Spanish added to school curriculumAn introductory Spanish class piloted last spring at Greenwood Elementary will return to all the elementary schools for the 2012-13 year.
By: Phil Pfuehler, River Falls Journal
An introductory Spanish class piloted last spring at Greenwood Elementary will return to all the elementary schools for the 2012-13 year.
Monday night the school board approved creating a one-third part-time teacher for its world-language program.
According to Academic Services Director Mike Johnson, the position will be filled in September. The new hire will help craft specifics for the program curriculum.
Teaching of kindergartners and first graders will begin in mid- to late-November at one of the four elementary schools. Every eight weeks it will rotate from one school to the next.
Spanish will be taught in 20-minute segments every other day. Johnson said vocabulary will likely be emphasized, but there will be aspects of history and culture taught as well.
The goal is to add another grade level of Spanish instruction each year. That would mean Spanish is also taught to second graders in the 2013-14 school year, to third graders in 2014-15, to fourth graders in 2015-16 and to fifth graders in 2016-17.
Johnson said the world language concept meshes with one of the district’s Strategic Plans that calls for class subjects to include “global awareness.”
In this part of the world, there’s a large percentage of people with a Spanish heritage. That makes the district’s choice of teaching Spanish as a world language to a wide range of students a sensible one, Johnson said.
He also noted that very young students can quickly learn another language. Not only that, but research shows that learning a second language at a young age improves fluency in one’s native tongue — in this case, English.
Nate Wells, the district’s lead Montessori teacher, taught the pilot Spanish program at Greenwood last spring.
Because of budget cutbacks, the school board in the past few years has cut the foreign languages of Japanese and German from its curriculum.