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Maple Welcomes Arabic Language Teacher

raichoudhuri, abdelazziz and tehaniMaple Street Magnet School for the Arts was one of 19 schools selected through a nationwide competition to host a Teachers of Critical Language Program (TCLP) educator. 

Moulay Tahar Kettani from Morocco will teach at Maple Street Magnet School for the Arts for the academic year beginning this month. 

Wessam Abdelaziz, director of the department of Bilingual/ESL/World Languages for Kalamazoo Public Schools, said that Kettani is currently in Washington, D.C., participating in an orientation for his placement in Kalamazoo. 

KPS participated in a yearlong application process that drew more than 200 applications from across the United States, Abdelazziz said. The Kalamazoo application team included Abdelaziz, Maple Street Principal Dr. Jeffrey Boggan, mentor teacher Anna Gordana, and paraprofessional and community liaison Ursula Mayr. Gordana will be traveling to Washington to meet Kettani. 

Abdelaziz said a major part of the program is to help the teacher get to know Kalamazoo through community events and opportunities for social gatherings with Kalamazoo residents.

 In its application to the TCLP, KPS was interested in connecting with an Arabic-speaking teacher because Arabic is the second most-spoken foreign language in the district after Spanish. The hope is to build an Arabic program starting in middle school and to eventually develop a high-school program. 

TCLP is designed to increase the study and acquisition of important world languages in U.S. schools. This program enables primary and secondary schools to strengthen their teaching of critical languages by bringing teachers from across the world to the United States to teach their native Arabic and Chinese language for an academic year. Launched in 2006, TCLP has helped start or expand more than 220 critical language programs in K-12 schools throughout the country. 

In addition to receiving a native speaker of Mandarin or Arabic to teach language classes, students, teachers, and community members have the opportunity to learn about the TCLP exchange teachers’ home cultures, expanding their understanding of the world and preparing them for study and work in an interconnected world. Through TCLP, many schools establish lasting bonds with their exchange teachers’ home schools. 

TCLP is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, which builds relations between the people of the United States and the people of other countries through academic, cultural, sports, and professional exchanges, as well as public-private partnerships and mentoring programs. These exchange programs improve foreign relations and strengthen national security. 

TCLP is implemented by American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, an international nonprofit organization that prepares individuals and institutions to succeed in an increasingly interconnected world. Since 1974, the organization has responded to the needs of the communities where it works with hundreds of robust, international education programs.

Cutline: Superintendent Dr. Rita Raichoudhuri, Wessam Abdelazziz, and Moulay Tahar Kettani.