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Board expands foreign language offerings

June 21, 2007

With sixth-grade Spanish approved for the Glendale-River Hills School District, it could be just a matter of time before children as young as fourth grade also are learning the language.

School Board officials on June 18 unanimously approved a plan to reinstate Spanish classes for sixth-graders.

Under the proposal, the district would offer two 30-minute Spanish classes per week. The classes will begin next school year.

Spanish will continue for seventh- and eighth-graders.

Board members also reinstated classes four days each week for German students, as part of a tentative agreement with Nicolet High School.

A Nicolet German teacher is expected to teach at Glendale-River Hills Middle School. A French teacher also will be loaned to the school.

Nothing will change for eighth-graders, who will continue language lessons four days each week in French, Spanish or German.

Board members said they restored Spanish for sixth-graders and increased German for seventh-graders because, without the classes, students were losing a competitive edge when they transferred to Nicolet.

"It's the right move that we need to make," board member Jean Pereles-Strouse said.

She said reintroducing German was a particular advantage.

"We will be the only (Nicolet) feeder school to offer German," Pereles-Strouse said.

She added students taking the language will have the same German teacher for six years because of the Nicolet agreement.

Board President Robert Roska was pleased with the Nicolet arrangement.

"The relationship with Nicolet is an outstanding accomplishment," he said. "We're clearly operating as a coordinated district, even though we're not a K-12 (district)."

The reintroduction of sixth-grade Spanish is not the end of possible foreign language changes in the district, administrator Larry Smalley predicted.

He said the board's curriculum committee hopes to extend Spanish class offerings to fourth-graders. It was unclear how soon that goal might be met.

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