ShareThis Page
First-, second-graders now taking Spanish |

First-, second-graders now taking Spanish

| Thursday, October 7, 2004 12:00 a.m

First- and second-graders in Mt. Lebanon are taking to new foreign language classes like a pato to agua .

That’s a duck to water.

The Mt. Lebanon School District began offering Spanish classes this year in the two grades, and teachers, parents and students say they are a hit.

“She loves it,” Nancy Rosinger said of her daughter, Rachel, a second-grader at Hoover Elementary School. “She’s so excited when it’s Spanish day.”

Ultimately, all the elementary school students will be able to take foreign language classes. Parents petitioned the board for the classes, which they called necessary to keep children competitive.

The board planned to include the program in this year’s budget, dropped it to save money after a tax increase was announced and then added it back into the budget because of parents’ pressure.

The school board ultimately approved a 2.6-mill tax increase, with 0.7 mills for new programs, including the foreign language program.

The owner of a home assessed at $150,000 is paying an additional $390 in property taxes to the district this year because of the 2.6-mill increase.

Two teachers have been hired, said Nancy Campbell, language supervisor for the district, and ultimately, there will be seven teachers for the program.

Carola Benincasa was one of the parents who lobbied for elementary foreign language classes. Benincasa, a former international saleswoman and chairwoman of the Foreign Language Club at Lincoln Elementary School, said that most of the districts around Mt. Lebanon already have elementary foreign language classes.

Previously, every school in the district had a foreign language club that would meet at lunch, but it didn’t afford enough time for students to retain what they learned, Rosinger said.

Patty Lowe, who teaches at Jefferson elementary and middle schools, said the younger the student, the easier it is to pick up a foreign language. Benefits of a foreign language include awareness of other cultures and improvements in other fields — such as math, English and problem-solving, Lowe said.

“Simply put, it’s good for children,” Lowe said at a presentation for parents last week.

Students have 50 minutes of Spanish instruction a week, Campbell said. In third, fourth and fifth grades, when those grades are added, students will have 75 minutes a week. In all grades, the time is split into 25-minute lessons.

Ultimately, when the elementary curriculum is added in its entirety, the middle school and high school curricula will have to be adjusted, as well, Campbell said.

“It’s forcing everybody to learn,” Superintendent Marge Sable said.

Categories: News
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.