ST PAUL, Minn. — "St. Paul Public Schools is home to some of the most diverse schools in the state," said SPPS Superintendent Joe Gothard during a press conference Tuesday morning.
With dozens of families looking on, Superintendent Gothard, along with city and state leaders and district staff, introduced the latest school opening.
"I'm deeply honored to be here today and to stand before you as the new principal of St. Paul Public Schools' first program focused on East African language and cultures," said Dr. Abdisalam Adam, a principal and SPPS educator for the past 27 years.
The school will host pre-K through 5th-grade students with applications now open for the fall. Dr. Adam will now serve as the school's new leader.
"Our efforts have to focus on getting staff in place with Dr. Adam. We need to outreach to families," said Gothard.
The St. Paul School Board voted for six schools to close back in 2021.
The building housing the former Jackson Preparatory Elementary will now host the new school.
"That was our plan to consolidate some of our schools, but the informal part is, I drive by these schools all the time and it gnaws at me that it's empty," said Gothard.
While the goal is to hire more teachers and staff, along with registering new students.
"We know the work doesn't end today with this announcement, we know it begins today," said St. Paul Mayor, Melvin Carter.
They're hoping the new school will keep families in the district.
"What I do know is that there are thousands of students from East Africa in this community who choose schools other than SPPS," Gothard said. "What I do know is that we have seen dramatic enrollment decline in the last decade-plus," said Gothard. "One answer that schools have is this: 'What is it that the community is demanding?'"
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