The school won a competitive grant program through the State Department’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs to host a Chinese language teacher as part of the 2013-14 Teachers of Critical Languages Program.
The program is in partnership with the American Councils for International Education organization, which coordinates the program, and is designed to help U.S. schools and districts expand specific foreign language education, including Mandarin Chinese.
Etowah High Principal Keith Ball said two Chinese I classes, which are open to about 60 students, will be taught by an exchange teacher from China provided through the State Department.
Students from neighboring Woodstock High School also have been invited to enroll in the classes.
Through the use of video-conferencing technology, Clark Creek Elementary School STEM Academy, which is part of the Etowah Zone, also will benefit. Students there will participate in weekly interactive classes with the exchange teacher to learn about Chinese culture and language.
With the addition of this program, Etowah High now offers four world languages: Chinese, French, German and Spanish.
“Etowah’s mission statement was our guiding light, as it charges us with producing productive community and global citizens,” Ball said as to why his staff pursued the grant. “I firmly believe that world languages and cultures are crucial to executing our mission with fidelity.”
Ball said applying for and winning the grant was “extremely demanding” and credited Assistant Principal for Curriculum Tonya Sebring and World Language Department Head Dr. Claudia Larrotta for making his vision a reality.
Cherokee County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank R. Petruzielo said the School District has a history of innovation in teaching and learning through projects funded by competitive grants.
“In these challenging financial times, we are focused on exploring new sources of revenue to further expand opportunities for our students and teachers to master greater knowledge, especially knowledge like the Chinese language, which will be crucial for our graduates, as they enter the global marketplace of today and tomorrow,” Petruzielo said. “Congratulations to Etowah High and to all of the students who will benefit from this partnership.”