Ambassador Schools

    Ritenour School District Actions

    In 2016 the Ritenour school district started with a one classroom school for their foreign-born students learning English. This is due to the to the growing Hispanic enrollment into the district, growing from under 1 percent in the early 1990s to 17% in 2016. The school district started the International Welcome Center because staff at the schools began to see that ESL students were missing school, struggling to fit in and eventually dropping out.  With this growth in ESL students, Ritenour has added more ESL specialized teachers and have been hosting more school “international nights,” where students have the opportunity to showcase food and culture from different countries. Due to the increase in English language learners in the schools, Ritenour has also begun to offer free adult ESL classes as well as parenting programs and resources that are open to the public.

                    The center is really meant to serve as a transition school for students, providing intensive English language programming for up to two-years in order to transition students into Ritenour High or one of the middle schools. In addition to learning English, students are taught things like how to act in an American classroom, and how to follow classroom and school rules. The amount of time that a student spends at the center varies depending on the progression of the student in both English and math. In September of 2017 it was announced that in partnership with Webster University, Ritenour will be one of three school districts who will have their teachers certified in teaching for English language learners by Webster University’s education department. 120 regional teachers will be certified with this new $2.7 million grant awarded to Webster University in partnership with the International Institute of St. Louis, the St. Louis Mosaic Project as well as the other partnering school districts, Parkway and the St. Louis City Schools.