Janesville62.8°

Janesville School District decides to drop Deutsch

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
January 7, 2012
— City middle school students now taking German language classes will have to switch to French, Spanish or Chinese next fall.

High school students taking German this year will be able to continue through German 4, according to documents requested by The Gazette.


The change is because of declining enrollments in German classes, said Kim Ehrhardt, director of curriculum for the Janesville School District.


A half-time German teacher will no longer be needed after this school year, but Ehrhardt said the district probably wonít save money because students will chose other languages, and that could mean another teacher would be needed in Spanish or French, for example.


Potential costs savings were mentioned in district documents, however.


Itís also been hard to find a teacher to fill the half-time position in middle school German, Ehrhardt said.


The district this year hired a non-certified German teacher for the half-time job, documents indicate.


Janesville School District administration decided Dec. 13 to phase out German. The school board was informed of the move Dec. 22. Middle school parents were sent a letter this week.


No other phase-outs or course eliminations are contemplated, Ehrhardt said. However, other courses could be canceled for next year if not enough students sign up for them.


Students sign up this month for next yearís courses.


School board approval is not required to phase out German. Board policy 6230 requires board approval only when curricular changes would mean the addition or reduction of 1.5 or more staff members.


The last time the district phased out a language was in the 1990s. The language was Latin.


Mandarin Chinese is offered in two of the cityís 12 elementary schools and two of the three middle schools.


The current Chinese program started in 2009 in grades 3-5 at Harrison and Roosevelt elementary schools, although there was limited Chinese instruction as early as 2007.


The board has allowed Chinese to expand into Marshall and Edison middle schools as Chinese-language students moved into higher grades.


Foreign language enrollment

Current enrollment in French, German and Spanish in Janesville public schools:


Middle schools


Spanish: 782


French: 243


German: 121


High schools


Spanish: 1,399


French: 340


German: 107



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