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November 17, 2016

Fauquier schools consider Turkish language courses

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Fauquier County Public Schools could become the first in Virginia to offer Turkish as a foreign language.

The county school board on Dec. 12 will consider approving high school courses in Turkish I and II.

Associate Superintendent for Instruction Sandra Mitchell believes the courses would make Fauquier high schools unique.

“No schools in Virginia” list Turkish among course offerings, state Department of Education Specialist for Foreign Languages Lisa Harris confirmed on Thursday.

The idea to offer the classes stemmed from success of the STARTALK, the summer Arabic and Turkish program for rising fifth- through ninth-graders, Dr. Mitchell said.

Three citizens spoke in favor of adding the Turkish courses at Monday night’s school board meeting.

University of Mary Washington Associate Professor Nabil Al-Tikriti, whose children took the STARTALK program in Fauquier last summer, suggested a high school course would benefit students.

The National Security Agency funds STARTALK to build fluency in strategically important languages.

“There are federal jobs for those who know Turkish,” said Dr. Al-Tikriti, who teaches Middle Eastern history at the university in Fredericksburg.

Fauquier high schools already offer Arabic I, II and III. Approximately 100 students take the language in the county’s three public high schools.

The program started in 2013 with 29 students.

The school board next month also will consider adding the classes:

• Environmental geology.

• Environmental earth science.

• Computer science III.

• AP research seminar.

The courses may require additional staffing, which means fiscal 2018 funding might determine whether they get offered, according to Dr. Mitchell.
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Rover 530 · November 22, 2016 at 11:10 pm
Why teach Turkish when only 71 million people speak it worldwide (and who knows how few locally) versus 215 million people who speak Portuguese worldwide and is the language spoken by most of the people in South America? This would be another waste of limited school resources.
farmbum · November 19, 2016 at 8:10 am
People will do well with language skills other than English and Spanish. Russian, Arabic and perhaps some German will probably dominate the communications/collaborations landscape in the near future. The only thing missing is living and learning in a country outside of the US.
Silii · November 18, 2016 at 6:59 pm
Suggest Fauquier Schools consult with Trump's national security advisor as he has close ties to Turkey via his consulting.
BJ · November 18, 2016 at 9:53 am
It's a great idea to add more languages to the curriculum. Chinese is another one that would be useful. Please add cursive writing back to our schools though, it is so beneficial to the growth of the brain even if the children think it archaic.
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