Arlington Middle School: A Center for German Excellence


The German-language program in Upper Arlington, Ohio, is one of only five centers for German excellence in the United States. The German excellence program starts in sixth grade and lasts all the way through high school. The students not only learn German translation, but also about German culture as well, and the program is specially designed for fluency.

Collaboration Between Teachers Is Key for Success

Teachers in the Upper Arlington school district say teacher collaboration is what helps make the program a success. “Our passion for German and the German culture is what unites us, and we want to pass that passion on to our students,” says Tricia Fellinger, a teacher and leader of the German excellence program. Another part of the program that makes it so effective is the curriculum.  “Outcomes at each instructional level are clearly articulated, and diverse learning styles are respected through varied instructional and assessment techniques,” says Keith Cothrun, executive director of the American Association of Teachers of German.

The students also have the opportunity to study German in college after going through the program, and many of the former students are either studying abroad in Germany or work in Germany. The program sets a solid foundation for students who eventually want to work in jobs that require business or even legal translation work. Fellinger reports that the students “leave our program feeling ready to truly communicate in German and use it for real purposes.”

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