Frequently Asked Questions
What is the purpose of the International Newcomers Academy?
The purpose of the International Newcomers Academy (INA) is to provide students who are Pre-functional/Beginners in English (LAU A) opportunities to accelerate the acquisition of the new language and to acclimate to the new culture and school district, by providing intensive English language immersion experiences in a structured sheltered learning environment, by highly-qualified certified instructional staff.
Who is eligible to attend the school?
The school design and entrance criterion is to service students in grades PreK-12th Grade who have resided less than one year in the US, have not been educated in US Schools, and score at the pre-functional/beginning level on a test of English language acquisition.
How long do students stay at INA?
- Students in PreK-K remain in INA for two full school years.
- Students in Grades 1-8 remain for one to two full school years.
- Students in Grades 9-12 may remain to graduation upon choice.
What is the Exit Criteria for students?
- Completion of one or two full years at the school
- Teacher recommendations
- Formal and informal observations
- English-Language Development Observation Checklist
- Standardized test scores- OTELA, NWEA, OAA, OGT, Imagine Learning
- Student's portfolio of class work
- Parent Conferences/Contracts
What are the Academic Goals of the instructional design offered at INA to prepare students for transition to mainstream classrooms?
- Students' attainment of English as a Second Language skills in the four domains (Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing) to be able to participate and access the grade level curriculum
- Achieve academic gains of a minimum of one grade level in core academic content areas
- Achieve Beginning or above in the domains of Listening and Speaking on the OTELA tests and at least a 5 point gain on the OTELA Composite score
- Provide a flexible instructional curriculum that responds to students' language and cultural needs
- Increase cultural acclimation through exposure of varied enrichment activities
- Develop students' learning and metacognitive strategies to achieve success
- Provide students a comprehensive support system in collaboration with internal and external providers via Humanware initiatives
- provide opportunities to effectively acclimate parents and families to the community and to it's available resources
What specific intervention strategies are offered at INA to prepare students for transition to grade level mainstream classrooms?
- Five daily instructional periods of intensive sheltered English instruction using scientific research based strategies integrating grade level content
- Targeted individualized support for refugees and students with interruptions in formal schooling and for students with special needs
- Native language support by Bilingual paraprofessionals
- Technology assisted programs and resources
- After-School Tutorial Services
- Summer School Enrichment Program
How are parents and students informed of eligibility for exit and what support is offered?
Parents and student conferences are he'd at the end of the school year where parents receive an official letter of determination of continuing for one additional year or notification of exit from the programs with review of all documents and data that determine the decision. All options for school assignment are discussed with parents with interpreters.
Can parents opt to have students not enrolled, or exit early, or opt to retain students past the two years in INA?
Enrollment at INA is not mandatory for eligible students. Parents can opt out of the program and have their child assigned to the school of choice. Parents are provided comprehensive orientation to support their decision-making.
Can a student stay longer than 2 years in grades K/8 at INA, if a parent wants?
Research on second language development does not support isolation of English Learners from bilingual or native English speakers for longer periods. Under unique special circumstances exceptions have been made for students to remain one consecutive school year based on critical parent request and teachers' input supported by academic data.
What are students in grades 9-12 able to stay more than 2 years at INA?
Starting with school year 2013-14, students in grades 9-12 facing serious academic gaps in attaining graduation and grade level requirements were given the opportunity to remain at INA. This decision was made to ensure students continuation of the intensive individualized support and counseling given in the school to ensure their successful attainment of a high school diploma.
What support is provided to INA students in the transition process to mainstream schools?
- Ongoing new student orientation
- Leadership development training and problem-solving skills
- Transition visits including school dy visitations and peer shadowing experiences
- Student workshops/presentations by students from specialized high schools (STEM, Early College, etc.)
- Counseling, referral and linkage services to targeted post-secondary and career/technical programs
How are students assigned to other schools after exiting INA?
Newcomer students are primarily assigned to their designated Bilingual/ESL school site based on their native languages and residential zones, for continuation of ESL instructional services. Parents do have the option to opt out of their bilingual/ESL school assignment and choose an alternative neighborhood school, or school of choice, that may or may not have comprehensive ESL and bilingual supportive services. The District is still obligated to offer these students mandated ESL instructional support and parent interpreter services.
What support do Newcomers parents receive to access educational opportunities?
The Multilingual Welcome Center provides all LEP parents orientation and guidance in the resolution of parents concerns, Adults ESL GED and Citizenship classes, and Workshops/Seminars on a gamut of topics relative to the language and academic needs of their children, and on the district's current educational programs and opportunities.
What are the most significant challenges that Newcomer students face?
Newcomer students are non-English Proficient, and face the challenge of learning English language survival social skills and vocabulary to mitigate successfully in U.S. classroom environments. In addition, some Newcomers due to refugee status or other socio-political circumstances have experience interruptions or lack of formal schooling. Students many not possess literacy or grade level academic skills in their native languages to support transfer knowledge to the new language. A great body of research support the fact that it takes five to seven years to learn the academic cognitive language in comparison to the innate abilities of monolingual peers. It takes much longer for refugees or students with delays of age appropriate academic development to access Standards-Based instruction.
What type of supports will schools receive to prepare effectively for incoming Newcomer students exited?
- Provide principals a list of possible students to be exited from the International Newcomers Academy to support Student Based Budgeting planning
- Provide principals at the end of the year, a list of students exited and assigned to their schools with test results, teacher recommendations with comments, and ESL checklist to support a successful transition
- Coordinate increased school visitations and peer shadow programs to support acclimation in K-8 schools, and in alternative high schools