Braintree High May Offer Mandarin, Arabic Language Classes
The high school's foreign language director told the school committee she'd like to offer Chinese or Arabic, but not before 2016-17. Only one other South Shore public school offers Arabic: Norwell High.
If Gail Ward gets her wish, some Braintree High students may soon be greeting their friends with the words "nin hao" or "salaam alaikum."
That's how you say "hello" in Mandarin Chinese and Arabic. Ward, the school's foreign language director, said she hopes one of those languages can be added to the Spanish and French the high school now offers.
"It would provide a global opportunity for our students," Ward said.
If Braintree offers Arabic, it would be only the second South Shore public high school to do so, along with Norwell High. Boston's Charlestown High also offers Arabic.
If it's Mandarin, Braintree would be the fourth South Shore district to offer Chinese, along with Quincy, Hingham and Whitman-Hanson.
She said she's not suggesting Mandarin and Arabic because Braintree is getting more students who speak those languages, "but so our students can have choices that reflect the world they're in."
She mentioned both languages to the school committee last week, during the committee's review and initial discussion of the 2015-16 budget. But she said she wouldn't make a teacher hiring request until the 2016-17 year.
After the committee session, Chairman David Ringius Jr. said he'd love to see the high school offer another language such as Mandarin or Arabic.
"It would be a huge asset," he said. "As the world becomes smaller, the ability for a student to be bilingual serves you well."
He said Braintree High has offered Italian in the past.
Ringius said the biggest challenge could be recruiting a qualified Arabic or Mandarin teacher. Paying them might be less of an issue – Braintree's base teacher salary is $45,000.
While almost all South Shore high schools offer both French and Spanish – long the two most popular languages – some districts also offer Latin, German, Italian and American Sign Language.
Only two teach ASL – Weymouth and Duxbury. Latin is offered at Quincy, North Quincy, Weymouth, Milton, Cohasset and Marshfield.
Quincy High and North Quincy High also have Italian, while Weymouth High offers German. Hanover High offers Italian and Modern Greek.
Related Topics: Middle Eastern Languages
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