Dearborn: Modern Standard Arabic Instruction
Elementary School Level
Only one of the district’s 22 elementary schools—Becker—offers Arabic. Pupils receive at least two 40-minute periods of Arabic a week. The school gave up a two-way immersion program, in which students were taught half their subjects in English and half in Arabic, in the 2001-02 school year after a federal grant for the program ran out.
Ideas for expansion: Increase the amount of time children at Becker learn Arabic. Offer Arabic classes in other elementary schools. Make foreign language a required subject.
Middle School Level
Three of the district’s seven middle schools teach Arabic. At Lowrey School, 7th and 8th graders can take Arabic as an elective.
Number of Arabic students at Lowrey: 50
Number of Arabic students at Woodworth Middle School: 100 (some take Arabic only for a semester)
Number of Arabic students at Donald Unis Middle School: 68 (includes some students taking a half-French, half-Arabic semester class)
Ideas for expansion: Lowrey Principal Samir Makki says that if his school had the money to pay for another foreign-language teacher, he could double the number of students taking Arabic there. He’d also like to see Arabic offered to 6th graders. The school’s Arabic teacher would like the district to require middle schoolers to study a foreign language.
High School Level
Two of the district’s three high schools offer Arabic. Students at Fordson High School can take four years of Arabic as an elective. Dearborn High School offers three years of Arabic study.
Number of Arabic students at Fordson High: 250
Number of Arabic students at Dearborn High: 144
Ideas for expansion: More classes could be offered at the lower levels of Arabic study, so students aren’t turned away. Fordson High could offer advanced classes in Arabic literature and composition for students who test out of all the levels already offered. Require all high school students to study a foreign language.
Vol. 25, Issue 30, Page 22