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Welcoming Newcomers

In challenging times, how schools are supporting immigrant and refugee children and families

America has always been a place for newcomers — and schools are where we lay out the welcome mat. Amid the challenges of political hostility, declining resources, and violent conflicts that fuel mass migration, educators stand at the forefront, opening their classrooms to an increasingly diverse and global population of students — immigrants, undocumented students, English learners, and refugees — from near and far.

In a special series, we look at the strategies and practices that best support these newcomer students and their families, sharing insights that educators and school leaders can use to guide their work.

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Migration, Separation, and Trauma

What educators should know about the often-painful experiences of newly arriving children — and how to help.

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Newcomer Students in Rural and Suburban Communities

Insights for school and district leaders on how to welcome and support today's new arrivals, amid shifting demographics.

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Multilingual Preschoolers: A Teacher's Guide

Young children are increasingly linguistically diverse. How can early childhood educators provide a safe, nurturing environment?

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Partnering with Newcomer Families

Strategies for educators working across language and cultural differences to make families feel at home in their new schools.

“Early education settings need to be places where dual-language learners and their families know that they have the ‘right to speak,’ that they will be heard with respect.”

– Paola Uccelli, professor, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Read more.

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Civics for Immigrant and Undocumented Students

In the new norms of 2018, here's how teachers can use civics lessons to support and empower newcomer students.

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For Refugees in America, an Unfulfilled Dream

What do refugee students need for lifelong success, and how can educators prepare them for inevitable challenges?

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Linguistically Responsive Teachers

What mainstream classroom teachers should know about teaching English learners.

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Undocumented Students and Mixed-Status Families

How teachers can create a safe and inclusive environment for students navigating immigration status concerns.

“Immigrant students have the determination, grit, perseverance, and problem-solving skills we say we value. So why aren’t their strengths better recognized? ”

– Jessica Lander, high school teacher, advocate for English learners
Read more.

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The Strengths of Immigrant Students

An asset-based approach to newcomer students, emphasizing what they have (not what they lack).

Bilingualism as a Life Experience

Bilingualism as a Life Experience

We’re learning that speaking two languages can strengthen executive function skills, such as attention control and problem solving.

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English Learner Questions? Ask a Researcher

Real teacher questions about academic vocabulary instruction and welcoming bilingualism, answered by specialists.


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