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F-M takes first steps towards offering foreign languages to younger students

— Kaiser and the team recommended that the district continue with its current foreign language structure for the 2014-15 school year, in which students take their first LOTE class in seventh grade and have the option to continue through 12th grade. Kaiser said that the district should continue “working backwards” through sixth and fifth grade before implementing foreign languages at the elementary school level.

“We’ve worked our way back from [eighth to seventh]. To hop to first through fourth grade leaves an educational gap,” Kaiser said. “So our recommendation was to keep marching backwards to sixth and then fifth grade.”

The team came up with a few possible courses of action, to be looked at over the course of the year. The first feasible option would be an exploratory language experience enrichment period, in which each of the four languages would offer a week-long after school enrichment period, which would allow sixth graders to make a more informed decision.

The second option was to have a teacher from each of the four languages “push-in” to a middle school class during the day. Students would have the opportunity to ask questions, watch a video about each language and do an activity related to each language to help them make up their minds.

The team also presented a few other options, to be looked at in the future, which include having fifth and sixth graders taking one foreign language every day (similar to what seventh and eighth graders currently do) and having the younger middle schoolers take all four languages throughout the school year. And finally they proposed looking into teaching LOTE in the three elementary schools.

“We see these choices as goals for down the road,” said Wellwood sixth grade teacher Lisa Geraci-Civiletto. “We don’t see them as possibilities for next year, but we do see them as possibilities for the future.”

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