World Language Offerings in DPS

We aim to provide all students with a Standards-Based World Language Curriculum, which focuses on developing effective communication in at least one world language other than English as well as cultural competence to help all our students become better-equipped global citizens.

DPS currently offers 8 languages: Spanish, French, German, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Latin, and American Sign Language to meet the needs of more than 7,000 elementary, middle and high school students.

Our curriculum is aligned to the World Language National and State Standards, which is based on the 5 C’s—Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities— to equip our students both linguistically and culturally to compete globally.

What’s Required

Our curriculum meets the World Language graduation requirement as directed by the Michigan Merit Curriculum. Beginning with the graduating class of 2016, all students must have completed two credits of a world language other than English prior to graduation, or demonstrate a two-year equivalent proficiency at the Novice High level on the American Council of the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Proficiency Scale. Students at Novice-High Level are expected to use the language communicatively in highly predictable situations when interacting with native speakers in a variety of contexts. Students will need to pass a district-wide language proficiency test to demonstrate their level of language proficiency and be placed in the appropriate course.



The focus in language education in the 21st Century (see page 7 of handbook) is no longer on grammar, memorization, and learning from note, but rather using language and culture knowledge as a means to communicate and connect to others around the globe. Technology allows our language learners to use the target language beyond the classroom setting, and reach out to the world.

The district has created a new World Languages handbook detailing all aspects of the World Languages curriculum and requirements, as well as a World Languages Catalog (see page 15 of handbook).


What we Offer

Detroit Public Schools offers Spanish, French, German, Chinese, Arabic, Japanese, Latin, and American Sign Language.

Improving and expanding our instruction

In November 2010, the district bought World Language textbooks, not only for High School, but also for K-8 for Spanish, and supplementary material. The district also has adopted K-8 World Language curriculum.

Learning a World Language through Distance Learning is a new innovative option that has proven to be an effective alternative to traditional teaching and learning. Our goal is to explore other ways to service the needs of all our students.

The Office of World Languages also provides professional development and support to all World Language teachers at elementary, middle, and high schools.  The World Language Supervisor focuses on serving World Language educators in Detroit Public Schools to develop quality, Standards-Based Curriculum and aligned assessments, as well as provide research-based instructional practices that increase language proficiency and cultural understanding.



Resources for World Languages

  • World Language Handbook
    • DPS World Languages Catalog (page 15)
    • Virtual Learning World Languages Courses (page 25)
    • 21st Century World Language Education  (page 7)
    • DPS Office of World Languages Improvement Plan (page 11)