High school and middle school students will be able to learn ChineseHudson secondary students will have a third choice next year when it comes to foreign language — Mandarin Chinese. The Hudson School Board approved the addition of Chinese to the language curriculum despite protest from all of the district’s world language teachers, who are concerned the district is moving too fast.
By: Meg Heaton, Hudson Star-Observer
Hudson secondary students will have a third choice next year when it comes to foreign language — Mandarin Chinese.
The Hudson School Board approved the addition of Chinese to the language curriculum at the middle and high schools despite protest from all of the district’s world language teachers, who are concerned the district is moving too fast.
In her presentation at last week’s board meeting, Instructional Services Director Sandi Kovatch gave board members a run-down of the process that led to the recommendation. She noted that the graduate learner outcomes in the area of global literacy in the district’s strategic plan, HSD 2025, was to have world languages taught K-12.
In feedback on the plan, Kovatch noted that board members, parents, students, staff and community members wanted to make additional language offerings a priority.
Kovatch said the administration and the K-12 world language committee started meeting with the assumption that the district would begin with the addition of a language at the elementary level. But because starting at the elementary level would require multiple teachers to phase in a language at the six elementary schools, the impact on the school budget was thought to be too great.
Instead the School Board’s program and development committee, along with district administration, recommended that the process start with a third language being offered at the secondary level.
They chose Mandarin Chinese for the following reasons:
Kovatch also pointed out that Hudson would be eligible to receive $7,200 from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction as part of the Mandarin Chinese Critical Language Fellows Project, for next year and possibly in 2010. The project also has been training teachers and will work with the district on staffing.
In a letter to School Board members, world language teachers, many of whom were in attendance at the board meeting, said they wanted to see the decision to implement a new language postponed for a year. They are concerned that insufficient time was taken in researching and planning for the new secondary language and that their concerns and recommendations as the world language professionals in the district have been disregarded.
The letter from the nine teachers concluded with, “The Spanish and German language programs in the district are strong and healthy. This is not by accident. We want to give the next language the opportunity for strength and success by thinking, planning and following best practices in implementing a new program. We are not afraid of change, but we want the change to be conducted in a deliberative manner to get it done right the first time.”
With board approval, Kovatch said the district would begin its search for a teacher who would handle the classes at both the middle and high school. She said Chinese would be added to the course catalog and the addition would be communicated to counselors, parents and students prior to registration for next year.
The district would also continue to collect research from other districts that offer Chinese and identify space at the high school for the class. Level one of Chinese will be offered at HHS, and it will be offered as a seventh-grade exploratory option at the middle school.
Plans are to start an elementary world language program in 2010-11.
For more information, contact the Hudson School District at (715) 377-3700 or visit www.hudson.k12.wi.us.