Okemos schools looking to enhance foreign language learning opportunities

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By Andrew Merkle
Ingham County Chronicle Staff Reporter

OKEMOS — At a recent Okemos Public Schools board meeting, Deputy Superintendent Patricia Telstad presented to the rest of the board recommendations for introducing foreign language learning opportunities.

Telstad even recommended a partnership with Michigan State University’s Center for Language Teaching and Advancement in order to provide foreign language learning at the elementary school level.

“We want to increase world language options, especially at the elementary level,” Telstad said.

The Center for Language Teaching and Advancement is the internal support unit for language learning and teaching at Michigan State University according to the school’s College of Arts and Letters.

One of the options Telstad outlined was an exploratory program for students in kindergarten up to the fourth grade that could take place either before or after school, and as an activity on early release days.

Board member Vincent Lyon-Callo had some inquiries about the time of day these new foreign language opportunities would be made available to students and who might be left out because of that.

“It’s important we don’t exclude any students from these opportunities just because of the time of day that they are offered,” Lyon-Callo said.

Lyon-Callo also mentioned offering American Sign Language as an elective course for students to enroll in as well.

There are a number of proposed sinking fund redevelopment options facing the Board during the 2016-2017 school year. These projects include: laying asphalt at the transportation building and parking lot, replacing carpet at Okemos High School, Edgewood and Cornell Elementary Schools as well as Kinawa and Chippewa Middle Schools and new roofing, as well as other projects.

Director of Operation Steve Lathrop presented to the board these projects and necessary funding.

“We’ll seek bids on the proposed projects and bring them back to the Board for action,” Lathrop said.

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