Following the lead of the Red Bank schools, Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School plans to introduce Chinese language study next fall, and will share a teacher in the effort with Red Bank Regional, the Asbury Park Press reports.


From the story:

“It wasn’t a matter of “Should we offer another language to kids?’ ” said Superintendent Peter Righi. “It was a matter of (deciding) what language made the most sense.”

The school board voted unanimously Tuesday to appoint a teacher of Chinese. The hire is contingent upon sufficient student enrollment, Righi said.

Righi said the school board for years has discussed adding another language. An informal survey of students determined that there was the most interest for Chinese, he said. The school board made a commitment to offer Chinese for a minimum of two years, he said, and interviewed about a half dozen candidates for the position.

The language will be open to students in all four high school grades, Righi said. It will be offered in the fall as Level 1 Chinese, and Righi expects there will be at least two sections, possibly three.

“There’s a lot of interest in it,” he said.

Earlier this school year, Red Bank schools started offering Chinese.

Red Bank Regional High School, which also plans to offer Chinese in the fall, will share the teacher with Rumson-Fair Haven, said Red Bank Regional Superintendent Edward Westervelt.

“Especially when you’re introducing a new subject, it works out to our advantage to share the person,” Westervelt said. “We have had a history of working out staff like this. It’s a win-win situation. It’s cost effective for us to share the teacher, and we’ve been able to make that work in other years.”

Westervelt said Chinese 1 and 2 will be offered at Red Bank Regional. Chinese 2 will be available for students who started taking the language in the borough schools, he said.

“We’re confident that they are having a positive experience with the language and they will want to continue that experience,” he said.

The teaching of Chinese language is on the upswing in America, apparently. This is from a press release issued last month by the CAIS Institute, a nonprofit that promotes the teaching of Chinese in America:

According to a 2004 survey from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, about 5,000 students were enrolled in K-12 Chinese-language classes in 2000. The council estimates that number to be as high as 30,000 to 50,000 today. In May of 2007, more than 3,000 students took the AP Chinese Language and Culture course exam; the College Board began offering the course for the first time in the fall of 2006.

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