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Alabama School of Math and Science 
Institution name:
Address: 1255 Dauphin
Mobile, AL 36604
Telephone: (251) 441-2129
Web address:
Name: Muriel Hoequist
Title: Assistant Professor
Email: mhoequist@asms.net
Telephone: (251) 441-2129
Purposes and goals of the program:
Language acquisition for students to the AP level, directed readings available for post-AP, and special focus on literature and civilization. Our exchange program and extracurricular activities help maintain motivation, curiosity, and creativity. We require a minimum of four consecutive terms of language, so a personal relationship develops and helps students learn about a living sample of a foreign culture.
Program origin:
The program was founded in 1989 by the public school system.
Program funding:
Languages/dialects taught:
  • French
  • German
  • Program type:  
    Average enrollment: 280
    Total contact hours per week: 4
    Times per week classes meet: 4
    When meetings take place:
    Where meetings take place:
    Parents' or guardians' expectations of the program:
    Academic excellence and uniqueness in acquiring the language
    Parents' or guardians' involvement in the program:
    Instructors' expectations of the program:
    The staff share the same views as the parents. However, the name of "School of Math and Science" should not detract attention from our excellence in the humanities, including languages.
    Number of instructors in the program
    Full-time instructors:
    Part-time instructors:
    Volunteer instructors:
    Languages in which instructors are proficient:
    French, German, and Spanish
    Educational backgrounds and credentials of instructors
    (e.g., diploma, bachelor's, master's, doctorate, certificate):

    Credentials, teacher certification, BA, MA, Doctorate
    Professional development opportunities instructors have:
    Generous continuing education offered mostly during summer break.
    Professional development opportunities instructors need:
    Immersion opportunities with native speakers in proximity, several times a year in short and longer sessions (up to two-week sessions)
    Students' expectations of the program:
    Student expectations vary. Generally our youngest students in 10th grade lack formal speaking experience and have a weak native language awareness and foundation. Most love their language connections, but some depart from their families' wishes and try a whole different language exactly because of their heritage.
    Student background
    First-generation immigrants:
    Second-generation immigrants:
    Third-generation immigrants:
    Children of interethnic marriages:
    Children of interethnic adoption:
    Indigenous students:
    Students' countries of origin:
    Brazil, China, France, Germany, Kenya, Korea, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Russia, and Taiwan
    How the program identifies heritage language speakers:
    Personal interviews with respective language teacher, or interview with residential life staff, home language survey: several personal interviews with trained and experienced residential life staff and teachers, teacher interviews and long-term observation • Brigham Young University placement test
    Average enrollment: 280
    Approximate percentage of students who complete the program:
    Approximate percentage of students who continue to study the heritage language after completing the program:
    Possible reasons that students continue to study the heritage language after completing the program:
    The residential life setting coupled with a rigorous academic pace is a challenge and not the perfect choice for everyone. The program monitors students' overall academic achievement in school with probation and remedial processes if needed. If there is no improvement in a student’s academic work, then they are not invited back to the school.
    Total contact hours per week: 4
    Times per week: 4 times pe
    Student grouping (e.g., proficiency level, grade, age):
    Students are grouped by level: Beginning 1 and 2, Intermediate 1 and 2, Advanced 1
    Language skills taught in the program (e.g., reading, writing, speaking, and listening):
    English skills, listening, speaking, reading, writing, heritage skills, listening, speaking, reading, and writing
    Aspects of culture included in the program (e.g., history, literature, traditions):
    History, festivals, customs, traditions/beliefs, religion, folktales, arts and crafts, songs, rhymes, social and cultural norms, cultural appropriateness, literature, other, culture-related topics: implicit attitudes, contemporary politics, and typical prejudices
    Other content taught in the program:
    Instructional methodologies used in the program:
    Multi-media, multi-modal learning, constantly varied and changing approaches, NOT lecture style, interactive and lively, open to unpredictable learning, and learning in terms of personal growth as well as with academic focus
    Levels of language proficiency reached by the end of the program (e.g., ACTFL proficiency levels, language tasks able to perform):
    Proficiency in all areas including cultural knowledge and conversational settings. A total of 2 credits needs to be taken in a language, at least 1 language credit needs to be completed at our school.
    Deutsch Na Klar (McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2003)
    Manuals and workbooks:
    Current newspapers and Internet links for current events.
    Self-designed materials:
    Instructor overviews of language issues or comments on aspects of culture.
    Films, videos, and DVDs:
    Regular use of authentic audio news media, Deutsche Welle TV, and authentic magazine subscription such as Der Spiegel.
    Standardized tests used:
    ACT and SAT
    Other assessments used:
    Weekly quizzes, chapter tests, final exams, oral exams, school/district developed tests, state testing, student self-assessment instrument, teacher's observations, performance-based tasks or assessment, portfolios
    Connections with local schools or other organizations:
    Students come from all high schools in Alabama and continue their study at all universities in the U.S., sometimes outside the U.S. Colleges, universities, home-school connections: parent organization Opportunities students have for using the language and developing cultural knowledge outside the program: Extracurricular activities organized by the teacher, yearly Alabama competition at Tuscaloosa, library or university film series, area restaurants
    Credit received from formal education system:
    A total of 2 credits needs to be taken in a language, at least 1 language credit needs to be completed at our school. The program monitors students' overall academic achievement in school with probation and remedial processes if needed. If there is no improvement in a student’s academic work, they are not invited back to the school.
    Types of support received (e.g., financial, time from parents or volunteers):
    • Local/state government support • Foundation • Development and foundation office solicit funding for the program • MIT grant for physics this year • Intel grant
    Additional support desired:
    Challenges faced by the program:
    Area high schools perceive us as competition for their gifted students. However, their gifted programs don't offer the variety and depth of learning that we do.
    Our language program is exceptionally strong, and we have some of the best teachers in the state. Also, our students come to us nationally and internationally. The stress of academic focus is alleviated by peer support through the residential aspects of the school. We have a rigorous application process, but all who are admitted are encouraged to make the most of the opportunities.

    This profile was created by Hanwool Choe on July 2014