“St. Paul’s Elementary School in East Africa Flabbergasts Community with Enthusiastic Approval!”
The anticipation is palpable as the East African Elementary Magnet School gears up to open its doors this fall. The school, located in Frogtown, has been vacant for a year, but supporters of the groundbreaking new institute are eagerly awaiting its launch. The likes of St. Paul Public Schools Superintendent, Joe Gothard, Principal Abdisalam Adam and prominent community leaders, including Mayor Melvin Carter and State Rep. Samakab Hussein, shared their excitement on Tuesday at the school site, dressed in traditional African attire. The event signaled an official announcement of the news Gothard had quietly shared with staff members the previous week. There are plans to concentrate on Somali, Amharic, Oromo, Tigrinya, Arabic and Swahili languages and cultural awareness in the curriculum. As the state’s second-largest district, St. Paul Public Schools has a considerable number of East African students (about 2,400 or 7.5% of its K-12 enrollment), so officials view the magnet school as an opportunity to attract new students from within and outside the district. This approach has been successful with the district’s Mandarin, Spanish and French immersion programs, which have attracted students from neighboring areas. The East African Elementary Magnet School is a turning point for St. Paul to fulfill the community’s desires and offer hope and belief through diversity, culture and heritage.