Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy Launches District’s First-Ever Japanese Language Program

Kimie Briem (pictured clockwise, upper left) will serve as a full-time Japanese instructor at Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy. Principal Eulonda Washington (upper right) and Dr. Margaret McKenzie, director of ESOL and World Languages, are also pictured.

In an effort to produce globally conscious college and career ready scholars and STEMinists, Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy (CSKYWLA) – a nationally STEM-certified school – will launch Atlanta Public Schools’ first-ever Japanese language program during the 2021-2022 school year.

Next fall, middle school students at CSKYWLA will rotate every nine weeks through an introductory session of each world language: German, French, Spanish, and now Japanese. In doing so, students will also exposed to the culture of each of language.

Thanks to funding support from the Japan Foundation, Kimie Briem will serve as the inaugural teacher for the Japanese program.

In addition to the Japanese language program, CSKYWLA will also offer karate in the fall. Both middle and high school students to graduate with black belts in karate.

Principal Eulonda Washington said the Japanese language program will provide CSKYWLA scholars with the exposure and experiences to compete against students who do not look like them and who live outside the 30218 zip code.

“In our efforts to support a globally conscious growth and grit mindset, we must create opportunities that will expose our scholars to various cultures so that they may experience the world outside of the community in which they reside,” Principal Eulonda Washington said. “AT CSK, we strive to provide the experiences and exposure needed for our students to embrace the languages of those countries that are our partners in everything STEM.”

Dr. Margaret McKenzie, director of ESOL and World Languages, said she is excited about the launch of the District’s first Japanese language program. She credits Washington’s tenacity and ardent support and advocacy for her students.

“I can’t think of a better school to launch this program. Principal Washington truly demonstrates unparalleled dedication and commitment to providing the young women of CSK unique opportunities that will poise them for success in college, career, and life in an increasingly global economy,” Dr. McKenzie said. “I am a former teacher of Japanese and lived and worked in Japan for three years. This makes me doubly excited…not only as the director for all world languages, but also as someone with a strong connection to the language and culture of Japan.”

Principal Washington said her next goal is to introduce Mandarin Chinese during the 2023-2024 school year. After being exposed to the different languages, CSKYWLA students will be scheduled in the preferred world language course and continue in that specific course through graduation in hopes of graduating with a seal of Biliteracy on their diplomas.

Washington said CSKYWLA is pursuing college and career readiness on a global level

“These opportunities are actually what makes the difference between a struggling learner and a high achiever,” she noted. “At Coretta Scott King, for every child who graduates, you will know that she is a CSKYWLA baby because she is a leading lady, she is globally conscious, and she will also be able to speak the language.”

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