Community Community News Rancho Santa Fe

Parent speaks up over language program

RANCHO SANTA FE — During a recent RSF School District board meeting, a parent whose children attend the district addressed the board about implementing a foreign language program for children in grades K-5.

When the meeting opened for members of the public, Linda Leong, presented information to the school board.

“I have come before you at the beginning of the school year with the request for the school to look at incorporating foreign languages in the K to 5 grades,” Leong said.

She acknowledged that some Mandarin and Spanish was being taught in the middle school grades but wanted to address what she believed to be a need in the younger grade levels.

When she first approached the board months ago, she had 60 signatures from other parents who were in favor of implementing a foreign language program for the K to 5 students.

“Since then, just from conversation with other parents in the school, I was able to collect more so now I have a total of 117,” she said, handing copies to the board of trustees.

Leong also distributed some backup material to the board of trustees. One particular piece included a worksheet she had devised for the school district’s Maze Runners. The Maze Runners are a 5th grade robotic team.  During the course of the meeting, the board had plans to visit the Maze Runners classroom to watch a presentation and receive awards.

“The worksheet was incorporated into one of our lunch clubs and we made it a fun, Minecraft activity. I included a little translation sheet for them where they had certain phrases in Minecraft, the computer game, that they would repeat in Mandarin,” she said. Leong added, “That was one of the testing activities that we did, it was a lot of fun for the team, and they did well.”

It was Leong’s hope that sharing this worksheet would compel the board to think of different ways to integrate foreign language for the younger students at the RSF School District.