The newcomer photo book project at Mission Middle School was largely successful. Ultimately, twelve students completed the program and made photo books through Shutterfly. These twelve students were honored at an after school celebration that other students, parents, teachers, district staff, and community members attended.

Our goals were attained, as all twelve students made growth in their English as evidenced by ADEPT and NWEA MAPS testing, as well as informal assessments of conversations and written work. On the ADEPT, 10/11 students progressed one language level between January and April and on MAPS language, 10/11 students made gains. One student was unavailable for a portion of the testing. Students were taken on 7 field trips and were thus able to interact with community members in several different real world scenarios. Favorite field trips included the Rancho Coastal Thrift Store, Neighborhood Healthcare, and SoCal Volleyball Club. Through these experiences, students were able to practice their English, as well as learn valuable information to communicate to their families. For example, at Neighborhood Healthcare, Students were given information about weekly teen counseling sessions, and an upcoming low-cost dental clinic.

We hope to be able to replicate this project across the district this coming year. Newcomer students don’t always enter our classrooms in the fall, so this program would be a way to ensure that students who enter later in the year, don’t miss out on learning basic conversational English and basic knowledge of their new community. It is intimidating to come to a new country and have to interact in a new language right away. Skills learned in this program will help them to be more successful and confident in both school and within the community. We are also working with district and site leadership to incorporate aspects of this program within the regular school day for newcomer students. It would be advantageous to teach this program during the school day because the one challenge of this program had to do with consistent attendance.

Thank you foundation members for your support of this program!