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Successful Newcomer Schools

By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Adolescent immigrants, newcomers entering American schools, understandably have a tough transition trying to master English, academics and our culture. For many, it’s their first formal schooling.

To help, The Center for Applied Linguistics researched 63 newcomer programs for promising practices, compiling them in a searchable database.

Highlighted is Columbus Global Academy, with 460 students, grades 6-12, half from Somalia, Burma, Iraq and Nepal. Instruction is primarily in English with a bilingual assistant in each class.

Administrators there believe that students advance better not just learning English, but on content as well. Instead of keeping students one or two years, they stay until graduation, so teachers get to know them better. Successful programs offer after school, weekend and summer sessions.
While three-quarters of the programs formerly were in urban areas, recent data show a shift — 52% in cities, 33% in suburbs and 14% in rural areas. With unlikely places gateways for newcomers, more educators must be trained for such service.

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