The Newcomers’ Academy is a transitional Small Learning Community dedicated to providing those students that are new to our country with a welcoming environment while simultaneously providing a rigorous academic program. Our students come to us from all over the world. The majority come from Spanish speaking countries such as Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador, but we have students from the Philippines, Korea, Viet Nam, Thailand, Armenia, and other countries as well.
The students in the Newcomers’ Academy are provided with a double block of ESL using the “High Point” curriculum, which offers rigorous standards-based instruction in reading and language arts. This program is designed to help English language learners accelerate their growth in language and literacy. Students in the Newcomers’ Academy take classes in ESL until they’ve completed the High Point Program which typically takes three years. Those students in ESL 3 and 4 receive credit for English 9A and B. Additionally these students are provided with information about the other small learning communities here at Poly, so that they can choose an SLC that best reflects their career interests upon completion of the ESL program.
The Newcomers’ Small Learning Academy provides Spanish speaking students with instruction in their primary language in world history, biology, and math in order to prevent these students from falling behind academically, and to enable them to receive credits for graduation. The students for whom we are not able to provide instruction in their primary language are placed in sheltered classes.
In addition to providing our students with a highly structured academic program, we also provide guidance and support in their sometimes difficult transition to a new country where the customs, language, and education systems can seem bewildering and intimidating. We offer field trips to provide exposure to the cultural amenities found in their adoptive country. Additionally students are provided with Newcomer Academy assemblies and celebrations to build community, provide incentives, and rewards for outstanding achievement.