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First school year underway at St. Paul's new East African Magnet School

Wednesday September 13, 2023

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Tuesday marks one week since St. Paul's new East African Magnet School officially opened its doors to hundreds of students.

The school is now home to students pre-K through fifth grade and focuses on the cultures and languages of East Africa, specifically the countries of Dijbouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda, and the languages of Somali, Amharic, Oromo, Tigrinya, Arabic and Swahili.

The district surpassed its enrollment goal of 240 students to have around 260 students enrolled for the new year. Roughly one-third of its teaching staff is of East African descent.

St. Paul Public Schools is home to some of the most diverse schools in the state, with East African students making up approximately 7.5% of the district's K-12 enrollment. That's approximately 2,400 students. According to census data, 2.7% of the population in the Twin Cities metro area speaks an East African language at home.

District leaders said a majority of students and teachers at the East African Elementary Magnet school have come from outside of the district.  

WCCO's Pauleen Le spent the morning checking in with the school's principal, Dr. Abdisalam Adam, on how the new year is going so far.

She also met with fifth grade teacher Emily Patzer, WINN Teacher Heidi Nakatani and second grade teacher Bee Lor to hear about their excitement in the year ahead.

Pauleen also caught up with Khalid El-Amin, a Minneapolis native and North Community High School graduate who went on to win a national championship with the University of Connecticut and had a successful career playing in the NBA and across Europe. El-Amin is now back to pay it forward as a physical education teacher.

The school is still accepting students for the 2023-2024 school year. To learn more about enrollment, click here.


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