Lincoln High School's world languages department has added Arabic to its offerings, at least for this summer.
Thanks to a $100,000 grant, Lincoln High School students can take a beginning course in the Arabic language in June.
The grant comes from STARTALK, a program of the National Security Language Initiative, formed by President George W. Bush in 2006. Its goal is to expand the teaching of strategically important world languages.
A pilot Arabic language program last year was popular, drawing some kids who were underperformers at school. "It was a cross-section, from Central Academy kids to kids highly at risk," said Mary Stimmel, world languages department chairwoman at Lincoln. "Kids who were not attenders all of a sudden had a reason to come to school. ... The funny thing was the kids were mad when it was over."
Students will receive a stipend of $150 for attending, Stimmel said, but to receive the stipend, they have to come to all classes, and they have to be in good standing in class. To enroll, students must be going into their sophomore, junior or senior years. The non-credit class is free for students.
The grant is for a one-time course offering, but Stimmel hopes the school can continue the program.