World Language Study at Tuscaloosa Academy
At TA, we believe in helping every student work towards developing proficiency in one or more languages in addition to their home language. Language learning is a valuable part of each faction of our school, beginning in Pre-School and stretching through senior year. Pre-K and Kindergarten will study Spanish all year long. In the Lower School, we slowly introduce students to Spanish, French, German, and Mandarin Chinese. During the Middle School years, students are encouraged to choose a language pathway to prepare them for earning high school credit. Once they have chosen a language pathway commensurate with their goals and abilities, students have the opportunity to continue their language study through levels 1, 2, 3, 4 and AP. With numerous engaging classes to choose from, we hope students will develop a love for learning languages while fostering crucial interpersonal and cross cultural skills.
Lower School Language Program
In Pre-K and Kindergarten, students learn Spanish, while children in grades 1 through 4 will be exposed to multiple languages. Each quarter-long language unit will engage students in thematic study of language and culture with a focus on interpersonal speak and listening skills.. Throughout the school year, each grade level will rotate through French, German, Mandarin, and Spanish language study.
Middle School Language Program
As they move into Middle School, students first take a foundational language course in 5th grade. Then students have the opportunity to explore two or more languages of their choice more fully before choosing a language to pursue into Upper School. An increased focus on interpretive and presentational skills coupled with purposeful instruction in grammar allows for more rigor as students decide on their personal language paths. Particularly motivated students (with a teacher’s recommendation) may begin to take high school-level courses in 8th grade.
*Advanced pathways help talented language students towards the Advanced Placement class in Upper School. Language teacher recommendation needed.
Upper School Language Program
TA’s graduation requirements require students to take consecutive years of at least one world language. Ideally students will continue to study the language they chose in middle school. Levels 1, 2, 3, 4, and AP are offered to high school students.
Special World Language Events
State Language Competitions
National Exams and Awards
Language Clubs and Honor Societies
Jim Moore, class of 2016
During high school, Ms. Sullivan really pushed and encouraged everyone in our class. She truly wanted us to excel. As high school seniors we didn’t really want to study for our AP Spanish exam. But she made it fun and she made us want to succeed. And we did, as we all made a perfect score of 5.
Fast forward to my first semester in college at Ole Miss. I’m sitting in my 300-level Spanish class and it was clear, the gap in my comprehension of Spanish versus some of my classmates. Ms. Sullivan had truly prepared me for college.
Caroline Bonhaus, class of 2018
“After two years in college, I can say without a doubt that TA gave me all the tools I need to be incredibly prepared in a college Spanish classroom. We learned well past a typical high school level, and I found that I was able to communicate fluidly with native speakers halfway through Upper School! Beyond simple preparedness, the confidence that Ms. Sullivan instilled in me was the difference-maker that helped propel me into college life where I was, for the first time, the little fish in a big pond in my classes. I’m grateful to her and that program every day!”
Ali Marshall, class of 2018
The Spanish department and Señorita Sullivan prepared me so well for college classes. At TA I was pushed out of my comfort zone when learning the language, which grew my confidence in writing and speaking. As a Spanish major, I was able to come in with 12 credits for my major and excel in the upper-level classes. I am now one of three scholarship recipients in the Spanish department at my university because how TA paved my way for my success in this language.
Kalin Burt, class of 2018
Before I graduated from TA, I was completely fluent in reading, writing, and speaking the Spanish language. Not only did Señorita Sullivan prepare my peers and I for college, we were years ahead of other college freshmen. I believe I speak for my entire Spanish class in high school when I say that we could not have had a better teacher than Señorita. I am so thankful to have been a student at TA and have the opportunity to be her student; she develops close relationships with her students and makes them enjoy learning. As a junior in college now, I can honestly say that Señorita Sullivan is the only teacher I still have a close relationship with, and she has continuously helped me with life and school, even after I was a student in her class. She is the absolute best!
Ella Huffaker, class of 2018
In my college Spanish classes, I’m constantly thankful for the Spanish I learned at TA. I entered freshman year SO MUCH more prepared and fluent than my classmates who had also taken Spanish all through high school. I learned way more than just verb tenses. My Spanish classes also taught me about music and culture from different countries, which gave me a well-rounded understanding (& made things more fun!). I have so many fun memories of Spanish class, & I'm so glad I decided to take it at TA.
Jake Evans, class of 2016
Learning Spanish was one of the things that kept my fire for learning strong. Not only does learning a second language give you a skill for life it can open up doors to new corners of the world. It can lead to new interests you never would have thought of. I’d advise anyone to learn a second language, it can only do good things for you.
Maggie McGuire, class of 2014
Mrs. Price’s French classes were always my favorite part of the day! She made learning conjugations and tenses fun by mixing in activities and opportunities for us to be creative. That paired with her lessons on francophone culture provided us with a full and diverse view of the scope of the French language.
Celia Gatewood, class of 2013
My experience of traveling abroad is one of my fondest memories growing up! I had the best time learning about new cultures and eating all the good foods! I wish I could go back and do it all over again!
Gillie Jacobi, class of 2014
There is nothing like the experience of traveling abroad. The exposure to new cultures and people helps mold you into a better individual inside and out.
Jenna Teesdale, class of 2018
I had the best experience taking French at TA. Mrs. Price’s classroom was always decorated to create a warm and safe space to learn French! As a class, we engaged with one another, worked on projects, and had fun scenarios to act out. It was an unforgettable experience that I will always be thankful for.
Ashton Cochran, class of 2019
I have always loved France and the French language, so when I started taking French I not only gained more admiration but also a greater respect and understanding of the culture. It was such a rewarding experience and has become one of my fondest memories from my time at TA.