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TUSD receives $465,000 grant to expand Arabic language studies at two district schools

Posted July 1, 2013

Tucson Unified School District has received $465,000 in grant funding to grow Arabic language programs at Safford K-8 Magnet School and Cholla High Magnet School.

Arabic is offered as part of the schools' International Baccalaureate (IB) programs to provide students with college and career readiness in a global society. Arabic has been identified as a critical language among world language studies. Spanish is also taught in the IB program.

The grant will be used to fund teachers as the programs continue to grow. Qatar Foundation International had previously awarded Arabic language grants to TUSD totaling $55,000 for classroom materials and curriculum development for teachers.

"This grant allows us to increase our students choices of world languages available for study," says Ignacio Ruiz, TUSD's Director of Language Acquisition. "We are building world language capacity at our IB schools to create post high school opportunities for our graduates."

Access to such classes allows students to build a foundation for further studies. Two former Cholla High IB language students received full scholarships from the U.S. Department of Education to pursue higher education in foreign language and area studies.

Currently, there are approximately 100 students at Cholla and 125 students at Safford who are enrolled in Arabic language classes. TUSD's goal is to increase enrollment in the language courses to more than 400 students over the next five years.

Among other factors, TUSD was selected for the grant due to active involvement from both cultural and educational community members who support expansion of the program.

TUSD offers language studies in Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, French, German, Russian and Korean.

Qatar Foundation International is a Washington D.C.-based non-profit organization focused on grant giving to promote collaboration across geographical, social and cultural boundaries.