It’s Spring Conference time! As I prepare for this “transition” conference (discussing next year’s placements with parents and students), I’m reminded of how outstanding our school district’s World Languages Department is. Our fearless leader, Janice Gullickson, has worked tirelessly to keep World Languages alive and thriving in Anchorage. We have multiple K-12 partial immersion programs (Spanish, Japanese, Russian, German), Spanish and Chinese FLES programs, and multiple language offerings at all secondary schools (click here to see an overview). Today, in particular, I realized that I have been taking for granted one of Janice’s brainchilds.
In our district, students that take two years of a World Language in middle school (7th and 8th grade) AND continue their study for at least their 9th grade year are eligible to receive one bonus “incentive” credit on their high school transcript, as long as the student earns a C or better in level II of the language. This has an ENORMOUS impact on enrollment in my program. Parents and students alike are more eager to begin language study–since it is an elective here–and to continue it throughout their middle school career. Counselors are very hesitant to allow students to drop a World Language because of the benefit, and they will not make a schedule change without teacher consent and parent approval. Learn more about the incentive credit here. If students continue their language study and complete Level III, they receive a half-credit Social Studies exemption, since they will have theoretically learned a great amount of geography, history, and culture while studying a language.
If you are interested in learning more about how our department established the program, please let me know, and I can put you in contact with Janice!