Discovery School replacing Spanish program
Arizona Republic
May 27, 2008


Meghan E. Moravcik

Students at Discovery Elementary School will have an opportunity to study Spanish under a new program that replaces an old, flawed one.
The old Discovery dual-language program had several problems. Students couldn't enter the program after first grade, so class sizes became too small in the higher grades. And state officials determined the program had various violations, including the type of testing that was conducted, the type of funds that were supporting the program and the inclusion of a handful of English-language learners.
So Glendale Elementary School District officials began looking for a new program that would meet state requirements and still offer opportunities for students wanting to learn to speak Spanish.
Under the new Spanish-language enrichment program, students in Grades 1-8 who participate will have 40 minutes each day of Spanish instruction. Students can enter the program at any grade level, and junior-high students will have an opportunity to earn high school credit by participating.
The program will follow the state standards for foreign language and the district will hire a highly qualified teacher to develop the curriculum.
"This gives us a lot more flexibility," Superintendent Sandra Johnson said. "It has just some great opportunities, and our parents have been wonderful and supportive and really wanted this."
Although the program is offered only at Discovery, Johnson said the district has considered expanding the program to other schools. For now, students who are not in the Discovery attendance area and want to attend the school can apply for open enrollment and will be admitted as long as there is space.
The district governing board approved the new program at a recent meeting. Costs will include the teacher's salary, hourly pay over the summer for the teacher to develop the curriculum, and books and materials for the higher grades.