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Des Moines World Language Program Earns National Recognition

  • The world language program in Iowa’s Des Moines Public Schools was recently named one of the Exemplary Programs in U.S. Language Education by America’s Languages.

    America’s Languages created a process of nomination, application, and review by 200 fellows to collect model programs in the nation that are successful at offering more diverse languages.

    In a multilingual community that consists of 110 languages spoken, district officials in the Des Moines school system have worked diligently to build on the area’s diversity with world language courses that empower all students as global citizens.

    As students in Des Moines enter high school, they are given the opportunity of studying eight different language pathways all offering four years of study with the option of an Advanced Placement course. High school language choices are Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, and Spanish as a heritage language.

    The end goal is to provide students the resources they need so they can be both culturally and linguistically prepared to enter the next stage of their young lives.

    “We are so honored to receive this recognition,” said Sam Finneseth, the district’s World Language Curriculum & Seal of Biliteracy Coordinator. “All students benefit from learning other languages. It not only offers many cognitive benefits for all students, but it also creates cultural awareness and appreciation.”

    The district has qualified more than 200 students for the Iowa Seal of Biliteracy in the first two years of implementation.