Tammy Mutasa, NBC 5 Garland Reporter
A charter school opening in Garland will emphasize international cultures and languages. International Leadership of Texas will require students to master English, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese.
A charter school opening in Garland will emphasize international cultures and languages.
The International Leadership of Texas' curriculum will require students to master three languages -- English, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese.
"As a Spanish-speaking parent, that's really important to me, but a third skill would open the doors and broaden their horizons," parent Deyanira Lopez said.
"If our kids have the leadership skills and the language skills to communicate with over 3 billion folks on this planet, it's going to make us more internationally competitive," said Eddie Conger, school superintendent and former Dallas school district administrator.
"If you research the economics of Texas, our top three trading partners [are] Canada, Mexico and China," he said.
Nearly 1,300 students from kindergarten to eighth grade will attend the school when it opens.
The school, which administrators hope to open by August, broke ground on Thursday. There's already a wait list for grades kindergarten through six.
"It's going to be a great thing," Lopez said. "I'm really excited that my kids are going to the first ones."
School leaders are also planning a nearby high school and a location in Arlington.
"It's going to offer what a private school offers, but it's free for me, so I am really excited," Lopez said.
Garland Mayor Ronald E. Jones said the school is a good addition to the city, where, according to city statistics, Hispanics and Asians make up nearly 50 percent of the population.
"Garland is indeed an international city," he said. "Having a school that represents the international flavor and makeup of this city is a perfect fit."