The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

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District 128 discontinues Chinese program

Colleen Mullins
Students who signed up for the Chinese program during the 2017-18 school year had to find an additional class to take in place of Chinese.

After receiving course requests for the 2017-18 school year, District 128 decided to discontinue the Chinese program due to low numbers signed up for the course.

Students enrolled in the course for next school year received a letter explaining why the district made the decision to cut Chinese from course selection.

This school year, Chinese I and Chinese II Honors were combined, as well as Chinese III Honors and Chinese IV Honors. Freshman Maeve Rattin, a Chinese I student, said that Chinese teacher Ms. Lu Qing Zhao splits up the class to deal with combined classes: “There’s a lot more independent work than work with the teacher. She’ll talk to Chinese I and teach us stuff for half of the time and then give us an assignment to work on. And then she’ll talk to Chinese II about what they’re learning while we’re working on our independent assignment.”

Only 19 students registered for the course next school year, which is lower than the minimum number needed to continue the course, so the district concluded that the Chinese program at both Libertyville High School and Vernon Hills High School should be discontinued.

Junior Julian Bok is an AP Chinese student and is feeling “a mix of shock and disappointment, mainly because Chinese is a very unique language to learn and it’s disappointing because incoming students don’t have the opportunity to learn a different culture that they may not have learned before.”

Low numbers in the Chinese program are not new to LHS; classes have been combined in past years and the enrollment rate has been decreasing. When Bok was a freshman, Chinese I and II were separate class periods while Chinese III, IV, and AP Chinese were combined. Bok recalls Chinese I and II declining in number while the upper levels were consistent from year to year.

Mrs. Jennifer Goettsche, supervisor of international languages at LHS, explained that there weren’t enough students to make a combined class again next year. A very small amount of students registered for Chinese I next year, meaning in later years, the upper-level classes would have a low student number as well.

In place of the course at school, students will be offered online courses paid for by the district to continue to grow and understand the Chinese language. The online courses differ by level and are solely for students who have already taken a Chinese class through District 128 during the 2016-2017 school year.

“The district is paying for a two-year section so if [the students] were in Chinese I this year, they’ll actually get Chinese II, III, and then AP if they want,” explained Mrs. Goettsche. “We want to support them and give them the opportunity to finish out their sequence.”

There will be tests and finals on the online course, as well as interactive and speaking activities. To prevent cheating, students will have to sit with a teacher at school while taking the online tests. Mrs. Goettsche said that if it’s possible, the school will try to get all of the students who signed up for Chinese next year into the same study hall so they can work on the online course.

Rattin said that she is going to take the online course: “I am taking the online class because I don’t want to waste a year of Chinese and start a whole new language again…I already did a whole year of Chinese and I want four foreign language credits in one class. I don’t want colleges to see I had one year of Chinese and I dropped it and then started another class. I don’t want colleges to see that; I want them to see that I could stick to something for four years and continue it.”

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The student news publication of Libertyville High School
District 128 discontinues Chinese program