At the Worthington Globe, Julie Buntjer reports in Worthington classrooms respond to student worries about America’s future:
Teachers working in the English Learners (EL) classrooms in District 518 faced a barrage of questions and concerns from their students on Wednesday, hours after Donald Trump was declared the victor in the U.S. presidential election.
Trump, who has repeatedly threatened to build a wall between the United States and Mexico, as well as deport an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants back to their home country, has some students concerned — even fearful — about their future.
Karen Balsley-Omot is a sixth-grade EL teacher at Worthington Middle School. On Wednesday, she spent time in each of her classes talking about the outcome of the presidential race.
“I didn’t even have to ask about the election and they said they were feeling terrible and stressed out,” she said after school on Wednesday.
Among the questions her students asked were: “Why does Trump hate us?”, “How will this affect my family?”, “What happens now?”, “Is the wall going to keep me from visiting family?”
“There were a lot of fears with just not knowing,” Balsley-Omot said. “They just don’t understand.”
In one of her classes Wednesday, Balsley-Omot was asked if a Muslim friend of one of her students was going to be able to come to school again. . . .
Read the whole article at the Daily Globe.
According to a database on the Minneapolis Star Tribune's website, 54 percent of students in the Worthington Public Schools live in households where the primary language was something other than English.
In 2013, Sioux Falls-based Keloland Television reported in Diversity Runs Deep:
"We have a very unique population of students in Worthington," Worthington High School Principal Paul Karelis said.
If you step in the halls, you will see students of different backgrounds working together for one goal.
"It doesn't matter what nationality our kids come from, in our school district they don't necessarily see color. They don't see different nationalities. They don't see different kids. They are kids and they are all working to do well and create opportunities for themselves," Worthington School District Superintendent John Landgaard said.
Landgaard has been superintendent for the past decade and says he never thought the school would transform into this.
"There's been a dramatic change in our student population, over that time period and about a year ago someone referred to our school as an international school," Landgaard said. "That's a benefit for our kids. They have the opportunity to work with a number of students."
Hispanic, Karen, Native American and Asian, the administration prides themselves on working and learning together.
"There are numerous languages spoken along with different dialects within that language that not only presents opportunities for our district, but also challenges," Landgaard said.
Of the 2,700 students in the district, 68 percent are diverse, but that doesn't set anyone a part.
"Our staff and our students no longer see the color of skin and every kid is expected to elevate themselves to the highest possible level," Karelis said. "We have 28 different languages, approximately 28 different languages in the building right now. It's really unique to be able to walk down to the lunch room at lunch time and see 200 students seating together eating lunch and there are combinations of kids from all over the country and the world." . . .
According to election results posted at the Minnesota Secretary of State's website, 61.38 percentage of voters casting ballots in Nobles County (home to Worthington) cast their ballots for Donald Trump.
Photo: Students on the first day of classes, Fall 2016 at Worthington Middle School. Buntjer reports that 67 percent of the students at the school are immigrants or refugees, or the children of immigrants or refugees. Photo by . via Worthington Globe
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