When Sheel Nelson, 11, arrived in Norwich from Haiti 16 months ago to join the father he hadn't seen in 10 years, he didn't speak or write any English. Ever since, Dawn Davis, the bilingual, English as a Second Language teacher at Moriarty Elementary School, has had the task of teaching him to become a proficient academic pupil. "When I saw her speaking my language I didn't believe it," Nelson said in describing his initial, nervous days in school. "I saw a white person speaking my language."
The number of undocumented immigrants coming to the United States has slowed, according to a Pew Hispanic Center report released today. The report, "Trends in Unauthorized Immigration: Undocumented Inflow Now Trails Legal Inflow," says that 800,000 undocumented immigrants were coming to the United States on average per year from 2000 to 2004. But from 2005 to 2008, the annual average fell to 500,000, with a decrease from year to year.
Noble Street College Prep is a remarkable example of what a school can do for kids who've never known success. The public high school in Chicago takes mostly poor and immigrant students. A hundred percent of the students graduate, and almost all go to some of the nation's top colleges.
The English-as-a-second-language program at San Antonio College is finding new ways to help students succeed. This past year, the ESOL department devised a program called English for an Academic Purpose that is focused on students whose first language isn't English, but who have lived in the U.S. for the last couple of years. The goal of the program is to keep those students from having to take developmental courses before they can enroll in college-level courses.
"Development of Hispanic Children in Immigrant Families: Challenges and Prospects" is the topic of Penn State's 16th Annual Symposium on Family Issues, to be held Oct. 23-24, 2008, on the University Park campus. Sixteen scholars from major institutions will integrate perspectives from multiple social sciences and address policy implications.
The stage is being set for changes in programs aimed at reaching students learning to speak English as their second language in Topeka Unified School District 501. The goal of the English Language Learner (ELL) program extends beyond helping students learn English, said Steve Henry, general director of research, evaluation and assessment.
Visitors to Berkeley High School's annual back-to-school night last Thursday might not remember the eight Latino students quietly handing out flyers to passers-by amid all the excitement of registering for different tutorials and after-school programs. Titled "I need your help!" the flyer asked community members to lobby the administration at Berkeley High to introduce diagnostic testing in Spanish for native speakers of the language immediately, something the school currently lacks but is working to implement, school authorities said.
For more than a decade, as the immigration debate has swelled on both sides of the border, the Mexican government has been quietly providing money, materials and even teachers to American schools, colleges and nonprofit organizations. The programs aren't substitutes for U.S. curricula, but educators familiar with them say they provide a lifeline for adult students with little formal education by helping them become literate in Spanish — and by extension, English.
Martina Perez is preparing her 4th graders for one of the most basic experiments in science, but she wants to review some basic English vocabulary with them first. Then the teacher at Gratigny Elementary School introduces the children, many of whom have grown up speaking Creole, to a hands-on activity on electricity and magnetism, a lesson that presents them with a host of new and unfamiliar words. But rather than avoid that linguistic challenge, Ms. Perez embraces it.
Azucena Mata has a hard time helping her three daughters with homework because of the English language barrier. "From what I've learned, I can help them a little bit," said the 31-year-old Mata as translated by English language learner (ELL) teacher Maureen Peters. "If I could learn to write and read better (in English), that would be great."