D.158 board considering Spanish for siixth-graders

2013-06-22T19:15:00Z 2013-06-22T20:08:07Z D.158 board considering Spanish for siixth-gradersPaul Czapkowicz Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
June 22, 2013 7:15 pm  • 

LANSING | The Lansing Elementary District 158 School Board on Wednesday discussed the possibility of offering Spanish to sixth-graders.

Assistant Superintendent Phil Schumaker said he has met with administrators at Memorial Junior High School, where Spanish is available only to seventh- and eighth-graders.

Options discussed included offering Spanish to sixth-graders as a regular class, as a block class or implementing it during the advisory period.

Schumaker said adding Spanish as a class for sixth-graders would place an additional workload on those students since they also take reading instruction.

"That is the only place we teach reading, per se, at the junior high school is in sixth grade," Schumaker said.

He said offering Spanish during the advisory period would make it an exploratory course and that it would not be taken for credit since students can take only two years of Spanish credit into high school.

"Looking at it as an exploratory course taught two days a week during the advisory period allows them to get some basic skills in the language, which they can carry into the seventh-grade curriculum and into the eighth-grade curriculum," Schumaker said.

Superintendent Cecilia Heiberger said the board will consider again next month the option of offering Spanish to sixth-graders. She said it is feasible the addition could be made as soon as the 2013-14 school year if the board gives approval.

The board also considered the possibility of allowing students to take home the notebook computers they use in their classrooms.

Before making a decision, the board will consider the cost to the district to insure the devices and any liability parents may incur if the computers are damaged. A decision could be made as soon as the board's July 17 meeting.

"I think if you send them home, it's going to enhance the family to learn together," board member Anthony Arens said. "There's a lot of families that don't have laptops."

Heiberger said a pilot program could be put in place where certain groups of students would be allowed to take the computers home to see how well it would work.

"I think that we're doing ourselves an injustice if we don't at least explore that and determine whether or not it's feasible," board Secretary Robert Bonifazi said.

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