Tri-Village News

Stevenson will offer foreign-language courses

District decides on new classes in response to parent survey; details await board discussion


The Grandview Heights City School District plans to implement a foreign-language program next fall at Stevenson Elementary School.

Superintendent Ed O'Reilly made the announcement at the Oct. 15 school board meeting.

A number of parents who responded to the district's parent survey last year indicated they wanted to see foreign-language lessons given to elementary students, O'Reilly said.

The details of the size and scope of the program still are to be determined, he said.

The scope could be limited give an already-full schedule at Stevenson and the demands on students and teachers, O'Reilly said.

Cost also would be a consideration.

"Even though you don't think of it as costly, you are talking about (bringing in) someone able to do this," he said. "You're starting to talk about the number of (full-time equivalent staff members) to support the program.

"There are a wide variety of (elementary-level) foreign-language programs in Ohio, ranging from no program to a full immersion," O'Reilly said.

Districts that have been contacted indicated the outcomes and goals for their programs range from teaching basic vocabulary to producing fluent speakers by middle school, he said.

As Grandview designs a program, it will be important to consider what the desired outcomes are and to make sure the goals are realistic based on current expected outcomes of students and teachers, O'Reilly said.

Learning a foreign language at a young age will increase students' reading fluency in their own language, he said.

"It's very important that we prepare our students to compete in a global world," O'Reilly said.

Understanding other cultures and languages is a part of that, he said.

O'Reilly said he expects to bring the board a proposed plan in the spring for starting the elementary program.