(A communication from the Spanish Dept/ Una comunicación del dpto de español)
September of 2011/septiembre de 2011
A new school year is underway at SHA. My schedule is full and exciting and it changes each day, so I will never be bored. As in the past few years, Spanish is part of the school day for elementary students in DK-grade 6. Most classes meet twice a week for 30 minute sessions. The students in K and DK meet only once each week for 20 minutes, and this year the 5th and 6th graders meet for just one 30 minute class each week because they have so many things to fill their day. I also have 2 high school classes, Spanish 1 and Spanish 2, which meet daily. This makes my schedule less flexible than the past 2 years. Miss Begres is also back this year teaching a Spanish 1 class. We are fortunate that the Mt. Pleasant Public School District shares a teacher with us, so we can cover most of our students’ needs.
SHA is the only school in Mt. Pleasant with a year long Spanish program for elementary students, taught by a certified teacher. Early introduction to any language helps to improve listening skills, understanding of one’s first language, and understanding of other cultures. We have not yet been able to articulate the program through Junior High because there are not enough hours in the school day for all of the subjects we would like to introduce to our 7th and 8th graders, (and because my daily schedule is already full). We are working on some ideas for this age group, but nothing is finalized.
For the past 2 years I have offered an evening class for adults, which meets here at the school. I will begin these classes again in mid October. It is fun to work with adults from our school family and from the community.
I am looking forward to working with your children (and teens) again this year. I am very blessed to be a part of the Sacred Heart Academy Family and I appreciate the support you have given to the Spanish program here.
About Mrs. Foster
Hi, I am Mercia Foster, the “new” elementary Spanish teacher. I have been teaching high school Spanish classes at SHA since 2007 as a shared teacher with Mt. Pleasant Public Schools. This year I am full time with Sacred Heart, teaching Spanish in the elementary school as well as the high school Spanish 2 and Spanish 3 classes.
I earned a BA degree in Secondary Education with a major in Spanish from CMU, including summer studies in Spain and Mexico. After teaching high school Spanish for a few years, my husband, David, and I moved to Iowa, where I earned my Elementary Endorsement from Iowa State University and taught Spanish in both public and Catholic elementary schools in northern Iowa, (as well as the North Iowa Area Community College). I created thematic units on tropical rain forests for young students and during two summers traveled in Costa Rica to visit tropical and transitional rain forests as well as the Monteverde cloud forest. After returning to Michigan in 1998, I developed the elementary Spanish program at The Midland Academy of Advanced and Creative Studies. During my 9 years at that school I served as a mentor to 40+ midtier teachers from CMU. Many of these young teachers stay in contact as they now develop new elementary Spanish programs. I earned my MA degree in Spanish from Central Michigan University in 2002, including summer studies in Chile and in Spain.
In 1998 I was awarded the Iowa Outstanding Educator Award for Elementary Foreign Language by the Iowa Foreign Language Association. In 2003 the Michigan Foreign Language Association awarded me the Teacher of the Year Award in Elementary Foreign Language Teaching. In February of 2007 I hosted a Fulbright Exchange Teacher from Uruguay and in July, 2007 I was selected as one of ten teachers from the United States to travel to Uruguay as part of the same Fulbright program.
David and I have been married almost 35 years. We have two grown daughters: Alana is a published author and librarian, is married to Tom Abbott, and lives in Connecticut. (Alana and Tom are expecting their first child in March.) Tura is a massage therapist in Chicago, and seminar director for Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY) in Michigan.
My husband and I enjoy doing volunteer work together. David is a long-time Kiwanian and I assist him as advisor to the Circle K of CMU service organization. We also serve on the HOBY Michigan Executive Board, and as Mt. Pleasant Satellite directors for Kids Against Hunger. We sing in the First United Methodist Church choir and enjoy spending time with international students at CMU as a Friendship Family.
I am very excited to begin working with the elementary students at Sacred Heart Academy and to continue teaching the high school students with whom I have worked before.