- Associated Press - Saturday, April 22, 2017

CLEAR LAKE, Iowa (AP) - A French program at a high school in northern Iowa has been flourishing despite a series of reductions and threats of elimination in recent years.

Instructor Sara Gutierrez told the Globe Gazette (https://bit.ly/2pDsUuN ) that 125 students currently are enrolled in six sections of the four-year program at Clear Lake High School. Nearly 15 of the students are in French IV, the most advanced level.

Gutierrez says Clear Lake High School is the only school in the area that offers French, and that it’s uncommon for a district its size - 1,200 students this academic year - to offer two languages.

“I think if students have some sort of say in what they’re learning they take more responsibility for their learning,” Gutierrez said.

The French program has been on the chopping block several times due to budget issues, Gutierrez said. A $150,000 donation from Clear Lake resident Marcia Connell, who is now deceased, ensured the program would continue in 2008-09 after being slated for reduction.



French then was scheduled to be phased out. Gutierrez only had 10 French IV students before French I resumed with nearly 30 students in 2013-14.

Senior Emily VanderPloeg was one of the students who began taking French that year. She said she believes French classes draw students to the high school.

Originally faced with more than a half million in budget cuts for 2015-16, the district considered cutbacks to French again, but the program weathered reductions.

“If (cuts) had happened, I would have been really sad, because I wanted to finish my learning and would have been sad other people wouldn’t have had the option for it,” said Bailey Goldberg, a junior.

___

Information from: Globe Gazette, https://www.globegazette.com/

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide