TCHS students to have diverse course offering with Mandarin Chinese

By Kayleigh Rahn
The Tuscola Board of Education during its monthly meeting Monday, March 27 approved additions to the TCHS curriculum including Mandarin Chinese, Foods III, and updates to science.

Board Member Toby Ring said he had field several questions about the option for Mandarin Chinese–specially why and how.

“It’s in conjunction with and subsidized by the Confucius Institute,” High School Principal Brad Allen explained. The program is administered through the University of Illinois.

“It’s a process. (The Illinois State Board of Education) is considering for the first time a provisional, which would not require us to have a teacher in the classroom, which is a bonus.”

However, if that provisional is not approved a PEL would be required to be in the classroom during the class, which would be one section in the first year, he said.

“Though we’re not hiring a new teacher to teach that class,” Allen said.

“Mandarin Chinese is the second most spoken language, and we are trying to add diversity to our curriculum and provide our students with other options,” he said. “If I had a choice I would go with Arabic. You’re looking at popular and very prominent languages. Mandarin Chinese fulfills that need. There is no money out of our pocket, and it expands our foreign language offerings.”

The Institute presents the University of Illinois with a pool of candidates to teach the course. The Center of East Asian and Pacific Studies then screens those candidates and selects the top instructors to be placed within the local schools.

“So there is a very formal screening process, and ISBE would look at their qualifications,” Allen said.

In science, the board approved improvements to the curriculum including an expansion of the Biology II class to cover bio chemistry for the students interested in medical degrees.

“Our goal is to have this class available next year for the 2017-2018 school year, and then in 2018-2019 take advantage of TCHS biology teacher Natasha Capell’s certification to turn this into an advanced placement, or AP, biology course where our kids would receive some college credit with that,” Allen said during the February meeting. “That would be an easy transition, and our kids are already lined up for it. I know they are excited.”

The full story can be found in the March 29, 2017, edition of The Tuscola Journal.