State-of-the-Art Media Center & Language Lab Create New Learning Opportunities at Bernards High School, NJ
Students at Bernards High School, in the New Jersey’s Somerset Hills School District, are ready and excited to learn in a state-of-the-art media center funded with a community-supported referendum. The center has been designed to accommodate all students, with collaborative and quiet study areas, and a new language lab.
The community was invited to a ribbon cutting and open house to celebrate the opening of the media center. Guests became “world language students” as Jay Carney, of Chester Technical Services, Inc., provided an overview of how the SANS Virtuoso™ language lab technology facilitates interactive language learning, even partnering them for conversation practice.
When asked about the reaction to experiencing the lab technology, Michael Catelli, K-12 Supervisor of Social Studies, World Language, and ESL, said “Amazement! Our board members and community members could not believe what could be done in the lab, and they only scratched the surface. After about 10 minutes using the technology, they understood why it was vital to have a language lab and could see the potential positive impact on students.”
World Languages & ESL
Bernards High School has a robust World Languages program that includes French, Spanish, and Latin (5 levels – 1 to Advanced Placement). The school has unique newcomer ESL program for older students without much formal schooling as well as an ESL program for students with more “traditional” schooling, even if it was not in English. Students at all levels in all languages will be using the lab with scheduling for every period, every day.
A Big Vision to Get Students SpeakingWe asked Michael Catelli how he thinks the language lab technology will impact teaching and learning. “My vision is a big one; I hope it allows us to teach world languages and English differently. The lab can alter our whole view on practicing conversation and spoken skills. After we get some experience with the capabilities of the lab technology, we plan to have a new way to assess students, plus new skills we expect students to have by certain grade levels. The feedback we traditionally got from students in our world language classes was that they felt comfortable reading and writing, but not speaking, and we want to change this.”
“We just had our first students in the lab and the teachers all said it was better than they hoped. One commented she already sees how she can start changing all her lessons.”