AskNCELA provides information that can be of use to educators, parents, learners, leaders, and other stakeholders in their efforts to ensure that every student, including English learners (ELs), is provided with the highest quality education and expanded opportunities to succeed.
Question: With the recent arrival of thousands of Afghan newcomers to the United States, we are wondering how schools and districts can support Afghan ELs and whether there are examples of schools and districts around the country that are successfully supporting this population of students and their families?
Answer: There are a number of schools and districts around the U.S. that are providing exemplary support to Afghan ELs and their families. These institutions implement a wide range of wrap-around services that include academic, social, and emotional supports for newly arrived immigrants. Schools and districts also ensure that their faculty and staff are prepared to support newcomer ELs by offering meaningful professional development focused on meeting the needs of ELs.
Some examples of how schools and districts provide support to newly arrived immigrants include:
- Anchorage, AK: Referrals to health and social services, counseling and work programs, school and community orientations;
- Austin, TX: Offering Dari and Pashto translation/interpretation services;
- Charlottesville, VA: Partnering with the local community college to provide adults with educational opportunities including ESL courses;
- Cajon Valley Union District, CA: Assisting in evacuation efforts, involving parents in the school and classroom via home-language communication;
- Elk Grove Unified School District, CA: Offering culturally appropriate meals, setting aside rooms for prayer, opening welcome centers for refugees;
- Fremont Unified School District, CA: Running Immigrant Family Reunification Program, conducting a needs analysis, hiring more translators;
- San Juan Unified, CA: Employing a school community refugee specialist and refugee teams, providing donated food, clothing, and wheelchairs, helping parents schedule doctors’ appointments, partnering with resettlement agencies.
In addition, below, please find links to resources, websites, and media articles on the topic of supporting immigrant and refugee students.
- Welcoming Afghan Families: Lessons Learned from Austin ISD
- Refugee Family Support Office
- Here's How Schools Are Helping Afghan Refugee Students
- You are Welcome Here: Support for Immigrant Students in Dearborn Michigan
- California Schools Prepare for Thousands of Afghan Refugee Students
- Fairfax County Schools, Students Open Doors and Arms to Afghan Refugees
- Immigrant Family Reunification Program
- Afghan Refugee Resources
- Haywood Elementary, Community Achieves work hard to make Refugees feel at home
- Nearly 300 Afghan refugees coming to Nashville
- Sacramento City Unified Reports at Least Eight Students Remain Trapped in Afghanistan; Stands in Solidarity with Refugee Community
- San Juan Unified Hires Team to Support Refugees
AskNCELA is intended to share information that can be of use to educators, parents, learners, leaders, and other stakeholders in their efforts to ensure that every student, including English learners, is provided with the highest quality education and expanded opportunities to succeed. The information and materials presented in AskNCELA do not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by NCELA, the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA), or the U.S. Department of Education.