Clinton City Schools administrative staff and board are working hard to afford students every opportunity for success in their public education.
As part of those efforts, Spanish as a second language will now be offered to students in kindergarten through second grade.
According to Dr. Kelly Batts, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, the class will be one of the resource classes offered in addition to music, art and physical education. Students at L.C. Kerr School and Butler Avenue School will benefit from the additional classes for now.
“Statewide, systems have talked about kids in the 21st century needing a second language to be competitive,” Batts said. “We are preparing our kids for the future by starting the second language initiative in our elementary schools.”
While only kindergarten through second grade will benefit from the second language for now, Batts said that it is the system’s hopes to eventually offer Spanish as a second language to all students.
“If this takes off and goes well, we hope to add Spanish as a second language to all grades,” Batts added.
Globally, having fluency in a second language not only better prepares students for the future, but allows them to be hand-in-hand when compared to other students across the nation.
The study of another language has been determined to lead to higher test scores on standardized tests, greater cognitive development in the areas of mental flexibility, creativity, divergent thinking and higher-order thinking skills, a broader English vocabulary, a better understanding of one’s own language and culture, and enhanced career opportunities.
“There is a known link between student achievement and knowledge of a second language,” Batts said.
Finalized details for the curriculum are still in the planning stages, but the new classes will be offered beginning in August when school returns for session. One teaching position is currently open at Butler Avenue School, while the L.C. Kerr position has been filled.
“Teaching a second language will allow us to be able to empower kids to gain a new perspective and insight into the language and the culture,” Erin Rady, K-5 curriculum coach, said. “This opportunity will have a deep impact on their academic world.”
According to Rady, learning a foreign language is just a small piece of a much larger global initiative. While learning the language, students will have the opportunity to learn about the Spanish culture.
Students who are Spanish speaking will attend the 45-minute resource class with their classmates, and just like a teacher must differentiate instruction in a Language Arts or math classroom, the teachers in the Spanish class will be required to differentiate for those students who are already fluent in Spanish.
“We are looking into materials that will allow us to teach on a higher level for those students who are already fluent in the language,” Batts explained.
Spanish as a second language came as an idea from the Clinton City Board of Education, who found local funding for both positions, therefore not requiring other positions to be cut to pay for the two teachers.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.