A growing community of Somali immigrant families in St. Cloud, Minnesota, has presented multiple challenges for local educators who have been dealing with not only how to meet the students' linguistic and educational needs, but also how to create a learning environment where they feel safe and welcome.
Watch the video and answer the questions below.
1 What number is the district where Bashar and Ahme work?
2 Why did the Hassans leave Somalia?
3 What do they do at St. Cloud apart from bridging the cultural gap?
4 How many Somali students does St Cloud have?
5 How will you succeed, accoridng to Ahmed?
This is one community, with a different culture. It's a very diverse city. People who live in this city came from different parts of the world.
We are this community. And we are this community that's changing and growing, and continuing to grow and continuing to change.
This is who I am. I want people to understand who I am, but also I don't want to abandon from my culture, who I am. My name is Ahmed Hassan, I'm a Bi-lingual Communication Support Specialist at Talahi Community School, for the district 742.
My name is Bashar Hassan. I work for the St. Cloud area school district 742 as a Bi-lingual Communication Support Specialist.
- My name is Bashar Hassan.
- My name is Ahmed Hassan.
- I'm also a son.
- I'm a son.
- And older brother.
- And an older brother.
I was born in Somalia. Grew up in Kenya as a refugee migrant. I came to Kenya in 1991 from when the Civil War broke out in Somalia. I lived in Kenya as a refugee migrant for 17 years.
Finally, I get the opportunity to come to the United States of America. There's no question that whenever you are starting a new life, there's always a challenging. There are a lot of people like Shadehe who are new to this country every day. And when they go to the schools, they need someone who understands their language, someone who knows their culture, someone who actually bridge that gap.
This is an awesome growth.
I do a lot of interpreting, a lot of translation. I also work with pretty much everyone in the building as needed, and also I'm here to bridge that gap of cultural differences between the school personnel and the community.
I'll be speaking both in English and Somali here today, whenever we have new students who don't speak English, what's our role? I mean what's our job? You're job as a leader in the classroom is to help interpret for that person if you…
It's extremely important, first for the community, to see that we are hiring staff that mirrors our community. And we can't do that if we don't hire staff that speak Somali, are Somali. Of those students in the program that I have, we probably have about 1,750 of our students who are Somali. So they're really bringing unique perspectives, their bringing languages, their bringing all kinds of things to our classrooms that we have to really make sure that we value and we show the community that we value, so we build that relationship.
It's good to have someone who speaks your language and who knows your culture, to be here in the district and in the community. I'm really proud to serve this community and to be who I am today. It's not an easy thing, but if you have the courage and the intention to do what you're doing, you will succeed.
H/T to Larry Ferlazzo.