Foreign Language Requirements Increase

Parlez-Vous Français?


Aasif Allen

Good fortune: Junior Alexis Matthews listens to Chinese pronunciations while working in her online Mandarin Chinese course. Matthews said, “I like the online course because I get to learn at my own pace.”

Foreign language classes will be a graduation requirement, starting with the Class of 2016, said Patricia Yorke, Counseling Center Department Chair.

Freshmen, sophomores and all graduating classes thereafter will need two years of a foreign language on their transcripts, Yorke said.

“We wanted the students to be well-rounded and more prepared for college,” said Assistant Principal Sonia Jackson about the new requirement.

Sophomore Ian Patterson said he is fine with the new requirement: “The world is changing, and we need to learn more things, so it is good that foreign language is a requirement now.”

Students have a choice of taking Spanish or French in a classroom with a teacher or taking German or Mandarin Chinese in a computer lab as an online course, Yorke said.

Junior Janee Ruffins took a foreign language course even though it was not required: “It helps to have foreign language classes on your transcript because colleges like to see them,” Ruffins said. “Even though they weren’t a requirement (for juniors and seniors), people should still do them,” Ruffins said.

Junior Taylor Winslow said, “I believe that it should have been a requirement from the beginning. You never know when you will need to use another language. It is good to have that.”

Students who took a foreign language in the eighth grade can count that as one of their two required foreign language years, said Yorke. So then the student would only need one more year.

For graduation purposes, the two years can be taken in two different languages, but Yorke said colleges prefer both years in the same language.

Other graduation requirements include the following:

• four years of English

• four years of math

• three years of science

• one semester of Government

• one semester of Economics

• one semester of Civics

• American History and World History

• one semester of Health

• one semester of gym

• and the rest can be in elective courses but must add up to 22 credits in total.