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Friday, April 10, 2015

A Smooth Transition for Students New to the Country

We’ve all had the first-day-of-school jitters before. But just imagine how nerve racking it would be to have those first-day-of-school jitters... in a new country.

Worley Middle School’s Newcomers Class helps make that transition smoother for students who are in their first year of being in America. The class allows students from all over Mansfield ISD to get an education while adapting to the English language.

Teacher Samantha Ash teaching about U.S. history.
"The goal of the class is English language acquisition through content knowledge," said teacher Samantha Ash. "It's about using content-specific vocabulary for history, for math, and getting them to understand the English vocabulary of it."

The students come to the class knowing little-to-no English, but usually leave with the ability to understand the basics of the language.

That was the case for eighth grader Enrique Romo.

“I didn’t know English when I started,” said Romo. “People would come up to me and ask questions, but I didn’t know what they were saying. Now, I’m pretty good.”

The students also gain new friends in the process.

Eighth grader Karina Garcia after explaining why she loves the class.
“We’re all learning, so we talk and help each other understand,” said eighth grader Karina Garcia.

The students first learn vocabulary, like directions and common classroom items, and keep expanding upon their vocabulary doing various lesson plans.

“When you go to any country, you have to immerse yourself into the language; and that’s exactly what these kids do,” said Ash.

The class has seen as many as 23 students who speak 17 different languages at a time; and for Ash, that’s the beauty of it.

“I love seeing the kids participate. I want them to be proud of their language and have the ability to translate it into English."