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The Suburbanite
  • Jackson Local Schools dropping German studies

  • Officials will retain Spanish, French, Chinese as Jackson Local Schools'   foreign-language offerings. There are several reasons the district decided to phase out German studies, including the results from a communitywide survey in December. Spanish, Chinese and French were the top vote-getters. German finished fourth.

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  • After 20-plus years, Jackson Local Schools will bid German studies farewell as its Mandarin Chinese program grows.
    The district’s secondary curriculum director, Anna Minor, said students taking a German course will be able to finish their studies before German is dropped entirely.
    Spanish, French and Chinese will remain as the district’s foreign language offerings.
    There are several reasons the district decided to phase out German studies, including the results from a communitywide survey in December, which indicated a lack of interest in German.
    Minor said district officials, reviewing all academic programs, surveyed residents about foreign languages and asked which should be offered to students.
    Spanish, Chinese and French were the top vote-getters. German finished fourth.
    GLOBAL OPPORTUNITIES
    More than 80 percent of those who responded to the survey said the district should offer languages that provided students with global career opportunities.
    Unfortunately, German is not one of those languages, Minor said.
    Minor said Jackson’s German program has four levels but has become “stagnant” with little growth, averaging 130 students annually. And, the district’s full-time German language teacher, Doris Oberlin, will retire at the end of this school year. Minor said the other foreign language teachers who are qualified to teach German will pick up Oberlin’s classes.
    Oberlin will be replaced on the payroll by Steven Hyatt, who teaches Chinese. He was hired last week.
    CHINESE MORE POPULAR
    Since 2007, the district’s Chinese courses have grown from a few small classes into a program with three levels, beginning in middle school.
    About 100 students, Minor said, have enrolled in the Chinese program for the 2010-11 school year. That figure represents a 60 percent growth, she said.
    Hyatt replaces Younghui Ren, who taught Chinese in Jackson for the past two years. Ren came to Jackson through an exchange program — funded by state dollars — with a Chinese school. That program has ended. Hyatt will be paid with local dollars.
    LAKE LOCAL TO KEEP GERMAN
    Lake Local Schools is among other districts in Stark County that offer German.
    John McAllister, curriculum director at Lake Local, said his district will continue to offer German, Spanish, French and Latin. He said the German program remains “robust” with student interest, though he acknowledges the language is “restrictive” in terms of global appeal.
    McAllister said his district has no plans to eliminate any of its four foreign language offerings in the future. Long-term, he said, if there is staff turnover, the district could consider substituting other languages such as Chinese.
    “But we’re not in a position to add courses because of economics,” he said.