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The Columbus School District offers Spanish as a foreign language for grades 6-12. Students get right into using the language by studying useful, everyday vocabulary to talk about their likes and dislikes, school and food, and then begin reading short books as a class. Some books are true stories with deeper themes covering historical events (for example, the Guatemalan Civil War, the Spanish Civil War) while others are light-hearted and entertaining reads (a boy whose parents have gone on vacation-what could go wrong?!). By the end of Spanish 2, students are able to understand and communicate in situations involving their own interests, hobbies and childhood, while in Spanish 3 students really blossom to incorporate skills in discussing international travel, unexpected problems and also personal health. Students are able to continue their studies through AP Spanish 5. With incorporating novels into the curriculum, we’ve really seen students acquire more skills in reading and writing at the lower levels and truly retain that knowledge into continuing classes where their speaking abilities take center stage. All levels strive to incorporate culture and modern topics so as to better connect students with the world around them. Current events articles and class discussions are a main staple during the week, so if you have a student in Spanish class, feel free to ask them what they’ve been up to! It’s always encouraged that class ideas be taken home. Language learning isn’t all about the grammar!

In conjunction with Spanish classes, CHS has the Global Education Achievement Certificate (GEAC) club where students can, after fulfilling requirements in courses, completing a service learning project and attending culturally focused activities, receive the seal of Global Scholar on their transcripts and earn the Global Scholar Certification. The GEAC is a program of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and a wonderful opportunity for foreign language students to give back while also cushioning their resumes.

In closing, both Profes Markle and Parchem are excited to continue growing Columbus School District’s Spanish language program and look forward to continued student success both in the classroom and in each student’s lives as they take those cultural lessons learned out into the world. To our students: We are so proud of what you’ve achieved and appreciate your effort and curiosity you bring to class each day. Hasta luego, un abrazo y…¡Pura Vida.

Welcome, Mrs. Bechard!

Columbus High School welcomes our newest English teacher to our school. Jessy Bechard comes to Columbus with previous English teaching experience in Cottage Grove and Wild Rose. Jessy is teaching English I, Creative Writing, Sports Lit, and Science Fiction. When she isn’t teaching, she’s usually reading, cooking, doing yoga, or trying (in vain) to fix something that broke in her new house. We are super excited to have Mrs. Bechard in our English department and in our CHS family!

In English I, students are using a variety of fiction and nonfiction texts to explore identity. They are currently in a “Love and Identity” unit, which uses Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, as well as some short stories, to think about questions like, “How does love shape us?” Throughout the unit, students are discussing in small groups, and they will write a thesis-driven essay to demonstrate their learning.

In Sports Literature, students are working on an argumentative podcast on a topic of their choice. They will research both sides of their topic, develop a specific and nuanced claim, write their speaking points, and record themselves. They are also finishing up a choice book, and soon they will work on a variety of project options to show their deep thinking about the book!

English curriculum getting a facelift at CHS

English is getting a makeover — that’s right! As a department, we’re very excited to share with you the work that we’ve been doing these past couple of years. After surveying our students, discussing among ourselves, and with parents and administration, we’ve decided to take our 21st century learner into the 21st century! We’ve researched the skills, the methodology, and the interests to best prepare our students for college, career, and beyond. Stay tuned for more information.