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Dexter High School Will End German Program Beginning 2013-2014 School Year

Students can take French or Spanish to fulfill their foreign language requirements beginning next year.

Editor's note: This article was republished with permission from the Dexter High School Squall.

By Scott Rogers

Dexter High School Squall

As a result of declining enrollment in German classes during the past few years, German 1 will no longer be offered at Dexter High School beginning in the 2013-14 school year.

Principal Kit Moran said he made an administrative decision that the German program is no longer sustainable.

"I'm not making the decision because I don't like German," he said. "It's just that, when people don't take the classes, we stop offering them."

Moran added that without students enrolled in German 1, it is unlikely that any other German classes will last long.

"It's probably going to be the end of the German program," he said.

Unlike DHS, Mill Creek Middle School will retain the German 1 class for the 2013-14 year, to accommodate a group of seventh grade students who are currently taking a German enrichment class.

Moran said that these students were promised that they would have the chance to take German 1, however 2013-14 will be the last year German is offered at Mill Creek as well.

In addition, every student enrolled in the German program will be able to finish. Students beginning their two-year foreign language requirement will now have the choice between only Spanish and French, however.

DHS Junior German student Kourtney Koch is enrolled in German IV, and said she was upset when she heard German would be eliminated from the curriculum.

"Cutting out the German class would be taking away an opportunity for kids with a German heritage to learn a language that members of their family know how to speak," Koch, who has been in the German program since eighth grade, said.

"I like the aspect of learning a foreign language, especially a language that runs in my family," she said.

Rumors appeared on social networking sites such as Twitter that the German program is being shut down in part due to the International Baccalaureate Programme's growth, since there are no IB German classes offered, something Koch thinks has some truth to it.

"I don't think that IB is the main reason, but I think it's unfair to cut German when there are so few kids in IB," Koch said.

But Moran said there's no relation between IB's growth and the German program ending.

"German had this problem before," Moran said. "Even if we had an IB German class, numbers would still be going down."

Moran also said enrollment in German classes started declining years ago, and that the conversation to end German began years ago, before DHS had an IB programme.

He also said from his point of view, no student will be directly affected by the end of the German program. Students will simply have fewer choices when it comes to choosing a foreign language.

German teacher Katherine Schmid, on the other hand, said she will be significantly affected by this move. She said she was saddened when she was told German would be eliminated.

Schmid will continue to teach German until it is no longer available, and will transition to teaching English classes afterwards.

As far as IB goes, Schmid said there has been some tension since no IB German classes have been offered in the IB programme. However she said she does not believe IB was the main reason for the dropping numbers in German or the end of the program.

"I don't have a clear answer," she said. "The decision was based on many factors."

Schmid also said her primary concern is not about the blame or even about her own future. She is concerned about students not being able to learn a language that she considers important and beautiful.

"Study of a world language is very important, and having options is very important," she said. "It worries me that we're heading in a direction of only offering Romance languages."

German has been a large part of Schmid's life, and teaching it has been something she very much enjoys, and she said it will be hard for her when the program ends.

"Some of my best friends in my life (I met) through German," she said. "I met my husband because I could speak German. I have every one of my teaching jobs because I could speak German, and I really like teaching kids German."

To read more stories like this, visit www.thesquall.com.

Tom Varitek February 04, 2013 at 08:21 PM
Sad news. My kids were looking forward to taking German. As newcomers to the area, I can honestly say that the option of three or more languages at the jr. high and high school level drew us to this district.
Bill Seaton February 04, 2013 at 11:10 PM
Ich bin, dass deutsche Sprache eingestellt wird - sehr unglücklich für einige Studenten so traurig. I feel that German more readily learned than Spanish or French.
Barb Bradley February 04, 2013 at 11:33 PM
Agreed. Very sad indeed. Both my sons went through 4 years of the German program at DHS, one of them went on and got a major in German at UM. I hate to see this excellent program end.
Laura Jones February 05, 2013 at 03:21 AM
Interesting choice of language to drop. German is far more useful than French in both math and science disciplines and in the Global business economy, especially the automotive industry. French used to be the international language, but has been replaced by English for some time now and therefore has lost a lot of usefulness. I wonder how the choice of which one to drop was made? Popularity? German is, for sure, more difficult to learn.
lgm February 05, 2013 at 03:21 PM
I agree with Laura. For those interested in engineering and technology, German is much more useful. I am thankful that my son was able to get into the program before it is totally gone. I was hoping that Dexter would add languages, not take them away. Parents were asked to fill out a survey a few years ago, as to which new languages they would like to see added to the program. I wonder what ever happened to that.
Fort Mackinac February 07, 2013 at 03:37 AM
Another valuable academic program becomes a victim of the school board's inability to control it's budget. A very sad and embarrassing day indeed for this great community, settled by Germans, to drop one of the dominant world languages from its schools.

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