District 91 is planning to implement a Spanish language program for all middle school students, beginning in the next academic year. We support and commend this initiative of giving this opportunity to all students. However, the proposed solution is problematic and there are addressed consequences behind it.
The middle school will dismantle the current high-quality Spanish honors program. The upcoming seventh and eighth grade students who have already devoted considerable time the past year(s) learning the language will have no outlet to continue their learning. These students feel discouraged and very disappointed. It appeared at the past board meeting that the school board members were not aware of the dismantling of this honors program.
To learn a language at school effectively, we believe it should be part of the curriculum for the full academic year instead of the proposed 12-week exploratory program. Exploratory language classes do not give language fluency.
We learned from the superintendent that accommodating band into the school day was a part of the decision and we believe that band is not a strong enough reason to dissolve an honors program. The decision on Spanish should not be contingent on offering an expanded music program.
The superintendent is currently speaking to the union about teacher contracts for the following three years. Our school day is one of the shortest in the area. We would like to propose a longer school day, so we could accommodate more classes. There would be a better rotation and we could have a more rounded curriculum offered to the students.
We believe that learning a second language is crucial for cognitive diversity, empathy, problem solving, and is needed to formulate innovative solutions to complex problems. However, we are concerned with the lack of interest from the D91 administration in offering foreign language to our students.
We (parents of D91 students) have spent hours discussing this issue. We’ve approached the board members, met with the superintendent several times and wrote a petition. We want to see a change in the proposed solution that benefits all students.
We managed to convince the board members to put this issue in the upcoming June 11 board meeting and we hope to have the support of Forest Park Review.
Monique Cotton, Anna Felicity Friedman, Sarah Gasse, Daniel Gasse, Monique Hoskins, Claudia Medina, Gabrielle Bowman, Connie Brown, Aimee Gall, Maria Maxham, Rina Petersen, Kelly Rice
Parents with kid(s) in D91