Tech High School has been paving the way for students to expand their knowledge of world languages. While Spanish and French have been offered by the St. Cloud Area School District previously, next year they will be expanding their program to include Somali and Ojibwe as elective languages for all students. This would make the district potentially the first in the nation to offer a native Somali language course to secondary students.
The district has been focusing on prioritizing diversity as they serve a continuously changing student population, with 60% of students of color in the district compared to one in four students of color a decade ago, and 25% of students speaking Somali at home as their primary language.
Ekram Elmoge teaches Somali at Tech High School, Apollo High School, and North Junior High in the St. Cloud Area School District. She has 35 students in the Tech class.
“This class is amazing and it is an amazing opportunity for the students. It is not just about learning to speak and write fluently in Somali, but learning about culture as well. We spend time discussing options for their future and learning about career and college pathways. We have discussions about what is happening in their school community and St. Cloud community,” said Elmoge.
Students say this has been a beneficial learning experience. They have been able to expand their skills in the language while also getting to connect with other students who share similar interests.
“I took this class because I can speak and read in Somali, but I want to be able to write in my first language too. I like that we get to talk about issues that are happening in our community and how it affects us,” said 11th grade student Ahmed Jama.
Tech High School was the first in the state to offer a Somali language course to students.
“This class is an opportunity that is not happening everywhere. I feel fortunate to be able to take this class. In addition to learning how to read and write in Somali, we talk about issues that the community may shy away from. This class has a very good vibe when you walk in,” 11th grade student Zainab Hashi.
As the program evolves, there is potential opportunity for students to even earn college credit in the future. As a school within the Network for School Improvement, Tech High School is showing their commitment to achieving the aim of serving each and every student. Learn more!
*Tech High School is part of the Network for School Improvement