According to Dr. Jon Voss, Academic Program Supervisor for District 287, there are about 200 students enrolled in Chinese this year. Students from Westonka, Orono, and Waconia are taught by an itinerant teacher, while Milaca, Hutchinson, Montevideo, New London-Spicer, Yellow Medicine East, Kenyon-Wanamingo, Zumbrota-Mazeppa receive instruction by ITV.
Eden Prairie has about 150 students enrolled in American Sign Language (ASL) taught by an itinerant ASL instructor.
We also are piloting a German Advanced Studies course in Northern Star Online (NSO) this year. The course is for students who have gone through the German Immersion School and are looking for continuing studies.
Japanese has the most students enrolled this year in Edina, Robbinsdale Armstrong, Shakopee with an itinerant teacher; Cambridge-Isanti students receive instruction by ITV.
Edina High School (EHS) recently received a grant from the Japan Foundation to retain Japanese language instruction for EHS students. The $16,000 grant covers the cost of a Japanese language teacher, allowing EHS to continue its introductory level language class. Dr. Voss took the lead in pursuing the grant for EHS.
“As a district, we work with our member districts to provide quality education and programs for students,” said Voss. “We have been researching specific cases where certain classes and programs need to get started or maintain their status and Edina’s situation with its Japanese class was at the top of the list.”
Japanese instructor Naomi Satoh is very appreciative of the grant and the ability to continue teaching students about the language and culture of Japan.
“I am very happy about the grant and also to be able to welcome another group of bright and enthusiastic Japanese 1 students this year,” said Satoh.
On November 1 the Japanese Consul will visit Edina High School to formally award a grant and present a check to Edina High School from the Japan Foundation to retain Japanese language instruction for EHS students. The $16,000 grant covers the cost of a Japanese language teacher, allowing EHS to continue its introductory level.
“The reality was that with increased class sizes and annual budget challenges, there was a real possibility that we weren’t going to be able to offer the introductory class in Japanese instruction to our students anymore,” said Assistant Principal for EHS Eric Nelson. “Each course in a modern language needs to meet a minimum enrollment in order to sustain the cost of providing the class.”
For students like Myles Murphy, a sophomore at EHS, that would not have aligned with his future plans.
“I’ve always been interested in the Japanese culture,” said Murphy. “By the end of high school I hope to be fluent in Japanese and be able to hold an entire conversation with someone.”
Many students, including Murphy, have taken a liking to the class and have encouraged their friends to fill a few open seats. In addition to having a lot of fun learning the language and immersing himself in the culture, Murphy said his future career plans hinge on the ability to take this introductory class.
“I want to become a Japanese translator,” said Murphy. “I’ve heard there is a high demand for Japanese translators in the business world and this would be the perfect job for me.”
As the World Language Program continues to expand, digital content is used in both classroom and online settings. Students make video and audio recordings, leave messages on Google voice, participate in web conferences, practice writing on websites, and learn to use alternative character keyboards on the computer. Collapse this story