GREAT BARRINGTON -- Monument Mountain Regional High School is currently laying the groundwork for a program that could give classes an international flair.
The high school has submitted an application through the federal Exchange Visitor Program to receive international students with an F-1 visa.
The Berkshire Hills Regional School District recently approved the high school to use $2,350 in loan funds from School Center Inc. to pay for the processing fee.
"I see another bridge between us, our school, our community and the world," said Principal Marianne Young. "I envision an opportunity for the students and teachers in this building to be studying aside different cultures and backgrounds. It could be another opportunity to broaden what a school day looks like here."
Young said the program is being considered following years of requests from residents in the district. The Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School recently received certification, and there also are private high schools that also accept international students, Young said.
It was still too early to know how many, or when, international students would participate, she said. The district would not be responsible for the students' housing.
"I think it's a good opportunity ... [and] it's a service that could be of value to our community as a whole and enrich our program at Monument," Young said. "If space allows, and we can provide a good education while accepting international students, that would be great."
Young said after the processing fee is paid the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE] would perform a site inspection before making a determination on the school's application.
The BHRSD School Committee is expected to discuss tuition fees for international students sometime in the future, said School Committee Chairman Stephen Bannon. He said the district can set the tuition rate.
"This whole idea is a win-win," Bannon said. "We get full tuition and our students get exposed to other cultures."
To reach John Sakata:
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