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Committee agrees to hire French teacher for next year

May 16, 2007

French will continue to be offered as a language for Fox Point-Bayside fifth-graders after the school district's Curriculum, Instruction and Policy Committee on May 9 backed off a plan to phase it out and replace it with Mandarin Chinese.

The committee agreed to hire a French teacher for next year and continue to examine the language offerings, including Mandarin Chinese, at future meetings.

The committee meeting was attended by a dozen parents, many of whom had spoken against adding Mandarin Chinese to next year's curriculum offering during a community forum May 7.

"Everyone probably knows I came down pretty hard on the side of French last Monday (May 7)," parent Kimberlee Rosen said. "That doesn't mean that I'm against Chinese. I think it's great. The more languages that we can give these kids, the better off they're going to be."

Rosen said interest in Chinese in a recent survey was misconstrued as being an endorsement for Chinese to be offered.

"Just because there's interest in it doesn't mean we need to jump into it with both feet," she said.

The committee, along with school officials, said it will continue to examine the use of Rosetta Stone, a suite of instructional software used worldwide to learn different languages.

"We learned a lot about the different languages," District Administrator Gary Petersen said to the committee. "We learned that (Chinese) is a difficult language to learn."

To implement Mandarin Chinese and Rosetta Stone next year, the district would have had to hire a Chinese teacher and develop a language lab.

Software licenses would have cost $13,125 for the first year and 21 computers would have cost $8,400.

Brendan O'Brien can be reached at (262) 446-6602 or bobrien@cninow.com.

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