Board hears parents’ concerns

By Andrew Wigger -

NEWBERRY COUNTY — The Newberry County School Board heard from a concerned parent and grandparent on the lack of a Spanish teacher at Mid-Carolina High School.

At the beginning of the year the Spanish teacher resigned at Mid-Carolina High School, and the class has been taught by substitutes ever since. The school is currently waiting for a permanent teacher.

“I come here as a concerned grandparent, concerning some of the issues in our school. I have two grandchildren who are juniors at Mid-Carolina High School and one grandchild that is in the eighth grade at Mid-Carolina Middle School. I am not here only for them, but for all children that are affected,” Cathy Meetze said. “My concern is the Spanish teacher at Mid-Carolina High School. Two years ago, as a freshman in high school, my granddaughters were not able to take Spanish as a ninth grader. At that time they said they could not get a qualified teacher. Now they are juniors in their second year of Spanish.”

Meetze said that to get into a credible college or university, a student has to have three or maybe even four years of Spanish.

“How are we going to achieve that? They have been told they may not get credit for their Spanish this year. They have to go to summer school and pay. I do know they have a retired teacher at this time, but that the teacher may not be able to finish it,” she said.

Meetze said she is wondering what will happen to the Spanish classes at Mid-Carolina and what could be done. She recalled that, in the past, the district has sought teachers from other districts for positions.

Beverly Hollowell is the mother of a 2012 graduate of Mid-Carolina and currently has an 11th grader at the high school and an eighth grader at the middle school. She said she is equally concerned about the shortage of foreign language teachers at the school.

In 2014 Hollowell’s daughter, who was in the ninth grade, was dropped from Spanish I because of a shortage of foreign language teachers. She met with the principal and emailed district officials, who explained the difficulty in finding qualified foreign language teachers.

She contacted the district again in 2015 when they proposed funding assistant athletic director positions, and said she received the same response.

Hollowell said this year her daughter’s schedule was changed so she could take Spanish II in her junior year and Spanish III in her senior year. Her daughter had to move a required course to her senior year because of this.

“My question is why has the District not hired additional foreign language teachers to meet the needs of our students? When I have been told several times there are multiple qualified applicants,” Hollowell said.

Board member Hugh Gray recommended that during an upcoming Board Retreat, on Oct. 31 at the District Office, that they could talk about alternatives to attracting foreign language teachers. Chairman Jody Hamm assured the parents that all that can be done, is being done.

Other business

• The District will hold a Teacher of the Year and Support Staff of the Year reception on Nov. 17 at Newberry Middle School.

• Gray was nominated to have his name on the floor for the Region 12 director position at the South Carolina School Board Association, delegate assembly in Hilton Head.

By Andrew Wigger

Reach Andrew Wigger at 803-276-0625 ext. 1867 or on Twitter @ TheNBOnews.

Reach Andrew Wigger at 803-276-0625 ext. 1867 or on Twitter @ TheNBOnews.

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