Mokena SD 159 to offer Spanish again
Mokena School District 159 will return Spanish language classes to its curriculum next school year without additional cost to the district.
Supt. Steve Stein said the retirements of three elementary school teachers will allow the district to hire a full-time Spanish teacher for Mokena Junior High School. Because of declining enrollment, only two of the retirees have to be replaced at the elementary level, he said.
Stein said the No. 1 question asked on a parent survey about changes made “during tumultuous times” when a budget deficit required significant cuts was, “Why did Spanish have to go from the junior high?”
The Spanish classes have been based on the freshman-level classes in Lincoln-Way Community High School District 210, and eighth-graders who passed a District 210 Spanish exam entered Lincoln-Way East as second-year Spanish students.
Mokena Junior High School Principal Mike Rolinitis said dropping Spanish was “a disservice” to students.
“We are the only Lincoln-Way feeder school that does not offer Spanish,” Rolinitis said.
He said about 100 students a year took Spanish before it was dropped in 2011. He anticipates three or four classes of about 30 students each will take the class.
Rolinitis said the district would need to act quickly to hire because of a shortage of qualified Spanish teachers coming out of college these days.
“The sooner we post (the position), the sooner we can get interviews,” he said.