OAKLAND CITY -- A Wood Memorial High School parent asked East Gibson school trustees Monday to look into issues with the high school Spanish curriculum.
WMHS Principal Kevin Smith addressed the same concerns. "As everybody knows, the Spanish program at the high school has been less than what we had desired this year."
Smith said the original Spanish instructor took family medical leave earlier in
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the school year, and a retired instructor contracted afterward fell ill to the point of hospitalization.
He said in the interim, officials have conducted Spanish courses online on Plato Edmentum, which has yielded mixed results with some students adapting to the online coursework and some struggling.
Smith said all avenues of attempting to find a Spanish teacher have yielded "zero interest" in the position, but officials will still try to find an instructor.
"I don't want to beat a dead horse, but everyone in education knows that finding Spanish teachers is practically impossible," said Superintendent Henry Brewster. Finding teachers in general, not just Spanish, is becoming more of a problem, Brewster added.
Smith said one solution may include Ivy Tech Spanish courses taught at Wood Memorial as dual credit, both for high school and college.
He said the optimal version of such courses would see an adjunct Ivy Tech professor teaching students at Wood Memorial.
Rebecca Frederick said her son is not learning anything in his first high school Spanish course. "I know several parents who have concerns with this," she said.
Frederick said her son plans to graduate with honors, and needs a high grade-point average to do so. His current grade in the course is a B at 85 percent, she said. He earned this grade for the first grading period of the course, but Frederick said she saw no grades on the only web-based resource she knew to check, Powerschool.
"I like this school," she said. She and her husband graduated from Wood Memorial High School and she plans for her son to follow suit.
"I'm not looking for an answer right now, but I would like someone to please work on it for me and get back to me," Frederick said.
Smith directed Frederick to a different grade resource, Edmentum, which he said is more current and has information that is not transferred to Powerschool.
"Hopefully we get a Spanish teacher next year," Frederick said. "Hopefully this person understands that these kids are not going to be at a second-year level."
"The individual we hire, or if Ivy Tech comes in -- they are going to reteach and bridge Spanish 1" for students who were at a disadvantage this year, Smith said. The teacher's willingness to reteach Spanish 1 will be a hiring requirement, Smith added.
"As far as your complaints, it's unacceptable," Smith agreed. "And if people want someone to blame, you can point them to me."