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Spanish, German, Music and Art Classes Added To Younger Grades in Salisbury Schools

Curriculum changes possible without increasing costs, school board said.

At a time of budget cutbacks, Salisbury Township School District will offer Spanish and German to sixth-graders and music, art and gym classes to kindergarteners in September

These classes will not cost the district additional money, the board said at its April 25 curriculum and technology committee meeting. The additional kindergarten classes will be possible because, due to declining enrollment, the district can use teachers from other grades who lost classes, the board said.

Until last week's curriculum change,  Salisbury students were not offered   foreign language classes until eight grade.  Spanish and German are still the only foreign languages offered in the school district. Board member John Moyer said while he was pleased foreign languages were now being offered to sixth-graders, he would prefer to see them offered to even younger students.  Moyer was also among the board members and teachers at the meeting who would like additional foreign languages to be offered in the future.

The committee plans to discuss the possibility of incorporating electronic texts in the exploratory language courses at its May 23 meeting.

The district will move teachers to instruct art, music, gym and library classes to kindergartners. Art and music probably will be offered in the same week, followed by gym and library studies the next week using a Tuesday/Thursday and Monday/Wednesday schedule.

The following changes were made to kindergarten start and dismissal times beginning in September:

  • Morning kindergarten will be dismissed at 11:40 a.m.
  • Afternoon kindergarten will begin at 12:20 p.m.

Assistant Superintendant Louise Beauchemin described it as a "win-win situation" for everyone involved.

Moyer was enthusiastic about the plan, adding he is proponent of full-day kindergarten and will support any extra classes added to their schedule.

meripret May 07, 2011 at 12:06 PM
I understand the Lehigh Valley/Pennsylvania cultural heritage but on a more practical note and in the midst of 21st century learnings, it's unfortunate that we don't have French anymore and did not start Mandarin yet, while we are still offering German. The German speaking population in the US is only 5.000.000. French is studied as a foreign language by some 200 million people in the World, making it the second-most studied foreign language, after English. If you add the 110 million native speakers and 190 million second language speakers, there is no question on why we should reinstall French. Mandarin has more native speakers than any other language and whether we like it or not, our kids will have an advantage learning it. 21 of the top 25 industrialized countries start studying world languages in grades K-5. In the US, the large majority of students don’t begin until age 14. 75% of European countries have students learn another language for at least nine years. I'm obviously bias about French but I think we should at least think about it.
Salisbury Resident May 09, 2011 at 02:23 AM
I checked the facts that you have posted Marc and while they are correct, they do in fact show a bias. While the word bias is often times confused with an insult, by no means would I present this point of view this way or fault for an opinion. In this region, where the roots of Salisbury has grown was largely a German, and then known as Pennsylvania Dutch cultural region. While sadly the PA Dutch language is dying (very fun to learn if you have the chance), German roots still prevail, albeit with an older population. One of the largest, and if not arguably the largest growning populations in the U.S. is hispanic. Politics aside, however the emigration to the U.S. occurs, they reamin one of the largest growing sectors in society. From a different angle, the religion of Islam is a very fast growing religion which is accompanied by a language and cultural understanding of its own, hitting more countries than the Mandarin culture. Taking all of this into consideration, it does not surprise me why or how the decision to offer German and Spanish was made. Amazingly, with the fact that I have had 7 years of French in my studies growing up (high school & college), I have never had the need to use it throughout my adult life, unfortunately. Coupled with the fact that my mother had a Spanish maiden name and my extended family is of strong spanish and italian decent, I guess one would call me bias as well.

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