CHAPEL HILL – Superintendent Tom Forcella of Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools said he hopes that the district will explore interactive video teleconferencing, or IVT, as a way to continue to offer world language classes despite the low enrollment numbers.
The majority of local students studying another language focus on Spanish or French, but the district also offers Latin, German, Chinese and Japanese classes. However, those four languages combined only account for about 12 percent of world language enrollment.
“We also know that we’d be hard-pressed, especially in these economic times that we are under and facing toward the future that it’s just getting increasingly more difficult to try to offer classes for three or four children,” Forcella said.
Elaine Watson-Grant, CHCCS’s Dual and World Language Coordinator, presented a report to Forcella and the Board of Education Thursday that advocated IVT as a way for the system to save money.
Watson said CHCCS representatives visited the Cumberland County School System last spring to evaluate its use of IVT and the implementation process.
“We witnessed a highly organized and efficient system across a very large school district,” Watson said. “The training that they had offered for their staff was evident in how organized they were, how ready and accessible their staff were when problems arose.”
Forcella said the North Carolina School of Science and Math has successfully implemented IVT and believed that it could also work for CHCCS.
“We feel it has a lot of potential, not just for world language, but to venture off into other subjects, and I think it has a lot of potential for staff development,” Forcella said.
Initial planning and implementation of the program could take three years, though Forcella said a pilot program could be started earlier.
The next step for the Board is to approve the creation of a task force to evaluate the new technology and its implementation.