Shoreline Schools Plan Language Learning Partnership

Several school districts along the shoreline are discussing a potential partnership to offer world languages courses in a remote learning form to students across the region. 

Ian Neviaser, superintendent of Lyme-Old Lyme Schools, said at a board of education meeting yesterday that the districts wanted to take advantage of the remote learning capabilities they had acquired through the pandemic and use it to offer remote classes to students throughout the region.

“Obviously from everything you try to take a little bit away from it and learn from those experiences,” Neviaser said. “One of the things we think we can benefit from is the idea of offering remote learning.” 

Neviaser said that world languages was the most obvious idea for a regional partnership, since certain districts have courses that are not offered anywhere else. Old Lyme, for example, offers Latin and Chinese. Guilford High School has Arabic classes, and a teacher at Old Saybrook has the ability to teach German. 

Jan Perruccio, superintendent of Old Saybrook schools, said the idea had “great potential.” 

“I haven’t had any conversation with teachers yet, but I think they would find these opportunities exciting,” Peruccio said in an email. 

Neviaser said that they envisioned a program that would be less like a virtual high school class, which involves a lot of independent work through chat boards, and more like a Zoom classroom that would allow for greater interaction between the students and the teacher.

Neviaser told CT Examiner that the idea was still very much at the beginning stages, but he said he expected that these classes would mainly be focused on the high school level.  

Paul Freeman, superintendent of Guilford Public Schools, said he was “both interested and excited” to be part of the conversation.

“I do feel that there are opportunities moving forward for districts to collaborate in many ways, with World Language being perhaps one of the richest domains,” said Freeman in an email.

Peruccio said the superintendents were meeting next week to talk about next steps. 

Neviaser said at the board of education meeting that the district would not be offering remote learning for regular classes in the fall, following an announcement from the State Department of Education that districts would not be required to do so next year. He said that around four percent of students at Lyme-Old Lyme schools are currently doing distance learning.

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