(TNS) – Carroll County Public Schools currently offers five world languages to high school students: American Sign Language, French, German, Latin and Spanish, but no students in the county have really the possibility of choosing among the five.
Francis Scott Key High School only offers Spanish, while Century and Manchester Valley High Schools each offer French and Spanish. Westminster High at one time offered all five, and currently offers the most: American Sign Language, German, Latin, and Spanish.
“It shouldn’t depend on their postcode [language classes students] can enroll in…” Amy Pritchett, assistant supervisor of world languages, told members of the Carroll County School Board at a meeting Jan. 12. “That led to the development of the idea of do the virtual option.”
At a recent Carroll County School Board meeting, Pritchett proposed adding a virtual learning option in which high school students could take world language lessons online, on school grounds. .
“Some schools only have one language and other schools have more than one language…it’s not a stand-alone position and the teacher often teaches two languages,” Pritchett told the school board members on January 12.
“This presents a challenge for our students because not all students, depending on the school they attend, have the option of choosing more than one language,” Pritchett said.
The school system requires students to complete two world language credits to graduate, unless they are enrolled in the Career and Technology Completion program.
Under the virtual option, Pritchett said, classes would be done online during the school day and no travel would be required for students or teachers.
Carroll County teachers would teach classes online following the county curriculum.
“It would allow a teacher to teach in their content area where they are an expert,” Pritchett said.
Pritchett said she hopes to expand the virtual model for high schools next year and colleges in the future.
“It would go a long way toward supporting the goal of creating global citizens,” Pritchard said.
School board member Donna Sivigny called the virtual option “great from an access standpoint.”
“I think it would really help strengthen access to additional options for our students and it wouldn’t be a problem with the number of children in a particular secondary school. … It’s a fantastic and creative way to give our students much more access to a varied curriculum,” said Sivigny.
School board member Tara Battaglia agreed that expanding the language offering was a good idea.
“We have learned to do virtual [learning] multiple ways and it’s a phenomenal way,” Battaglia said.
School board member Patricia Dorsey called the expansion of the language program “very exciting”.
“The need is there and we would really prepare our students with pathways to future employment,” Dorsey said.
Superintendent Steve Lockard informed school board members that the expansion of the World Languages program should be discussed further during the fiscal year 2023 operating budget planning process.
©2022 Carroll County Times (Westminster, Maryland). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.