Learn their stories


Newcomers come into school with a story that they have not shared yet. Ask them to share, learn their story why their family came here, what their interests are, goals they might have for their life. Provide emotional support for these students. Be the person that the student checks in with during a formal or informal setting. Check-ins can provide students with the following benefits:

  • Offers a sense of stability, minimizes fear of acculturation, provides companionship to bolster student’s sense of belonging and contribution to the school and community
  • Helps student focus their efforts to achieve social emotional and academic success
  • Offers consistent communication to help strengthen relations among families, students, schools, and the community
  • Offers regular support for the student
  • Provides a one-on-one opportunity to speak with adults in an informal, confidential environment
  • Establishes a reciprocal sense of trust and caring
  • Allows adults to work with teachers and support staff to connect student with relevant services and supports
  • Provides opportunities to strengthen problem-solving skills, attitudes, and experiences in ways that help students become engaged learners and members of their new community

If you cannot speak their home language and/or can’t find another staff person or student who can, using Google Translate is a very viable option. Using the audio translation mode, it will automatically provide verbal interpretation. It’s not perfect by any means, but you should be able to have a basic conversation.

Please keep in mind that student performance is not tied to their ability to learn content. Some students carry baggage with them that will only share when asked and may be in the way of their learning. There are students who are here on asylum, some whose parents have sent them here because they wanted a better or safer life for their child, some students move between states working in the field, and students may be living with a Tia or Tio, but remember they all have the ability to learn when they feel valued by someone in a safe setting.


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