A new program in Sioux Falls is helping students earn their high school diplomas.

There’s nothing traditional about the new Multicultural Academy. From the students to the learning environment, this new school is providing a different kind of individualized instruction giving students hope for future success.

“Business man, that’s my dream,” Jhulendra Adhikari said.

“I will be a nurse,” Buloze Mastaki said.

“I hope to become an officer, a police officer,” Kul Chapagai added.

These students like many others at the Multicultural Academy have some big dreams. But because of their age, prior schooling or limited literacy skills they’re taking a non-traditional path to getting their high school diplomas.

“You have to progress on a faster path in order to graduate because most of them want to go on to college,” Academy Director Marcia Gaudet said.
“I came here because I want to finish high school,” Pendeza Amisi said.

Students like Pendeza are taking advantage of this new atmosphere. Here, students move at their own pace. There are four teachers that lead group instruction. Students also use laptops to work independently or one-on-one with teachers.

“I like it and I love it because they help me so much,” Pendeza Amisi added.

“One of the fun things about this environment is that the students are so engaged because they’re responsible for their learning. They go online and it won’t just happen,” Gaudet said.

Students get four hours of intensive language instruction in addition to academics. The year-round school helps these students graduate faster.

“I like this school because when I go to high school it will take me to graduate two years. So I will graduate from here in just 11 months,” Kul Chapagai said.

But students here at the Multicultural Academy aren’t the only ones walking away enlightened.

“I have learned to appreciate what an easy life we have in the U.S. When they talk about the stories of where they’ve come from and what they’ve been through, I have learned that we have a great deal to be thankful for here,” Gaudet said.

The Academy is a partnership among the Sioux Falls School District, the Multi-Cultural Center and Ombudsman Educational Services.

Students receive their diploma and graduate from one of the school district’s high schools.

Learn more about the Sioux Falls Multicultural Academy (MCA) here.