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Gwinnett Daily Post

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Japanese school moving to county

By Gayle S. Putrich Staff Writer

DORAVILLE ? A Japanese school dedicated to educating bilingual and bicultural children will soon make the move to Gwinnett County.
Seigakuin Atlanta International School has plans  to purchase a building currently being used as a church in the 5500 block of Winter's Chapel Road in the western corner of the county, near the DeKalb County line. Seigakuin has been located on the campus of Oglethorpe University since its establishment in 1990.
 
The purchase is expected to close in early October, said a local real estate agent brokering the deal, and the county has already given Seigakuin the nod. If the acquisition and renovations go according to plan, Seigakuin's 54 students will attend their kindergarten through sixth-grade classes in Gwinnett.
The location was chosen because it is central and easily accessible for the families sending children there, said Minako Ahearn, a Seigakuin spokeswoman. The student body is made up of a mix of children, some from visiting Japanese families who will eventually return to Japan, some who are Japanese-American and others who are American but whose parents want them to have a bilingual, bicultural education.
Locally, Seigakuin operates as a non-profit institution, relying entirely on tuition of between  $5,000 and $7,000.
 
The school is one of only two in the United States accredited by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports Science and Technology. The other is located in Los Angeles.
Seigakuin was established in 1903 in Japan. Since then it has grown to include elementary junior high and high schools, a university and a graduate school on three campuses. In addition to the Atlanta campus, one campus is located in Tokyo proper and another in the city's suburbs. Worldwide enrollment is about 6,000 students.
Gayle S. Putrich can be reached via e-mail at gayle.putrich@gwinnettdailypost.com

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