Students at Homewood-Flossmoor High School will have an opportunity to learn Mandarin Chinese next year.
The school board agreed at its Nov. 18 meeting to add the new language to its curriculum, and to establish a new culinary course in it Family and Consumer Science curriculum.
For the 2015-2016 school year, the Chinese I course will be open to all students. Over time, Chinese will cycle into the world language curriculum along side Spanish and French, explained Nancy Spaniak, director of Curriculum, Instruction and Professional Development.
She said over time, Chinese language students will be eligible by their senior year to take the Advanced Placement exam for college credit.
Mandarin Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world. By adding the course to the curriculum, H-F will continue its international outlook, Spaniak told the board.
H-F will be working with administrators in its feeder districts in Homewood District 153 and Flossmoor District 161 to develop a program to begin offering the language at the junior high level. Students learn French or Spanish at James Hart Junior High in 7th and 8th grades, and at Parker Junior High in 8th grade.
Chinese is the oldest written language in the world with roughly 6,000 years of history. As a spoken language, Chinese is built on four basic tones. As a written language, there are more than 20,000 Chinese characters, although roughly 3,000 to 4,000 are used on average.
Chinese is already part of the curriculum in Chicago Public Schools and in several suburban districts.
The board also agreed to a change in its family and consumer science curriculum by combining the one semester courses Global Foods and Advanced Foods into a new year-long Advanced Culinary class. Students will take Culinary I and II as prerequisites for the new course.
Students completing Advanced Culinary will have enough training to take the Servesafe exam for a food handler certificate from the National Restaurant Association.