Fremont Unified School District's Board of Education voted unanimously last month to approve Islamic Center of Fremont Arabic Academy as a private school offering a three-year course of study alternative for students in effective this school year.
The academy is separate from the Islamic School at Kennedy High School and will focus only on a three-year language acquisition program that also includes education on Arabic culture worldwide. The courses are modeled after ones currently offered at Ohlone College.
The proposal was reviewed as submitted by a professor of Arabic at the University Of California Department Of Near Eastern Studies and by a professor of Arabic from the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures at California State University at Northridge. Both recommended adoption of the proposal.
Many Fremont students and parents addressed the board on Sept. 9, asking it to approve Arabic to be taught in the district.
Superintendent Jim Morris added that with the closure of Families of Alameda for Multi-Cultural/Multi-Lingual Education Charter School's three campuses, which offered Arabic and a dual-immersion program for that language, this was a great way to provide Arabic instruction to students in the district.
At an open house, 70 families attended and 24 students signed up for the Arabic classes, a number that district staff expects to grow.
The courses will be included among 12 other world language courses which involve teaching Chinese, Tamil, Farsi, Japanese and Hindi, previously approved by the board for after-school or weekend instruction.