A new academy focuses on languages and global studies, and Ventura County Schools are preparing students for the future, whether it includes college, careers, or both.

Soft SkillsStudents at one Simi Valley elementary school will have the opportunity to learn Italian, Greek, Spanish and French.  In Ventura, ninth graders will take a class preparing them for the future, with or without college.  Teachers in Hueneme will play computer games to learn new technology.

These innovations are being introduced this year as students return.  Some initiatives are attempts to level the field for students from low income households and minorities.  Other initiatives are attempts to attract more students.

“As students and their needs evolve — and the demands of the community and the workforce change — schools need to respond to that,” said Jason Peplinski, superintendent of the Simi Valley Unified School District.

In Simi Valley, Arroyo School is becoming FLAGS, an academy which focuses on languages and studies of the world.  The intent is to build enrollment by attracting parents who are interested in having their children learn a second language while they are young, according to Principal Aldo Calcagno.  He also added that the program reinforces the idea that for students who speak a language other than English their first language and culture are valued.

“The world is a small place,” Calcagno said. “We need to get past language barriers, cultural barriers.”

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