Fall 2021 Middle School World Language Briefing Page
Fall 2021 Middle School World Language Briefing
Counselors, Administrators, and Site Facilitators
Notice to students and parents: This information is intended for distribution to schools and districts only and may contain details that do not apply to your local district’s participation in MTDA services. If you are interested in enrolling in courses with Montana Digital Academy, your first contact should be with the counseling department or administration of your local public school to discuss what is available locally. MTDA does not take enrollments directly from students or their parents.
On June 14, 2021, the MTDA Governing Board exercised its authority granted by MCA 20-7-1202 to begin cost-sharing with districts in fall 2021. This applies to the MTDA middle school world language program. Before enrolling any student for the upcoming term, please review our information page regarding payment: link.
MTDA continues to monitor the Covid-19 situation as it applies to educational services across the State of Montana. At this point, MTDA plans to return to its pre-Covid service model in our program.
If you choose to enroll students that have any impact on their ability to learn or engage due to Covid-related circumstances, you must review MTDA entrance counseling forms with students and their families to help communicate the requirements and expectations of students to participate in MTDA services.
Middle School World Language Options
Since Fall 2020, MTDA has had two offerings available for middle school and junior high school students to take language classes. These offerings are intended to be used by schools for individual student enrollments (not whole group or grade) that are vetted by local schools for appropriate inclusion in the program. This is in line with the MTDA Governing Board policy that our program is intended to supplement, not supplant, local school programs.
Option 1: Middle School Language
For the 2021-2022 school year, MTDA will offer Middle School Spanish, a one-semester Spanish course intended for older middle school students. The course format will be the same semester-based format as our high school original credit program. However, the course is designed around 7th- and 8th-grade students. To lead the program, we have pulled in one of our most experienced MTDA Spanish teachers, who has extensive experience working with middle school populations.
Students should be individually appraised utilizing our Online Learning Readiness tools and walked through our entrance counseling form before enrollment to make sure they understand course requirements. We also ask schools to work with their local IT support to ensure that students have appropriate access before the start of the course.
We can offer 50 seats in the fall and 50 seats in the spring on a first-come, first-served basis with our finite resources. Students should take the course for one semester only, and once completed, should not be re-enrolled in the same course. As of 8/11, MTDA is working on expanding enrollment availability to 100 or more slots, instructor-dependent.
Enrollment for these courses opens on Wednesday, August 18, 2021, at 8 am to give schools time to prepare. Again, this is first-come, first-served; however, we want to stress the importance that students should be carefully vetted for enrollment, and this program is not intended to be a whole class-implementation model. The course is available for enrollment under the “Fall 2021 Middle School Language” term in GeniusSIS. If the course no longer appears there, it means the course is full. Spanish I is NOT the same course (see below).
Option 2: High School Language Courses
As has been in the past, schools may choose to allow middle school and junior high school students to take courses out of the high school catalog. There are limitations (for example, AP classes are available to high school students only), but this option remains open to you for the upcoming school year.
For schools new to this concept, we have some guidance on using the program in this way. First, these are not middle school classes; they are high school classes taught to a high school audience. We sometimes encounter middle school students that are ready for the content but not the independence that is afforded to online learners and often requires. The student will be held to high school standards. Second, MTDA courses are not available for enrichment only, so the course must be recorded on the student’s local transcript. Third, you need to consider/determine if the course counts for “high school credit” based on local policy. There may be implications for offering pre-high school students credit that you’ll need to discuss locally.
Like our middle school program, utilizing the high school courses requires careful evaluation of the student’s readiness. Students should be individually appraised using our Online Learning Readiness tools and walked through our entrance counseling form before enrollment to make sure they understand course requirements. We also ask schools to work with their local IT support to make sure that students have appropriate access before the start of the course.
In light of the new opportunities to scale new programs with our cost-sharing policies, MTDA is interested in speaking to administrators and counselors from smaller schools to discuss the future of the middle school language program. If you have any thoughts to share or would like to discuss the program’s implementation, please contact us to schedule a consultation.