Our 8th graders have started a new program called “Language Buddies”, in which they are partnered with the 1st graders during their language class and help with the language learning. All the students have had a ton of fun so far!
On the first day of this new school year, fifty-two LaSalle II Chinese language students were extremely excited as they received the certificates mailed from Beijing China for their YCT and HSK Chinese test results! These results, from tests taken in mid-May, showed that our LaSalle II Chinese language students once again did a magnificent job!
Both YCT and HSK test series are international standardized tests designed, developed and implemented under the Office of Chinese Language Council International for young Chinese learners and for college students and other adults to rate their Chinese language proficiency levels. For each single test of YCT and HSK, the test papers were prepared, printed and mailed from Beijing to test proctors in the countries around the world. These closely monitored standardized tests were then collected and mailed back to Beijing for grading.
From LaSalle II’s founding year of 2008 to the year of 2017, we have seen a complete cycle of students passing from kindergarten through 8th grade. From 5-year olds with no knowledge of Chinese to 13-year olds passing the adult level HSK IV, LaSalle II students have shown remarkable progress in their proficiency of Mandarin. And, by the way, passing HSK level 4 test is commonly a requirement for foreign students wanting to study in Chinese universities.
Students taking these tests, regardless of level, eagerly look forward to being able to demonstrate how well they understand and can use Mandarin. It is not just students passing the HSK level IV test that makes achievement seem so important but rather the steady improvement demonstrated by students passing higher and higher level tests year after year. In the year our students first took YCT tests, our third graders took YCT levels I and II. As students acquired greater proficiency in subsequent years, the highest level tests taken rose to III, then IV, and this past year to HSK level IV test. To see so many students rising to the challenge of making major improvements in their language skills each year is truly gratifying.
Our Chinese student achievements would not have been possible without the generous support of LaSalle II’s PTO and the strong support of LaSalle II’s administrators. On more than one occasion, the PTO and our school administrators have provided without hesitation needed financial help so that YCT/HSK test proctors’ expenses could be covered. Additionally one of our parents for two years in a row, donated test registration fees for students needing financial help. We appreciate the help of everyone involved in making our LaSalle II Chinese Program one of the strongest in Chicago.
This year LaSalle II was selected as part of a pilot program and our 5th and 8th grade students had the opportunity to earn the CPS Seal of Biliteracy. In order to qualify, student had to demonstrate proficiency on the APPL test. This provides a pathway to the State Seal of Biliteracy that students can earn in 12th Grade.
Below is a list of students who earned the designation.
- Chinese: John L. and Kelli V.
- French: Ivo H., Sara L., and Lyric N.
- Spanish: Madelyn L., Grant L., Kylie O., Sabrina O., Dalton P., Daniel A., Melissa S., Sophia S., Erin Wheeler, Gabrielle Wilson, and Robert Zavala
- Spanish: Karla D., Angel A., and Eric S.
Our exchange students from Madrid were here these past 2 weeks and we had a ton of fun! Our guests visited the Chicago History Museum, the Field Museum, Navy Pier, the Shedd Aquarium, and more! The students even got to attend our middle school dance.
A huge thank you to our host families for making this exchange possible and thank you to those who chaperoned. We know it is an exhausting but rewarding experience! Also, special thanks to our parent Captain Clay who arranged a special tour of his firehouse.
We had several students participate in the 9th Annual Midwest Chinese Student Speech Contest. Students were required to recite a speech in Chinese and were judged on pronunciation, delivery, and expression. Our school had three participants and all of them earned a medal.
Gold: Gabby I. and Ruby V.
Silver: Danny M.
Congratulations to our participants! We are so proud of your hard work and dedication. Also thank you to Ms. Wang for taking the time to prepare and escort the students to the speech contest.ch Contest
Trip To China
By Emma Z.
Just recently in November, five 8th grade students, including myself, went to Beijing, China! This was one of the greatest trips that we experienced! It was amazing practicing the language, trying new foods, and immersing ourselves in Chinese culture. During the week we were able to go sightseeing to places such as the Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven, and the Great Wall of China! The Great Wall was one of our favorite places to visit. It is one of the world’s seven wonders. It was originally built for protection against attacks from the North, and is almost 4,000 miles in length! We also loved trying Chinese food, especially some of the most famous meals- Beijing roast duck and hotpot! In addition, we participated in a few art classes, including making Chinese masks, using the mao bi brush, and Chinese painting. Over the weekend each of us stayed with our exchange students, where we could experience life in a Chinese family. Everyone at the Beijing Foreign Language School was so welcoming to myself and my classmates. We formed friendships with the staff at the school, the students, and even other students from two other Chicago schools who went with us to China! Over the course of two weeks, our Chinese speaking abilities improved, and we gained more confidence when speaking to people in China. The unforgettable trip made us all sad to leave, but very excited to return home and share our journey!
Trip To France
By Oscar S.
France was a beautiful country. I stayed with a family that lived in Angers by the chateau. The family was very nice and kind. They have two sons, 12 and 16 years old. The family and I went to their friends’ house, a festival, and their grandparents’ house. One evening Ms. Sapieka and Ms. Aquino came to my families because a couple years ago the older brother came here and stayed with Ms. Aquino. When they came over we had some special foods that we tried out, such as a blood sausage, and we liked them (note from Ms. Aquino – Oskar did a good job of trying all of the new foods at dinner).
When I was there I tried many different foods and kind of foods – for example, cheese, salami. They were all delicious. One day all of the families met up and went bowling. Another day we met up one more time and went ice skating, which were both a great time.
LaSalle II students went to many different places. We visited the chateau of Angers, which was mostly made out of slate. I was amazed how it was built and how it was improved over time. It was originally a fortress. My host dad was an architect that designed some awesome things such as the museum in the chateau. We also walked around town which had lots of old buildings and monuments still standing from the Middle Ages. We also attended classes at College Mongazon, which is a private school. The school also provided a private bus to take us to Mont Sant Michel and St. Malo in Brittany, about three hours north, for the day. My favorite thing in Angers was when we visited their school and went to their classes to see what subjects they have and how they are taught.
Then we got to Paris. We stayed at a nice hotel that had complimentary breakfast. It was delicious. We visited some very famous places and things like the Louvre, Latin Quarter, Jardin Du Luxembourg, Notre Dame, the Champs Elysees, the Sacré-Cœur, and the Eiffel Tower.
The most beautiful thing was the Eiffel Tower. When we were taking the elevator to the top it was really scary. The wind was blowing very hard, and it was so cold. It soared in the sky, and I couldn’t believe that someone actually created it. My favorite thing in Paris was the Eiffel Tower and the view that it had on top of it.
Overall the weather was beautiful and everyone there treated us well. The trip was wonderful and a great experience.
We currently have students abroad in Beijing, China. We can’t wait to hear all about their exciting travels!
Currently we have students in Angers, France. They are having a great time and we cannot wait to hear all the details when they return!
LaSalle II is a World Language is the Magnet school, and an important piece to each student’s education is exposure to the cultures and communities that embrace the languages that they are learning. This helps our kids become better able to understand other people’s points of view, ways of life, and contributions to the world.
We are fortunate to live in a diverse city with exciting field trip opportunities. Recently our 4th and 5th grade Spanish students visited the Old Town School of Folk Music for a performance by Perujazz. The concert featured traditional Peruvian instruments such as the quena, zampona and bongos with contemporary tenor sax, electric bass and drums, just to name a few. You learn more about the band here: http://perujazz.com.
Money raised by the PTO funded the bus transportation that made this trip possible. Students studying other languages take similar trips throughout the year. We need your help to continue to provide cultural experiences like this. Please join the other 10 families who are using the monthly donation option as their way of contributing to the LaSalle II PTO Campaign for Excellence. A donation of $50 per month could provide 60 children exposure to a unique experience like this trip. Donations of any amount are appreciated.
In September, some students in 7th and 8th grade traveled to Spain to LaSalle II sister school for two weeks partnering up with Skinner North Elementary. Students stayed with host families in Madrid and attended school at IES Ramiro de Maeztu. Students were immersed in a Spanish-speaking environment most of the time and learned interdisciplinary content in the lessons they attended as well as all the learning trips students took in Madrid and around.
LaSalle II students had the chance to explore four different “Comunidades Autónomas” or the equivalent of a state here. They visited la Comunidad de Madrid, Castilla La Mancha, Castilla León, and Andalucía. Weekdays they attended classes, had school activities and educational and cultural visits, and in the evenings and weekends hosting families organized countless activities everyone enjoyed. It was hard to say goodbye to the host families as they truly became LaSalle II students’ families overseas. Students forged really strong relationships with their families in Spain that will last for a lifetime!