French and Spanish V Classes to be Offered Next Year


Alex Bofi

Catalan protestors take to the streets after the referendum was violently shutdown by the Spanish government. Students can use their developed language skills on study abroad trips along with the new academically facilitated environment.

Nina Lavezzo-Stecopoulos, Features Editor

A new language class will be offered in the 2019-2020 school year: French and Spanish V. The only fifth-year language classes offered previously have been AP classes. Spanish V will be taught by Dolores Silva and the French department is still deciding who will teach the class. The curriculum of this new addition to City will be centered more around the real-life application of languages.

“It’s a great opportunity to take the strengths that I see students having and taking them further from there to expand on them in the areas that are especially difficult for students,” Jaclyn Ceurvorst, a French teacher at City, said. “We’re looking at pairing with the themes of AP so there is continuity.”

The class will aid students in developing language skills outside of the classroom and will help them find ways to maintain those assets in their careers. The class also includes a community service requirement where students will utilize their skills. Students will learn about current events, culture, and the history of countries in which their language is spoken.

“The main goal is to be able to have you use it and be able to apply it in real life but also in an environment in which you want to study further,” Dolores Silva, a Spanish teacher at City, said. “It can help you develop ideas and at the same time study your goals to see if that’s really what you want to do.”

Besides offering new opportunities to students, the class also caters to parts of the student body that may not want to pay for an AP test but would like to still receive college credit for their time spent in language classes. Throughout the fifth year, language students work towards a seal of biliteracy that many Midwestern colleges accept for credit.

“This is a great opportunity to relieve a little bit of financial burden on students,” Ceurvorst said. “At the base, it’s financially a good decision but then also it’s a way to add a minor to your transcript and assets to your background.”

Language teachers in the area have been working on this project for years. Despite losing the German program throughout the Iowa City Community School District, teachers never let go of the possibility of this class.

“I think while dealing with [losing the German department], trying to find ways to stay proactive and positive was what helped us turn it around and try to find something else for students,” Silva said. “I think that it’s sad that at the end of things, when there’s no money, the people that get affected are the students.”

The state of Iowa passed recognition of the seal of biliteracy in 2018. The class will count for honors credit in the weighted GPA scale and students can apply for seals in other languages besides Spanish and French as well.

“[Learning another language is] just one other extension to connect with people. It opens a lot of doors, and takes a lot of the fears that come with dealing with diversity away,” Silva said. “I think that it’s a class that encompasses a lot of learners. At this point, everyone has a lot of strength; it’s just a matter of polishing them, improving on them, and helping each other along the way.”