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CALUMET CITY — The Calumet City Elementary School District 155 Board of Education on Thursday voted to eliminate the district's Spanish program and approved a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program to take its place.

The change will take effect next school year for students in grades six through eight at Wentworth Junior High School.

D.155 Superintendent Troy Paraday said all students at the junior high had been taking Spanish as part of a cycle of four subject areas the students rotate through for nine weeks each.

"It's unfortunate that we lose that for the students but at the same time, with the constraints of the schedule, we only have the ability to offer four cycles," Paraday said.

Assistant Superintendent Joe Zotto said the STEM program had been recommended by the teaching staff and school board, and will concentrate primarily on coding and robotics.

"It's something that is going to help us continue to promote success with our student body," Zotto said.

In other business:

* The installation of sanitary napkin dispensers in the girls restrooms at the junior high has caused some controversy since notice did not go out to parents in advance.

"I found out when I returned from break that they were installed," Wentworth Junior High Principal Ermetra Olawumi said.

She said there have been questions from students regarding how to use the products and that not all parents had previously discussed usage with their children.

Paraday said state law required that free dispensers be placed in all female restrooms by the start of the year.

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