Confirmed victory

Preserve middle school foreign language classes

This petition made change with 615 supporters!


Dear Concerned Parents and Friends of Medford Public Schools,

I am writing to you today with an impassioned plea for your assistance.  Our school community is facing some dire budget cuts that have the potential of affecting our children's ability to be admitted to the college of their choice, as well as their ability to choose excellence in foreign language.  

The foreign language department has endured a series of budget cuts over the past few years, and as a result of those cuts, the middle school departments have been struggling.  Because they are struggling, the budget committee now wants to cut the middle school language department entirely.  If this budget cut goes through, it will have a detrimental impact on our children's ability to succeed in foreign language on the high school level. 

Starting a foreign language two years later, in ninth grade instead of in seventh grade, essentially puts our children two years behind their peers.  This affects their ability to ever get to AP (Advanced Placement) level in any language, and in fact makes it inevitable that the AP language program will be cut once our middle school children reach high school age.  This cut impacts college readiness, as colleges look for AP classes as a sign of a hard working and dedicated student.  

Eliminating middle school foreign language eliminates AP foreign language. 

Our kids can only excel if they are provided the opportunity to do so. If we eliminate the opportunity to excel in language, we eliminate their power to make those choices and we eliminate their power to compete on equal footing with neighboring communities. 
 
Another important factor is to keep in mind is that once a cut is made, it is not restored. The cuts that have already been made to the language departments are not temporary, and this cut of the middle school program will also be permanent.  We have one chance to take a stand for the sake of our children, our students and our community.   Many of us have extremely full and busy schedules, and as a single parent working full time, I fully understand the demands many of us have in our lives.   However, I hope that you will be able to carve out a small piece of time to take one of the following worthwhile actions.  Where one voice often cannot make a dent in a committee decision, many voices together can make a big difference!

1.  You can read and sign the attached petition that will be presented at the Medford School Committee meeting on Monday, June 11. 

2. Your presence at the meeting would be tremendously helpful.  The meeting is at 7:00pm in the Medford High School library, 489 Winthrop St.  Please join us! Look for the pizza if you would like to sit with us as a group.  Since this is close to dinner time and we know some of you come right from work, we would be happy to provide some pizza and snacks to our supporters.

3.  If you cannot attend the meeting, writing a letter in support of keeping our middle school and AP foreign language programs would also be helpful.  Here are the addresses you could send the letter to: Chairman: Mayor Michael McGlynn One City Hall Mall, Medford, MA 02155, Vice Chair: John Falco falcoformedford@verizon.net, Secretary: Paulette Van der Kloot pvanderkloot@medford.k12.ma.us, Ann Marie Cugno cugnocares@comcast.net, Erin DiBenedetto, edibenedetto@comcast.net, George Scarpelli scarpg@verizon.net, Robert E. Skerry, Jr., rskerry@medford.k12.ma.us. Please feel free to copy any of the wording or information given in this letter in the one you write.  A short and simple letter is all it takes to let the school committee know that many of us really do care.

Even if you do not currently have a young child enrolled in our program, it benefits you as a Medford resident to keep our schools as academically rigorous as possible.  There is a direct correlation between property values, crime rates and the quality of our schools. Foreign language is a core subject and is central to our stated goal of educating our students so they will become “contributing citizens in a global society” (MHS Mission Statement).

Medford High School has added many AP classes over the past ten years, and our enrollment has increased as Medford residents realized that the quality of education here at Medford High is better than at nearby Catholic schools. We are currently focused on college readiness, and keeping foreign language at the middle school level keeps our students competitive and provides them with the opportunities and tools necessary in order to succeed on the high school and college level. 

Foreign language has historically born the brunt of budget cuts, and as a result, foreign language classes at the high school already meet for fewer hours than other core subjects, a practice that is unique to Medford (as documented in the attached survey).  Foreign language teachers already have a heavier course load than their peers. These teachers teach five core classes that meet five times a cycle whereas the other teachers teach four classes that meet six times a cycle. This change occurred in September 2000 after the last accreditation cycle, and like other budget cuts, is permanent. 

  Research shows that foreign language study:
·         benefits academic progress in other subjects  
·         narrows achievement gaps  
·         benefits basic skills development  
·         benefits higher order, abstract and creative thinking
·         enhances a student's sense of achievement  
·         helps students score higher on standardized tests  
·         promotes cultural awareness and competency  
·         improves chances of college acceptance, achievement and attainment  
·         enhances career opportunities  
·         benefits understanding and security in community and society

Source: http://www.ncssfl.org/papers/BenefitsSecondLanguageStudyNEA.pdf
 
The foreign language department, both in the middle school and the high school, have already shouldered more than their fair share of budget cuts. While budget cuts are often necessary for the overall well being of our community, it is clear that the foreign language department has sacrificed every bit that it possibly can without cutting entire programs.  It has come to that point now, where the basic program is being threatened, and it is time to speak up: both for the sake of our children and our community.  Please join us in asking that these budget cuts be spread more equitably across departments so that core academics take priority.

We need your support in order to preserve the quality of our children's education in Medford.  Please take the time to help in any way you can.  Your support could not be more appreciated!

Sincerely,

Elizabeth Gomez
Parent to three current and future Medford School System Students, ages 7, 4, and 2
Medford High School Foreign Language Teacher, Grades 9-12

 

Nelida Lepore

Parent to two MHS graduates 1999, 2002

Medford High School Foreign language teacher, Grades 9-12

 

Michael Skorker

Medford High School foreign language teacher, Grades 9-12



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