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Federal Way TAF Academy says ‘au revoir' to French classes

Parlez-vous français?

Students at TAF Academy are saying "au revoir" to their language classes.

The school, which is a collaboration between the Federal Way School District and a private organization, the Technology Access Foundation, is ending its French instruction. Instead, the school will change foreign language options to Japanese, and will add Chinese next year.

Ana Glassmyer, a student who has been taking the language, spoke at the June 22 school board meeting about her concerns regarding the change.

"If I go to (Thomas Jefferson High School) to finish French, there's transportation and class schedule problems," Glassmyer said. "I wouldn't think it's TAF's desire to ship students off to finish their education."

The change came about after the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction looked at the most common foreign languages used in the world.

Since one of the goals of TAF Academy is to have all students ready for college, and because colleges usually require at least two years of foreign languages, the school and the district wanted to offer languages that would help students the most in their future. French was not considered a primary language, resulting in the decision to instead offer the more popular Asian languages.

The path for phasing out French hasn't yet been determined, said Josh Garcia, the school district's Teaching for Learning director.

Students currently in the program will be able to finish their language instruction. However, no new students will start French.

There aren't that many students who would be affected by the change, Garcia said. There are under 20 students who still need another year of French to complete their foreign language study.

"We're meeting with those families and seeing what their preferences are," Garcia said.

The options include having a section on campus or attending a local high school that has capacity for the extra students — or doing the class online.

A decision will be made later this summer.

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