Yadkin County Schools opens program to meet the needs of newcomer students

By Tiiu K. Garrett - Yadkin County Schools

The Newcomers Program in Yadkin County Schools (YCS) is a highly specialized classroom aimed at students who recently arrived in the United States. Because their lack of English, language skills may create a problem with learning in the regular classroom, this program focuses on English language immersion. Additionally, math, social studies and science curriculums are introduced to these students while they are in this program.

The mission of this new educational service is to empower students through challenging academics and language learning to help them become independent lifelong learners with the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in American schools and society while honoring all cultures and heritages.

Although Yadkin County has experienced a decrease in the overall number of English Language Learner (ELL) students, within this specific subgroup, the number of newcomers has increased.

YCS is committed to providing each student every opportunity to learn. The Newcomers program is the most recent effort toward that end and is currently serving immigrant and refugee children in grades third through ninth.

The Newcomers class will begin Jan. 19 at Starmount Middle School with transportation provided to and from home daily. Students in this program will return to their base school at the start of the 2017-2018 school year.

Rick Swaim, principal at Starmount Middle, said, “We are excited to be able to host the Newcomers class at Starmount Middle School. I believe that this is a great opportunity to help these students be successful once they are in the regular classroom setting. Much time and effort has gone into getting this class up and running and we look forward to seeing this program develop and grow as we strive to meet the needs of all students countywide.”

Christine Flay is the bilingual teacher of the program and has many years’ experience teaching English language learners.

Kristi Gaddis, executive director of Student Services for Yadkin County Schools, said she is happy they’re able to provide this much needed service.

“We’re seeing a large number of refugees entering our school system due to unrest in their home country. The most important thing we can provide these students is a way to access their new environment and the English language provides them that access. It’s been more than ten years since YCS provided a service to newcomers, and it pleases me to see it offered once again.”

By Tiiu K. Garrett

Yadkin County Schools

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