Thursday, October 30, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

School board cuts back German 1, Chinese 1 courses to alternating years

By
From page A1 | May 08, 2012 |

After a long and sometimes emotional discussion, the Davis school board voted Thursday night to convert Davis High School’s long-standing debate and yearbook classes into after-school clubs rather than regular classes.

Trustees also put German 1 and Chinese 1 into an alternating-year rotation, rather than offering both introductory language classes routinely every year. German 1 will be offered in the coming academic year, and Chinese 1 will be offered in 2013-14.

The board also voted to trim classes in driver’s education and math ideas.

The votes stemmed from a discussion about Davis High School courses with low enrollments, and the impetus to prune them from the master schedule was financial.

“We need to reduce one FTE (the equivalent of one full-time teaching position)” to keep the high school within its budget for the coming school year, Superintendent Winfred Roberson explained.

Several students and parents urged the school board not to make the cuts. Emma Kneusen, a member of the DHS debate team, described how the class helps students learn to “speak clearly and coherently — valued skills in the business world.”

Phil Glazer said the class provides “everyday practice,” and worried that such daily opportunities would not occur if the debate team meets after school as a club.

Stephanie Galasso, a 2008 graduate, told the board that she studied both German and Chinese, “and they are both beautiful and important languages.” She said she doesn’t like the idea of having them offered only every other year.

Katherine Unger described how her German studies in the 1980s led her to visit Germany, including a visit to what was then East Germany, on the other side of the Berlin Wall.

“My son has been waiting until he was old enough to take German, and there aren’t any other opportunities in the community (other than Davis High),” Unger said.

Several speakers spoke highly of their participation in the long-standing exchange program between Davis High and a high school in the German town of Wadern. The German American Partnership Program has been sending students back and forth between the two schools for nearly 30 years.

Ning Wan of the NewStar Chinese School, parent Rui Chen and others spoke of the value of teaching Mandarin Chinese, which is one of the world’s most widely used languages.

But Ingrid Salim, a science teacher at Davis High, warned that by retaining low-enrolled classes, there is a tradeoff in the form of packing even more students into other already crowded courses that are offered during the same time slot.

Trustee Sheila Allen noted that the high school is running some English classes with 40 students.

“I support world languages, but it is difficult with five languages, each offered at multiple levels, to get enough people selecting them” to sustain a class of 30 to 35 students, Allen said.

Added board president Susan Lovenburg, “I’m not sure we can support five languages (at Davis High), even in good times. And these are not good times.”

Trustee Richard Harris noted that low enrollment in some languages also impacts the class size of Spanish, the language most commonly studied by DHS students. Some Spanish sections have 37 students.

Trustee Tim Taylor worried that by offering German 1 and Chinese 1 in alternating years, a number of students will opt for Spanish, French or Japanese, rather than wait for German or Chinese.

“We might be setting (German and Chinese) up to fail. … It could send one of those languages into a death spiral” in terms of viability as a course at Davis High, Taylor worried.

He also was unhappy to learn that cutting back the German 1 and Chinese 1 courses to every other year would save only $15,000 — a small amount in a district budget that runs into the tens of millions of dollars.

But Taylor couldn’t convince the other four trustees to vote with him. He cast the sole “no” vote on a motion by Harris to adopt the staff recommendation.

Roberson said these courses could be brought back at some point in the future if the school district’s budgetary picture improves and there is sufficient student interest.

— Reach Jeff Hudson at jhudson@davisenterprise.net or (530) 747-8055.

Comments

comments

.

News

Meet Archer, Poppenga and Sunder

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
UCD prof will speak in Woodland

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Eichorn’s shredding event benefits STEAC

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
All voices welcome at sing-along

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Community forum devoted to returning military personnel

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Davis Media Access: Treasures from the vault get new life

By Autumn Labbe-Renault | From Page: A3

Kids ready to trick-or-treat for UNICEF

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Celebrate Day of the Dead on Sunday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Low-water landscape workshop planned

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Sending ‘Hugs from Home’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Yolo RCD welcomes new executive director

By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A5

Volunteers sought to advocate for kids

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Sudwerk Ultimator arrives with a vengeance

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

.

Forum

She has all the leverage

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Duo are the best-informed

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

Humble and hard-working

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Yes on 47 for our safety

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Something’s missing

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

This is a terrific trio

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Elect Poppenga to school board

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

.

Sports

Something’s got to give as Aggies host UNC

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Davis vs. Goliath: Devils travel to take on Grant

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1

DHS escapes with a Senior Night victory

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Aggies hope to turn Gauchos into net zombies

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

MVP Bumgarner leads Giants to World Series win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Aggie loss allows Gauchos to tie them for first

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

Warriors whip Kings in their season opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Youth roundup: Diamonds have a ball at Disco-Tech

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

JV/frosh roundup: Rio falls to DHS boys, who then take fifth at tourney

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Sports briefs: Double dip for Devil tennis team

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8

.

Features

What’s happening

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A10

 
College Corner: Going the honors route

By Jennifer Borenstein | From Page: A10

Chávez kids are movin’

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
.

Arts

Wineaux: Calming and curbing the crouching curmudgeon

By Susan Leonardi | From Page: A11

 
Hear Amplified DNA on Saturday at winery

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

Thursday Live! plans jazz and blues

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
DMTC plans ‘My Fair Lady’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

International Film Series continues with ‘Australia’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
DHS Madrigals host singing workshop

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

All are welcome at Fun Time Follies

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Thursday, October 30, 2014

By Creator | From Page: A9