February 27, 2014

Kuemper Catholic Schools will not offer Spanish classes for kindergarten through third grades next year.

This year, those students receive one 30-minute Spanish lesson per week. A review of the benefits, prompted by teacher Barb Hackfort's decision to retire, revealed a lack of educational return from the brief time Kuemper's youngest students study Spanish, said school system president Vern Henkenius.

Next year, Spanish instruction will begin in fourth grade, with fourth- and fifth-grade students receiving one 30-minute class per week. Sixth-grade students will continue to receive one 45-minute class every other day.

Seventh- and eighth-grade students will continue to receive one 30-minute class every day, but the school system will add one accelerated class offering for eighth-grade students.

The high school will continue to offer four levels of Spanish. Students who complete the eighth-grade accelerated class successfully will be able to enter Spanish 2 as freshmen.

According to Henkenius, roughly 95 percent of middle school students opt to take Spanish. Though more electives are offered at the high school level, Henekenius estimates that 75 percent of students continue learning Spanish during their freshman year of high school.