Latin program’s interest drives demand at Inman Middle School


Ellie Winer

Latin teacher Scott Allen teaches derivatives to Latin II students.

Anna Rachwalski

At Inman Middle School, as long as students and staff can remember, there have always been two languages offered: Spanish and French. Those programs have been the standard, and have seemed solidly set in the foundation of the school. But now, things are changing.

French has been removed from Inman’s languages, for the time being. Eighth graders who are finishing up their French 1 credit are the only exception to this new change, and will be continuing their French education until the end of the year.

A bigger change is this year at Inman, sixth and seventh graders can take Latin for the first time, creating a new generation of Inman students who will now be prepared to embark on a different language program than any previous Grady cluster student.

Though the program isn’t full fledged yet, it will still have a large impact on Grady and incoming Grady students.

But why is this program being implemented now?

“There was parent and community demand for it and interest for it,” said William Hunter, who teaches the Latin program at Inman and Latin I at Grady. “With an established Latin program here at Grady, it was just natural to have a feeder.”

That demand had been there for a while. Another reason to add Latin at Inman was falling demand for French. Many current freshman at Grady switched languages from French to Latin upon entering the school.

“Our long range goal is to offer all three languages [Latin, French and Spanish] at Inman,” said Inman Principal Dr. Kevin Maxwell. “We may have an opportunity to do this in the next few years because our overall enrollment projection may allow us to hire more teachers.”

But right now, Inman needs to wait for the Latin program to grow. Currently, the class is only one semester, acting as an exploratory language class, or as a brief look into the subject. Students can’t choose to take Latin, they are just put in it.

“They weren’t able to do the year-long credit Latin, like they have in place for Spanish,” said Hunter. “It’s more of … Latin language, Roman culture and classical mythology.”

Scott Allen, who’s been working at Grady for nine years and teaches Latin I and II, is extremely enthusiastic about the program.

“I’m very excited because ever since I’ve been at Grady, and the Latin program has grown, I’ve really advocated for us having a program at Inman,” said Allen. “It’s just exciting that it is there. I know that it is not a fully fledged Latin 1 program yet … but it’s my understanding that next year, the students will actually be able to take Latin for credit.”

Current sixth graders will be able to earn a Latin I credit by the time they graduate, following the plan that previous French and Spanish students have followed. They’ll take half of the course in seventh grade, and half of the course in eighth grade, allowing them to take Latin II on arrival to Grady.

“The student will come in at the Latin II level, and progress to III and then IV,” said Allen. “In IV, the students will get an entire year of Latin content under their belts before the AP curriculum.”

These students will have more Latin experience than current students, helping Grady’s Latin exam scores, Latin Quiz Bowl team, and overall program. But some current Grady Latin students are skeptical about the program and its effectiveness.

If Latin I student Eva Flom was given the option to take the class as a middle schooler, she would’ve turned it down.

“If I were to take it in middle school, it would be more days of the week and numbers,” said Flom. “I feel like this form of Latin at Grady is more useful, because we’re learning about grammar and not just basic words.”

Though that’s only the case with the exploratory program, it’s still a potential problem with the program. Latin students at Inman might not be getting as much concrete content as students at Grady, due to the exploratory nature of the current program.

Despite Grady student’s suspicion of the program, Inman students are taking Latin and the new class in stride. Students believe that  the class is interesting and engaging, and enjoy the mythology and Roman culture material.