French Language Instruction To Be Phased Out In Face of Declining Enrollment
Adieu le français! The Groton Dunstable school administration has announced that it will be phasing out French language instruction over the next year due to declining enrollment. Transition classes will be offered during the next school year for existing students, but the French language department will be eliminated altogether at the end of the 2018 school year. This leaves students with a total of two language choices: one spoken language (Spanish) and Latin.
As student enrollment has continued to decline at a six percent rate, French language classes have been declining at a rate of 25 percent. With scheduling currently underway for next year, it appeared that there would be a total of 50 students spread across five sections, several of which would have only for-five students enrolled. The School Committee has advised the administration to keep class sizes at 15-25 students to maximize efficiency as the overall student population shrinks.
Eighth grade students who selected French as a language, will be moved to Spanish. Ninth grade students will have to select Spanish or Latin for their High School classes. Existing High School French students will be offered one section each of French II and French III during the next school year so that they can complete their graduation requirements.
The administration will soon begin the search for a new spoken language offering. The process will involve surveying schools in the area to see what they are offering their students, as well as querying students in the Groton-Dunstable district to gauge their interest in various choices. Any replacement language instruction must be able consistently to draw 15 or more students at the various instruction levels to be a viable in the current environment.
One year ago the High School piloted a course in Mandarin Chinese funded by an external grant. The course was very popular with students, but was discontinued for budgetary reasons.