Some advanced foreign languages classes unavailable this year


hand drawn effect type spelling Language and various language education related concepts

Caitlin Connell

Several foreign languages, including Spanish 4 and French 5/5H, are not being offered this year at MVHS, a contrast to their availability in the past.

Madame Gres, a French teacher of 12 years and former Head of the Department of World Language, explained the process of which classes show up for the school year.

“Both classes, Spanish 4 regular and French 5 and 5 honors have not been cut from the catalog but they are just not offered this year because there weren’t enough people,” Gres said.

These classes still showed up on the course selection sheet in May, but are not offered for the 2015-2016 school year due to the few number of students who signed up for the class. The Department of World Languages’ budget also contributes to the classes availability.

One example of the lack of student interest is the French 5 Honors class. Despite its appearance on the catalog for class registration, the French 5 H class has not been successful in attracting the necessary number of student sign-ups for the past several years.  

“The District Office frowns upon classes that are not 20 students or more,” Gres said.

This is partially because a smaller class size would still take up a whole period while also detracting from the allotted World Language Department budget.

“[If there are] only 15 students signing up for a class, usually it’s not going to be a go… Some students might drop or move or their schedule is too busy and then it becomes a class of 12,” Gres said.

This also happened in 2013-2014 with the Spanish 4 class.

“Spanish 4 started with 20 students signed up. This quickly dropped down to 16. Last year, it started higher and dropped to 14. There was 16 students signed up this year,” Gres said.

This would be an inefficient class size.

“[They] lose 4-5 [they’d] have a class of 11 or 10,” Gres said.

This data shows how regular [non-AP or honors] class sizes in Spanish and French are not as popular as the AP Spanish/French classes, which have continued to remained consistent.

If students want to take a higher level foreign language but do not necessarily want to take an AP or honors course, they are able to request it in May. Classes change based on students’ demand; unlike other core classes, a smaller amount of students reach the higher foreign languages. Many of them may want to challenge themselves with honors or AP classes. These combined can prevent classes like Spanish 4 and French 5 from becoming classes.

“[They] would help my friend meet language requirements,” junior Samantha Hamilton said.

This year, French 5 and 5 honors are not offered, giving students only the choice of French 4 AP.

“A lot of students really love level 4 and the students don’t have the pressure [of an AP class.] We can focus on different areas and not worry about the AP [test] in May,” Gres said.

Señora McElaney, a Spanish teacher of 21 years, said, “It’s a community and the chance to speak Spanish and to just practice and be exposed to a little more.”

Senior Stefi Leite was a student in Spanish 4 last year who didn’t take AP Spanish.

“ I didn’t want to have a hard schedule,” Leite said.