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Juniors Address Issues with IVS Spanish III

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When Senora Stadel was offered a job in her own school district at Scales Mound School in June, GHS students were left without a Spanish teacher. Desperate to keep the program alive, the administration settled for the only other option- offering Spanish online through the Illinois Virtual School. Many students have taken classes through IVS before, most commonly social science courses and advanced math, but that is significantly different than having an entire program run online. Mrs. Murphy and the rest of the administration expected challenges, as this trial was a new concept for everyone.

Some frequently asked questions by concerned parents and students were “Will there be a supervisor?” “What will the classes be labeled?” “How will the IVS teacher know where we’re at?” As a result, Mrs. Nuce from Tri- State Christian School was hired as an IVS mentor to assist and supervise online students, and Spanish students were assured that they would be able to grasp the material and succeed in the course.

As predicted, problems arose rather quickly. “It’s challenging to learn a language when you are unable to actually speak the language,” junior Sawyer Quick said. The courses proved to be very difficult and above the level of the previous GHS Spanish III. Senora Stadel always made sure that all her students stayed together and understood the concepts, so her classes progressed more slowly than a “typical” Spanish curriculum.

Juniors enrolled in IVS Spanish III were expected to know how to read directions in Spanish, and when they couldn’t, their grades began to plummet. “Spanish III students are missing material to complete the course and are getting moved down to Spanish II. There is missing content we never learned that is stopping us from excelling at our own level,” Quick said. Students are struggling to comprehend the material being taught at “their level,” so the next proposal by Mrs. Murphy to deal with the issue was to move students “down” to a class closer to their skill level.

The junior class and their parents were collectively worried about how the seemingly impossible course would affect their grades. A meeting between Mrs. Murphy, Mrs. Nuce, and the junior parents occurred on September 11 to discuss questions and concerns regarding the course. “I figured that Spanish III, online or not, was going to be harder, so that’s not the problem,” junior Shea Curran said. “It’s just really hard to sit there and focus and complete all the activities, when you spend twenty minutes trying to decipher the directions.” Like Curran, many other juniors felt the pace, rather than the content, was the main problem. There was not sufficient time to finish each unit. “It’s trying to learn completely new material when the directions are in Spanish, and you have no idea what’s going on! Thank goodness Mrs. Nuce is there to help, or I’d be even more lost,” Curran said.

Mrs. Murphy, Mrs. Nuce, and the IVS Spanish teachers put their heads together for a course of action. It was decided that the juniors enrolled in Spanish III would be moved down to IVS Spanish II, semester one content level. The class would essentially “start over,” and any work a student had already completed would be deemed extra credit. “With input from all parties, I feel that all student and parent concerns have been addressed with an appropriate solution, so our IVS Spanish students can be successful,” Mrs. Murphy said. A perfect example of “trial and error,” the administration continues to work with the students in order to achieve the best learning environment given the circumstances.


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Juniors Address Issues with IVS Spanish III