National praise for Hempfield German program
BY TOM KNAPP, Staff Writer
Sie sprechen fliessend Deutsch.
The German program at Hempfield School District has been recognized as a German Center of Excellence by the American Association of Teachers of German.
AATG recognized only five school districts this year, and has recognized only 19 schools nationwide since the honors program began in 1995.
Many of the schools previously recognized had German-immersion programs, Hempfield High School German instructor Lauren Jannotta said, adding that "it's an honor" to be included among them.
The school board on Tuesday recognized the district's German teachers -- Jannotta, Stephanie Henrich and Rebecca Shertzer at the high school and Tony Jannotta at the middle school -- as well as some retired faculty members for building a strong program at Hempfield.
"You continually make us proud. Your passion is palpable," district Superintendent Brenda Becker said. "You're doing amazing things and touching many lives."
Becker said the announcement from AATG lauded the Hempfield curriculum as excellent in all areas and praised the materials used in the program as "culturally authentic."
Students who come out of Hempfield's foreign language program can visit other countries "and do just fine," Becker added.
The distinction carries with it a plaque and a check for $500, which will be donated to the district's German Club.
According to the AATG website, the designation is presented to "well-established and growing German programs" that have an "innovative, student-centered, well-articulated curriculum."