Hundreds of students are seated in a gym on a recent weekday at Shawnee High School. They just wrapped up the morning portion of the ESL Newcomer Academy’s 11th Global Homecoming Exhibition. The gym is filled with tables showing multicultural student projects, and there are also performances throughout the day.
The 600 or so students that attend JCPS’ ESL Newcomer Academy are from places such as Angola, Rwanda, Cuba, Iran and Tanzania. And right now, they’re spread out among four different schools. But next year, they’ll all be consolidated in one location: the Phoenix School of Discovery in the Buechel neighborhood.
The move is part of JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio’s plan for his first 100 days, which he announced last month. Listen to the player above to hear students and teachers speak about how this consolidation will affect English-language learners.