Students in St. Cloud now have new language elective options. The Star Tribune reported that Somali and Ojibwe are being offered as language studies in St. Cloud Public Schools starting next school year:

The move comes after the St. Cloud school district this fall introduced what is thought to be the first native Somali language course in the state — and possibly the nation — for secondary students.

The native Somali course is meant to improve writing skills in those students' native language, which in turn builds school and language skills. Immigrant kids might have had an interruption in their education in their transition to America, and this course is designed to help bridge that gap, and get them on track to better education.

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Lori Posch, executive director of learning and teaching for St. Cloud schools, told the Star Tribune that it just made sense for the schools to offer these courses, and the goal is to make sure they see their students represented in the courses they offer.

As for the Ojibwe language course, that one was chosen to be added because a few other schools in the state started to offer it, and if it goes well, the Dakota language curriculum could be added down the road as well.

I think it is so great that these language courses are being offered to students in our area. You don't just learn how to speak a different language when you take these classes, you learn about their culture and way of life, giving you a deeper understanding of the world around you, and that knowledge is invaluable. The more we learn about cultures other than our own, the better we can understand and love our neighbors.

Check out the full Star Tribune article on these new language electives here. 

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