Chinese, Spanish courses part of new plan

The Red Deer Public School District will consider adding second language courses in Mandarin-Chinese and Spanish and will expand its Bright Beginnings program as part of its three-year plan released this week.

The Red Deer Public School District will consider adding second language courses in Mandarin-Chinese and Spanish and will expand its Bright Beginnings program as part of its three-year plan released this week.

Superintendent Don Falk said he participated in a superintendent tour of China. The tour underscored for him the importance of having a Chinese second language program in the district in light of the impact the nation of China has on the world, including the economy and the large numbers of people who speak Mandarin-Chinese. He said schools, staff and parents have requested Spanish be considered as a second language offered in schools.

The district education plan was developed through consultation with students, school administration and the community and will run from 2009-2010 to 2011-2012.

“Student achievement still remains our number one priority,” said Bill Stuebing, chair of the Red Deer Public School District. “That is what it is really all about is ensuring that all of our children get the very best education that we can provide. So we have a variety of initiatives that focus on student achievement. In that context, we’re particularly putting attention on literacy and numeracy as part of that process.”

The district has plans to expand its Bright Beginnings program to Westpark and G.H. Dawe. The pre-kindergarten program is for students between age 3 and 5 who are identified with special needs or to be at risk of future learning disabilities.

The district will focus on success for First Nations, Métis and Inuit students by increasing the focus on academic achievement, collaborating with the community and parents and seeking to increasing the number of teachers and staff with an appreciation of aboriginal culture.

The district will also look at special education students continuing to move into more inclusive settings, and a strategy to develop school and district initiatives that promote improved levels of environmental responsibility.

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