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posted: 2/1/2014 8:00 AM

Kaneland considering middle-school Spanish

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The Kaneland school district is considering offering Spanish as a foreign language at Harter Middle School.

The school board will discuss a proposal when it meets at 7 p.m. Monday at Harter, 1601 Esker Drive, Sugar Grove.

Before 2009, the middle school offered a nine-week exploratory class in Spanish. That was eliminated when the district was making budget cuts due to the recession.

But student interest in taking a foreign language is high, according to a survey of incoming seventh- and eighth-grade parents. The high school curriculum has gotten tougher, and studies show the earlier a second language is learned, the better -- two more reasons an ad hoc committee is recommending starting Spanish instruction in middle school.

Students who would take two years of Spanish, in seventh and eighth grades, would finish the high school's Spanish I class and be eligible to start Spanish II as freshmen. It would be an elective course.

The committee estimated it would take the equivalent of one to two full-time teachers to implement a Spanish program, depending on enrollment; enrollment also would determine the cost of the program.

It would take about $15,000 to buy study materials to start with seventh-graders in the first year, according to a memo to the board, and it would cost about $50,000 to pay a teacher.

If the board decides to add Spanish, administrators would finalize the costs and present the matter for a formal vote in March.

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