Geography, history, festivals, customs, traditions/beliefs, religion, folktales, dances, songs, rhymes, social and cultural norms, cultural appropriateness, and literature

Kind of student identity program fosters: The New School Prep German program fosters a “Renaissance person” student identity.


Methodologies and instructional strategies used in the program: Teachers are not tied to any single method. Therefore, a wide variety of methods are used including Total Physical Response, Total Physical Response Storytelling, Frontal Instruction, reading assignments, simulations, or role play among others.


Other materials used for instruction: Authentic materials from Germany including children’s literature, school textbooks, and manipulatives

Technology used for instruction: Students regularly use the Internet for research as well as for WebQuests.


Assessments used to evaluate students’ progress: Student self-assessment instrument, teacher’s observations, performance-based tasks or assessment, portfolios, and SOPA interviews


Connections with other institutions: Students coming from local and private schools, and our students finish their education in local high schools. We also have connections with schools outside the USA, colleges, and the Florida Association of Students of German.

How the program develops home/school connections or promotes parent involvement: To promote school involvement, we organize information evenings twice a year concerning the goals and performance of the German program. We also send regular newsletters. To promote parent involvement, some volunteer to assist with both the New School to Namibia Program and the annual Florida Association of Students of German convention.

Opportunities for using the heritage language and developing cultural knowledge outside the program: Students are able to communicate with pen friends made through the New School to Namibia program, as well as traveling opportunities with parents, participation in the Florida Association of Students of German activities and annual convention or cultural celebrations in Central Florida (Laternenfest on Rollins College Campus, etc).

What the program has in place

Financial support the program receives: Tuition and parents

Other support the program receives: Parents pay tuition as well as volunteer their time and energy for various programs.

How students graduate and/or how they receive credit: Our students go on to local high schools and are able to “test out” of first-year German courses.

Special challenges

Challenges the program has experienced: Finding additional qualified staff members to further differentiate students by age or language level.

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