Immigration is transforming the Grapevine-Colleyville school district near Fort Worth. In the last decade, it has seen its overall student population shrink while the number of non-white students doubled. It’s the latest story in a KERA American Graduate series called Generation One.
One in three Texas kids is either an immigrant or the child of immigrants. Over the next several weeks, KERA will explore the challenges these kids face and the ways North Texas schools are trying to weave them into the American tapestry.
These kids have to learn a new language, adapt to a different culture and try to fit into a community that may not embrace newcomers.
Chapter 2: Going From Spanish (Or Urdu Or Arabic) To English
The second story in the series takes a look at how the Grapevine-Colleyville school district is responding to the dramatic demographic changes.
In recent years, the number of students learning English — they’re called English language learners — has climbed 60 percent.
The district partnered with the police department to create the Grapevine Community Outreach Center. And the district launched the Language Assessment Center over the summer. Kids who aren’t native English speakers get tested at the center and are then placed in the right language program.
Of the students learning English in Grapevine-Colleyville, most speak Spanish. But kids also speak Korean, Urdu, Hindi, Arabic and Ukrainian.
“Learning a language is not easy, whether you’re 5 or whether you’re 45,” says Jodi Cox, the district’s world languages director.
Chapter 1: In A Land Of Strangers, Paving His Own Path
The first story features David Kapuku. Just two weeks after arriving from Africa, David enrolled at Conrad High School in Northeast Dallas. He started school in a new country where students speak a different language. It can be overwhelming. Now, a year and a half later, David is helping other refugee kids making the transition.
About the series
Each Tuesday through the end of the year, stories will air on KERA 90.1 FM. Explore the stories in KERA’s digital storytelling project, which features videos and an interactive graphic showing where Texas’ foreign-born population comes from.
Generation One is part of KERA’s American Graduate initiative.