LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- The Lee's Summits R-7 School District's German program is gaining national attention and winning awards. The American Association of Teachers of German (AATG) recently awarded the district's German program with its Center of Excellence designation. Only five German programs in the nation received this recognition.
Bernard Campbell Middle School, is just one of the schools in the district offering German to its students. Eight graders say the class is fun and they plan to use German in the future careers.
"We have four different languages, French, Spanish, German and Chinese," said William Upman. "I picked German because I want to go into business."
The national award focuses on five areas; organized and structured curriculum, teaching methods, evidence of culturally authentic activities, assessments and staff qualifications. Bernard Campbell German teacher, David Beals has taught in the district for 21 years and says the program continues to get better.
"We felt justified that we are a good program and that somebody recognize that we have a good program," said Beals.
To receive the award, the teachers completed a lengthy application, providing evidence for each category. Plus, letters of support from school district and community leaders as well as current and past students.
R-7 German teachers are Julie Hume, Lee’s Summit West High School; Deborah Parker, Lee’s Summit North High School; Rachel Reed, Lee’s Summit High School; David Beal, Bernard Campbell Middle School; and Emily Aldenderfer, Summit Lakes Middle School and Pleasant Lea Middle School teach in the current program.
Hume says Facebook has really changed the program, especially when it comes to communicating with the districts sister school in Minden, Germany,
"We do have a very strong program and we've worked very hard to develop some of the aspects of it such as the exchange program," said Hume.
Every summer, 12-15 Lee's Summit German students travel to Germany for the exchange program. So far over 250 students have participated in that trip.