After 36 years of teaching, Lisa Jenner, head of the foreign language department at Rye High is retiring.
By Sarah Varney
After 36 years of teaching, Lisa Jenner, head of the foreign language department at Rye High is retiring. A self-described “incredible hobbyist” who paints, quilts, knits, and loves to travel, she is looking forward to indulging her creative side and also to staying home with the last of her four children — a 17-year old son. “It’s not just one thing. I have a very busy life,” said Jenner.
At RHS, Jenner said her proudest achievement was getting Spanish instruction into the elementary schools with the FLES program.
A lot has changed since Jenner started teaching in Rye. “When I came here, the sixth graders only had foreign language three days a week. It alternated with music and gym. That wasn’t going to work. Kids need to be exposed to the language every day,” she said.
Today, Spanish holds the lead as the most popular foreign language with French and Latin at numbers one and two. Mandarin is the newest language offered. “It’s very popular. I’m blown away by how much they learn,” said Jenner.
In step with a nationwide trend, Latin is slowly growing in popularity. “Latin is funny. People either love it or hate it, but they’re always glad they took it,” she noted. Students usually feel the same way.
According to Jenner, the biggest change in teaching foreign language is the inclusion of special education students into the classrooms and the level of parental involvement. “Parents today have greater involvement in their kids’ progress and I’m a parent so I understand that,” she said. “I’ve found the parents great.”