Hundreds of Taiwanese students joined Phoenix schools as TSMC facilities expand in Arizona

Jun 6, 2024, 9:08 AM | Updated: Jun 7, 2024, 9:24 am

Almost 300 Taiwanese students have come due to TSMC plants...

Almost 300 Taiwanese students have come due to TSMC plants, according to an English language coordinator with Deer Valley Unified School District. (File photos: TSMC, left, Pexels, right)

(File photos: TSMC, left, Pexels, right)

PHOENIX — Hundreds of Taiwanese students have come to the Valley with their parents who work for the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.

The chip manufacturing company worked closely with the Deer Valley Unified School District to enroll transferred workers’ children, according to Beverly Kerr, an English learner coordinator with the district.

“Most of them have come with us,” Kerr told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Thursday.

Students started arriving in November of 2022, she said.

How many Taiwanese students have joined Valley schools?

“The chip manufacturing plant chartered six planes to bring the families over in waves every two weeks,” Kerr said.

Four of those planes came from Nov. 1 through winter break in 2022. After the holiday break, two more planes arrived.

“In total, we got 282 students from Taiwan all kind of at the same time,” Kerr said.

She isn’t sure if more families are coming to the Valley, though. To her knowledge, TSMC hasn’t told the district how many more students will come.

However, she said that some families aren’t here to stay.

“It appears that some of the families come, they have a specific job that they have to do in the building and construction of the plant, and then they leave and then new people come in,” Kerr said.

That means the district is starting to see some of the students cycle in and out, she added.

“But after that first bulk of kids came — that 282 — we’ve had since then about 40 more students come in just in the last year and a half,” Kerr said.

How is TSMC changing metro Phoenix?

This giant chipmaker is building a huge campus in north Phoenix. Engineering wafer production is already underway in its first factory, or fab. This fab will supply computer chips to Apple.

Full operations are set to begin in the first half of 2025. Additionally, the company’s second fab in north Phoenix is set to begin production in 2026 or 2028.

There’s also a third semiconductor facility coming before the end of the decade.

All of this expansion will be a boon to the economy, according to Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, who said the TSMC facilities will bring well-paying jobs to the Valley for years to come.

Kerr said TSMC’s growing presence in the Valley benefits students as well as workers.

“It’s been beneficial, I think, to the American students or native English speakers because they’re getting to see a different perspective of the world and understanding that people are people regardless of where they come from,” Kerr said.

Furthermore, administrators have worked with teachers on professional development when it comes to teaching English to the oncoming students. This way, issues associated with the language barrier won’t negatively impact English-speaking students, she said.

“The teachers can continue to move, at the same rate that they’ve always moved, just with those extra layers of support within the instruction,” Kerr said.

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Hundreds of Taiwanese students joined Phoenix schools as TSMC facilities expand in Arizona