KPA Advocates for the Addition of Korean to Tenafly’s Language Program


Davin Shin and Chang Yoon Kim

For the past two years, the Korean Parents Association (KPA) has advocated for the inclusion of Korean as one of the many language curriculums offered at Tenafly. Responding to the calls of many students who are passionate about learning Korean, the KPA launched the “Let’s Learn Korean in Tenafly” campaign on January 21, 2023. Although a Korean class is currently offered every Saturday at the Tenafly Middle School, students and parents are concerned that having a class merely once a week may not provide sufficient opportunities for students to fully immerse themselves in the language and its culture.

In a 2022 survey conducted by the KPA that received over 300 responses, some 92% of parents strongly agreed that Korean would be a valuable addition to students in TMS and THS. It is evident that offering Korean as a course isn’t a worthless action. In the same survey mentioned before, 87% of parents also said they would be interested in their child taking Korean courses at school.

Results from a question in a survey conducted by the KPA to determine interest in a potential Korean program at Tenafly.

Currently, there are ongoing discussions about adding Korean as a language option. In mid-January, a meeting was held with the interim superintendent in order to discuss about the possibility of opening Korean classes in TMS and THS. The goal is to have a Korean language course added to the high school in the next two years. Neighboring towns of Tenafly who also have large Korean populations like Fort Lee, Palisades Park, and Demarest, already offer Korean as one of the language options.

“As a child, traveling between America and Korea posed a challenge for me to adjust to my surroundings. Nevertheless, being bilingual helped me navigate through the difficulties,” said Hahn, a well-known member of the KPA. “Being bilingual really pays off. It allows you to interact with more people and appreciate the different cultures in the world. I hope that today’s students follow suit.”

The addition of Korean to the language options will provide a unique opportunity for our students to learn about the rich and diverse culture of Korea. Korean culture is rich in history, language, art, music, and cuisine. By learning the Korean language, students will gain a deeper appreciation of the country’s cultural heritage and its influence on the world. In the aforementioned survey, 94% of parents also strongly agreed that offering Korean could promote diversity, equity, and inclusion at the Tenafly Public Schools.

“With this article, I hope to raise awareness for this campaign,” said a member of the Korean Class Committee of the Tenafly KPA. “We want the district to know about our goal so we are being vocal about it.” The KPA’s campaign seems to have strong support from parents, and it remains to be seen if the campaign will prove successful in the near future.