The Columbus Global Academy is a unique English as a Second Language (ESL) school for recent immigrant and refugee students who have limited English abilities. A part of the Columbus City School District, the school currently serves 136 middle school students and 336 high school students from ages 11-22. Students at the Columbus Global Academy are from over 50 different countries and represent 35 native languages. The largest single group of students at the school is from Somalia, while Spanish (representing several countries) is the most common native language.
Many of the students at the Columbus Global Academy have recently arrived in the United States from refugee camps or countries torn apart by war, famine or natural disasters. Though the students often have little formal education and face many challenges, the faculty and staff at the Columbus Global Academy work hard to create a positive learning environment. Mrs. Kimberly Normand, the Principal at the Columbus Global Academy, and Dr. Brenda Custodio, the Assistant Principal, have led the staff as they help students to dramatically improve in their academic studies, while also empowering them to be successful members of the community.
Mrs. Normand, Dr. Custodio and the teachers at the Columbus Global Academy have also welcomed the Cincinnati FBI as a partner with the school. The Division has worked with students in an effort to strengthen relations with local ethnic communities in central Ohio and to mentor at-risk youth who may be more vulnerable to radicalization, gang membership or other unlawful activity.
For the past two years, the Cincinnati Division has held an FBI Teen Academy at the school. Students have learned about the work of Special Agents, seen evidence response and recovery techniques, learned about online safety and viewed a SWAT presentation. FBI employees and their families have also volunteered at the Columbus Global Academy, participated in Career Day presentations and served on the school’s Community Advisory Council to develop academic and extracurricular opportunities for the students.
Principal Kimberly Normand recently accepted the Director’s Community Leadership Award from SAC Hanko on behalf of the school. A formal ceremony at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. is scheduled to take place on Friday, March 16, 2012.