Foreign language classes gain momentum at Warsaw Community Schools

By Dan Spalding
News Now Warsaw

WARSAW — A new study shows that fewer college students are taking foreign language courses, but that’s not the case with students at Warsaw Community High schools.

The local school district’s embrace of dual language immersion, started eight years ago, has set the stage on a path for the district to become a leader in the state, according to district superintendent Dr. David Hoffert.

Eventually, roughly 20 percent of graduating students will be fully fluent in Spanish, Hoffert said.

The program begins with students in early elementary grades and the first students in the program are now in seventh grade.

Indiana News Service reports the Modern Language Association survey found fewer students in college chose to study languages other than English between 2016 and 2021.

Nationally, enrollment dropped 17 percent during the same period, and the impact in Indiana is far greater.

That trend is not the case in WCS.

Hoffert said an emphasis on learning a foreign language in early education will build a stronger foundation.

“We feel like we’re helping our students get a leg up, really, for their future careers,” Hoffert said.

He sees significant benefits for those wanting to enter the local orthopedic field and for the community as a whole.

“We get so many calls every single day asking or translators … we’re looking forward to some o the internships that these kids will have in just a few years,” Hoffert said.

Hoffert made the comments during a taping of In the Know, the public affairs show you can hear several times over the upcoming weekend.

Other subjects discussed on the show included the school calendar, which has seen increased popularity with the fall break arrangement, the growing use of the Performing Arts Center and growing concerns with a spike in absenteeism.