Madison City Schools to Launch Foreign Language Instruction in Early Elementary Grades

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MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) – “Empowering Students for Global Success.” That’s the vision statement of Madison City Schools. It’s also the basis for curriculum decisions that are intended to do just that.

The Madison City Board of Education and Schools Superintendent Dr. Dee Fowler are developing a new curriculum goal to build on the district’s success and take it to even greater heights.

Launching introductory foreign language instruction in early elementary grades and strengthening gifted/enrichment programs are among the initiatives. Others include providing summer math programs, emphasizing vertical and horizontal teaming to ensure class-to-class and grade-to-grade advancement without large learning gaps, and  partnering with research and management system experts to organize student data for easier analysis.

The school district will use the Alabama College and Career Readiness Standards as a “launching pad” to elevate all students to their highest level. Madison Schools will build on those standards to design a curriculum that challenges students at all learning levels from the challenged to the gifted and all those in between.

“We know from our research the younger we can introduce a foreign language to our students, the better the likelihood of them taking that language and embracing it,” say Madison City School Superintendent Dee Fowler.

The foreign language classes will begin in January for kindergarten and first graders with a goal to grow the program to other grades. Spanish is the language of choice based on parent/teacher surveys that were done in spring. Studies show foreign language study increases critical thinking skills and creativity and can even improve performance on math tests. Being multilingual will also better prepare today’s students for the global marketplace of tomorrow.

“We are going to roll out our program right after Christmas and it will focus on first grade and kindergarten classrooms. For next year it will be second grade, first grade and kindergarten and then hopefully we’ll keep growing the program until everyone in the school district has the opportunity for a second language,” Fowler explains.

Dr. Fowler and the board also want to examine the K-12 hourly schedule for schools. They will also look for ways to optimize the middle school curriculum to help “bridge the gap” between elementary school and high school. The district may also incorporate more flexibility in the high school curriculum to meet the needs of all students.