Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hablas español? Rural Virginia school chosen to test innovative online foreign language class

Highland County High School, located in the least populated county in Virginia, faced budget cuts last year that forced the school, which has about 100 students, to eliminate several positions, including the foreign language teacher. That made the school an unlikely but perfect place for the Virginia Department of Education to unveil a prototype Tuesday for online language classes, David Kaplan reports for WDBJ in Roanoke. Virginia students will be the first in the country to use the program, which will be introduced into classes in the fall.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia Wright told Kaplan, "Student's don't always have the same opportunities in these localities as they have in other places." Highland County Principal April Goff said, "We had to reduce our force last year, and we lost our live foreign language teacher. So this online is the only opportunity our students have to earn that advanced diploma and to get their exposure to world languages." (Read more)

Courses for beginning, intermediate and advanced Spanish will be available through the education department's Virtual Virginia online learning program, reports The Associated Press. "Wright says the courses are expected to be especially popular in rural school divisions around Virginia. The courses are based on a nationally recognized series developed by John Conner, a long-time Spanish teacher and current dean of faculty at Groton School in Massachusetts. (Read more)

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