updated: 2/5/2013 1:36:00 PM

Kokomo Schools Planning More International Housing

InsideINdianaBusiness.com Report

Plans are in the works to add a second set of exchange student dormitories at Kokomo High School. The Kokomo-Center Consolidated School Corp. plans to upgrade a downtown building to house more than a dozen female students.

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The school system opened a dorm for males about a year ago.

February 4, 2013

News Release

KOKOMO, Ind. - The Kokomo-Center Board of School Trustees approved a 7-year lease to include the facility at 201 E. Superior Street for the purposes of a girls' international residence hall in addition to the facility at 207 E. Superior for the boys' international residence hall and the address at 204 S. Union Street for the host family area.

"Tonight's approval to open a girls' international residence hall for the 2013-2014 school year is another step in Kokomo's quest to increase cultural diversity at our schools and expand educational options for our students," Kokomo Schools Superintendent, Dr. Jeff Hauswald, said. "Most exciting is that this unique opportunity further expands Kokomo Schools' international programs including the International Baccalaureate program and our student exchanges."

Dr. Hauswald explained that the girls’ international residence hall (like the boys' international residence hall opened in 2012-2013) will be funded through the tuition and fees paid by the international students. He added that Kokomo-Center administrators have met with international placement organizations and realize that a girls' residence hall will allow a greater number of international students to attend Kokomo High School for the 2013-2014 school year.

Central International Middle School Principal Mike Sargent, who oversees the international exchange programs, welcomes more international students to Kokomo.

"As Kokomo High School expands international student programs, students at KHS will continue to foster relationships and learn from them," Mr. Sargent said. "Students interacting and developing positive relationships with students around the world is an important skill necessary to being competitive in our global economy."

Dr. Hauswald explained to the Board that many unique opportunities have become available because of Kokomo-Center's work with international education.

"Kokomo Schools continues to establish international partnerships in an attempt to expand our cultural understanding while developing relationships with schools around the world," Dr. Hauswald said. "During the 2012-2013 school year, Kokomo has hosted (or will host) visitors from Costa Rica, South Korea, China, and England."

Exploration will continue concerning "sister school" exchanges as the first official partnership takes place this semester between Central International Middle School and the Biddick School Sports College near Manchester, England. This initial partnership will allow 7th-grade students from England to study at Central Middle School in March while Kokomo-Center 7th-grade students will travel to England to study at the Biddick School in June.

"Kokomo Schools also recently signed an agreement with the Dongyang Foreign Language School as part of the sister city agreement between the City of Kokomo and Dongyang, China," Dr. Hauswald noted. "This agreement encourages the two school to collaborate with teachers and students through online learning opportunities."

McKinley Principal Heidi Gutwein, who oversees the international residence halls, believes adding a girls' facility contributes to the corporation’s vision of accepting global exchanges through a culture of excellence and achievement.

"Our KHS and International students have the opportunity to live, grow, and promote a peaceful world through acceptance and understanding of each other's cultures," Ms. Gutwein said. "Adding a girls' residence hall to our community contributes to Kokomo-Center's vision of accepting global exchanges through a culture of excellence and achievement."

Kokomo Schools can offer this unique program because it is an accepted organization that can educate students on F-1 visas. Kokomo High School still serves foreign-exchange students on J-1 visas, but F-1 visa students select KHS for their education.

"Students (with F-1 visas) select Kokomo High School for the depth of classes and programs offered - including 17 AP classes, the IB program, and dual credit classes - to earn credits from Kokomo High School; and often times, graduate with a KHS diploma," Dr. Hauswald said. "The residence hall option provides a unique, caring, and safe atmosphere for students who choose KHS. This program also is a positive economic development initiative as these relationships will hopefully encourage long-range relationships that can spur business growth in Kokomo."

The first international students on F-1 visas were accepted during the 2012-2013 school year, which led to the creation of four additional Advanced Placement (AP) classes at Kokomo High School. KHS students from Bolivia, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, and Vietnam are living at the boys' residence hall, which opened at the beginning of this school year.

"Most importantly, these developments have allowed Kokomo High School to increase its diversity, while providing all our students the opportunity to learn about international cultures from students around the world," Dr. Hauswald said. "The realization of a girls' residence hall will allow a greater number of international students to attend KHS for the 2013-2014 school year.

Source: The Kokomo-Center Consolidated School Corp.

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