News

Coupeville sans French?

Coupeville High School may eliminate French, but it has nothing to do with the United States’ current argument with France over Iraq.

Everett Winsberg teaches world languages at the school and wants to increase the focus on Spanish by offering a third year of instruction to students. But to do so, the school would have to eliminate its French program.

The proposal to cut French classes was brought to the Coupeville school board Monday evening. The board tabled it until next month when more information becomes available.

Winsberg said that offering a third year of Spanish would improve his students’ fluency.

“That’s where proficiency really gets firmed up,” Winsberg said.

He added that the additional exposure would be beneficial to students, considering the spread of Spanish-speaking people in the United States.

“The Hispanic population is an active and dynamic force within our society,” Winsberg said.

He added that the students would be more competitive in the job market and meet college entrance requirements.

According to the proposal submitted to the board, Winsberg argued that one language would also permit a better use of school resources and allow for the possibility of trips to Spanish-speaking countries.

There were some at Monday’s meeting who questioned the possible elimination of French class.

“As a small school, we don’t need to go in-depth — we need to give them exposure to different languages,” said Roberta Piercy, executive director of the Coupeville Arts Foundation.

She added that students could get more focused instruction if they go to college. She wanted more parent and student input before such a decision is made.

School board members tabled the issue for the same reason.

Phyllis Textor, principal at the middle school and high school, said she wanted the board to make a decision at the meeting. Delaying the decision could impact students’ plans for next year. She added that she will accommodate the board’s desire for more information.

In the coming month, school district officials will be talking to students and parents to gauge sentiment before considering the proposal at next month’s meeting.

You can reach News-Times reporter Nathan Whalen at nwhalen@whidbeynewstimes.com or 675-6611.

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