For international understanding, you can’t beat the opportunity when elementary students learn from diverse cultures at school on a daily basis. With twenty three diverse cultures represented in one school, students have many opportunities to share their languages and customs with one another
At Jefferson Elementary school in DeKalb, Il. Principal Cristy Meyer is keenly aware of what a diverse school she runs.
Jefferson is the designated DeKalb School District 428 school for English language learner students. While some of those students could be from DeKalb, many have come other countries such as Turkey, South Korea, Kosovo or Spain.
Jefferson, 211 McCormick Drive in DeKalb is the designated DeKalb School District 428 school for English language learner students. While some of those students could be from DeKalb, many have come other countries such as Turkey, South Korea, Kosovo or Spain.
“We have a little League of Nations here,” said Meyers. “I think about how rich of an education they’re getting here. They have a little slice of the world.”
Having a 25-person class with students from nine different countries is pretty standard at Jefferson, Meyer said, adding that kindergarten classes are often the most diverse. Of Jefferson’s 280 students, 80 are English language learners.
Jefferson’s diversity means students there get enhanced, sometimes impromptu, lessons on other cultures, while staff sometimes have different challenges. For example, Jefferson leaders are seeking a language tutor who speaks Vietnamese.
Also, many schools throughout DeKalb County have multicultural lessons, foreign exchange students and special programs geared toward students whose native language is Spanish.
In Sycamore School District 427, the cultures curriculum expands the experiences of older students, culminating in a mandatory, yearlong world cultures class in their freshman or sophomore year of high school.
“We want students to have a global understanding,” said District 427 Curriculum Director Kristine Webster. “Oceans and country lines don’t separate us anymore.”