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Ladue Schools Builds Partnership with Washington University German Students

WashU German students with Dr. William LayherA group of eight German-speaking graduate students from Washington University visited Ladue Schools on March 1 eager to experience a day in the life of a German teacher.

They spent the morning at Ladue Horton Watkins High School visiting the intermediate and advanced German classes, then finished the afternoon at Ladue Middle School with students who are taking German 1.

The visit was part of a pilot program developed by Dr. William Layher, LHWHS and LMS German teacher, in conjunction with colleagues at Washington University.

The goal was to provide doctoral students with a "pedagogical immersion" that could boost their professional development, as well as raise awareness about career options as a German teacher in secondary education.

“We are incredibly proud of our World Languages program in Ladue Schools and this collaboration is just one example as to why,” said Ladue Schools Superintendent Dr. Jim Wipke.

“Dr. Layher’s leadership and forward thinking are making a real impact in our classrooms and beyond, and I am eager to see how this partnership continues to develop.”

German class at LHWHSAmong the highlights of the morning were: discussing artificial intelligence and "Beethoven's 10th Symphony" with AP German students, learning about rescue dogs (Rettungshunde) in the German Alps in German 3, and acting out student-written skits in German.

In the afternoon, the students at Ladue Middle School put their visitors on the hot seat and peppered them with German questions about movies, pets, hobbies, and St. Louis pizza preferences.

This pilot project at Ladue Schools was supported and funded by the Goethe Institut and by the American Association of Teachers of German (AATG).

Discussions have already begun about continuing this program in 2024 and beyond.

Ladue Horton Watkins High School is recognized internationally for the excellence of its German program; since 2014, it has been a member of the global network of PASCH-Schools, as designated by the German federal government and other agencies.

Thanks to its membership in PASCH, students taking German in Ladue Schools have access to special scholarships, travel opportunities, and educational experiences in Germany.

Students in the district’s German program are taught by Dr. William Layher (LHWHS and LMS) and Patrick Quinn (LHWHS).