International students settling in

CLINTON — Pangaea International Academy students are in the midst of their first trimester in Clinton, with more students slated to come in the future, according to officials.

Clinton School District Superintendent Gary DeLacy said Friday that 15 international students began classes at Clinton High School on the district's first day Aug. 23. DeLacy also acknowledged a recent meeting that played host to discussions about more students arriving in time for the district's second trimester.

The superintendent explained that, while the former Ashford University campus, now known as the Six Arts International Education Park, is housing the students, its classrooms have yet to be used.

"We're still working through some things in order to open up those STEM labs and classrooms, but that should be resolved soon," DeLacy said. "For now, these students are receiving the core of their education at Clinton High School."

The international academy has a familiar face at the helm, it was announced last month. Former Clinton School District Superintendent Deb Olson was tapped to lead operations at the bluff-top campus. Olson's duties, she said, will be overseeing the curriculum of the organization. Those duties officially began Aug. 1.

With many of the students being freshmen and sophomores, according to DeLacy, they are taking "typical classes that our domestic underclassmen would take" at Clinton High School. The agreement signed by the district and the Confucius International Education Group to officially bring the students overseas accommodated staffing needs for an additional 72 students at CHS, so "there are no staffing issues there," DeLacy said.

A potential target date of Nov. 28 has been discussed for the second wave of students to begin, DeLacy said, though the number of students in that wave remains to be seen. For now, school officials are working with other entities to ensure that things such as housing and transportation for students already here continue to run as smoothly as they can.

"It's all about working together," DeLacy said. "Like I was saying, we're really focused on getting those STEM labs and classrooms available now. It shouldn't be long, obviously, but those really are state of the art, and the opportunities that they'll offer our students is something that is really exciting."