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German program gaining support through Facebook

PARK RAPIDS - A grassroots movement has sprung up on Facebook, with people hoping to save the German program at Park Rapids Area High School.

Park Rapids school administrators proposed the German program at the high school be cut and phased out over a year, in part due to German teacher Linda Uscola retiring after this school year.

The administration will look at adding sections of Spanish if the school board approves the recommendation to cut the German program.

Two groups have been started on Facebook, an online social networking site, to rally support for the German program.

Superintendent Glenn Chiodo said at a school board meeting that part of the consideration included looking at which language is more universal.

Uscola disagrees with that statement, along with others who have written letters to the editor in this issue of the Enterprise. Uscola also questioned if much money would be saved by cutting the German program if additions would be made to the Spanish program.

One Facebook group, called "Help Save the Park Rapids German Classes!!" had 182 members as of Friday morning.

The description of the group reads, "This group is meant for those who are upset that the school is planning to no longer teach German and want the school to continue teaching this subject. If you have taken German with Frau Uscola you know how much fun German is. I know Frau won't be there next year but that doesn't mean the German program should be taken away too. If you have any memories of the trips you took please post them. The more support this gets the more we can persuade the school to keep this fun and important class. Think of the new students who will not have the opportunity to choose the foreign language they want to take. They should be able to choose."

Another Facebook group called "SAVE GERMAN CLASS IN PR!!!" had 200 members as of Friday morning.

The announcement that German was among the proposed school district cuts came as Park Rapids students were hosting German exchange students who they had visited in March.

The German exchange students attended a Minnesota Twins baseball game Wednesday and displayed a sign reading "Save German classes at Park Rapids Area High School."

The school board will make a decision Monday night about which of the proposed cuts to approve. Uscola is on the agenda to speak in defense of the German program at the meeting.

Administrators also proposed not-replacement of some retiring elementary positions.

Staff cuts to be voted on Monday night include: Dave Free, driver's education teacher; Mitch Peterson, elementary principal; Rich Morehouse, physical education teacher; Barb Thomason, health; - Health; Charles Huber, middle school science; and Mike Clemens, middle school computer teacher.