World Language Center

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COLUMBIA - A committee proposed a centralized World Language Center to the Columbia School Board as a way to keep higher-level German and Japanese courses. 

In 2015, the district announced it would phase out German and Japanese classes because of low enrollment. 

“We do know that there are students who have interests in pursuing these particular foreign languages,” said Community Relations Director Michelle Baumstark. “We want to be able to be creative about how we can continue to offer areas of interest to our students.”

At the meeting on Monday night, the committee proposed the center would be centrally located to provide easy access to most Columbia high schools. The committee suggested Hickman and Douglass high schools as options for the center because they are both centrally located in Columbia. 

The district would still keep all of its four other languages taught at the high school level: Spanish, Latin, French and Chinese. 

Baumstark said one of the biggest hurtles of the plan is the logistics. 

“One of the big areas is transportation. There are a lot of questions about how we would offer the varying curriculums for combined levels,” said Baumstark. “We will continue to have those conversations as we move forward with what we think might be a possible plan for implementing.” 

CPS already has transfer buses from their high schools to the Columbia Area Career Center. Baumstark said the center would be a similar concept but just involve foreign language courses. 

With this proposal, the higher levels of German and Japanese classes would be taught at the central location. 

Currently, CPS does not offer German or Japanese programs to middle schools and the center would only be available for high school students. 

No timetable is set for when the center would actually be open as the Columbia School Board is still reviewing the proposal to figure out if creating this center is possible. 

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