by Amanda Rollins, Japanese Language Program Coordinator
At the middle school level, Cranford Public Schools in New Jersey offers Spanish, French, German, and Latin – and now they offer Japanese. This year, the school district’s high school Japanese program reached down into the middle school to expand its offerings.
To do this, they hired Kristin Wingate-sensei with support from the Japan Foundation’s Salary Assistance Grant. Together with the high school teacher Catherine Frisco-sensei, the two teachers worked hard to spread the word about the new classes. They held an afterschool Meet and Greet session to showcase Japanese language and culture to incoming 6th graders, and spoke with 8th grade student’s families at an Incoming Freshman Orientation. They posted student work in the hallways and held a culture booth at a Multicultural Expo which featured Japanese foods, origami, and calligraphy.
Cranford Public Schools Supervisor of World Languages Annamaria Bellino stated, “For the first time, current 6th graders (future class of 2021) will have been exposed to and may acquire proficiency in the language to pursue the Advanced Placement level at the high school and qualify for higher levels on the JLPT. The grant provided our district with the ability to offer an additional language option for our middle schoolers to further promote consistency within the middle and high school program of studies.”
Next year, they anticipate a 50% increase in enrollment. Keep up the hard work, Senseigata!!