New Language and Technology Classes Coming to Middle and High School
At Monday night’s meeting the East Lansing Board of Education approved three new high school courses and one new course for MacDonald Middle School students.
At the high school, world language teachers have long sought a way to continue language instruction into a sixth year for students eager to continue their Spanish and French instruction before college, said French teacher Kim Floyd.
Since East Lansing begins language instructions in seventh grade, students can complete all five levels of a language by the end of their junior year and often seek another course for their senior year, Floyd said. There are few other options for those students, as Lansing Community College doesn’t offer any higher-level language and Michigan State University charges full tuition for their courses.
“We are constantly asked by students and parents what can be done next,” Floyd said. “These are students who love languages and want to have a major or minor in college.”
The solution came to language instructor Rachel Gehres when she found a course called “Careers in Spanish” that works with students on how to use their chosen language in a career path. The course discusses ways to use a second language in conjunction with careers in legal/law, health care, information technology and business.
“This opens their eyes to all the different sort of careers available through languages,” Floyd said.
Both “Careers in French” and “Careers in Spanish” will be offered to seniors, following unanimous approval by the Board.
“I feel like we should have a class like this for a lot of things,” said Trustee Nichole Martin. “I am really excited for this specifically so they have distinct ideas of what to do into and how to utilize these languages.”
In technology, teacher Chris Dehaan has proposed two new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) courses – one each for the high school and middle school.
The high school offering would be “Foundations of Digital Design and Processing” that would take advantage of new technology that the school was able to purchase through a grant including a 3D printer, laser cutter and routers, Dehaan said.
The middle school course, “App Design and Development,” would run parallel with the extremely popular “Video Game Design” course and allow students to create apps on an Android platform that they could publish in the Google Play store, Dehaan said.
Both courses were unanimously approved.
“For a couple years in a row now, you’ve have put a lot of time into putting together new courses,” said Board President Erin Graham. “Obviously it is easier to just keep teaching the same old thing but that is not what our students need. I appreciate your dedication to serving all our students at East Lansing schools.”