Testimony on behalf of the Whitman Cluster suggests that MCPS introduce more language instruction in elementary schools since research shows that language acquisition is easier at early ages. Are there plans to expand foreign language instruction offerings in elementary and middle schools?
Due to budgetary constraints, expansion of foreign language offerings at the elementary school level has not been possible. The expansion of foreign languages offerings at the elementary school level would require the following:
- Budgeting additional funds for staffing and for the development of a K–5 foreign language curriculum
- Developing a clear K–12 articulation (with possible multiple entry points) as well as a corresponding scope and sequence
- Deciding which language(s) to offer at which elementary schools
- Identifying and hiring highly qualified foreign language teachers
Allocating resources to support implementation of foreign language at the elementary level would require a significant investment by the district. MCPS does offer a robust foreign language program at the middle school level. The following languages are offered throughout the county at the middle school level: Chinese, French, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, and Spanish for Spanish Speakers. Middle and high school course offerings are based on student interest and sustainability of the program. World Languages course offerings at the middle school level have increased in recent years. This year alone, there are two new French programs (Col. E. Brooke Lee and Sligo middle schools), two new Italian programs (William H. Farquhar and A. Mario Loiederman middle schools), two new Spanish for Spanish Speakers programs (John T. Baker and Forest Oak middle schools), and one new Japanese program at Newport Mill Middle School.