Why the newcomer path
The needs of newcomers are unique, and we do our best to address those needs. Chinese speaking families and students come to the United States and they are inundated with the English language. At our school, we understand that it is very important for these students to learn the language, beginning at the very fundamental level. The newcomer pathway at CEC Elementary School approaches English learning in a three-prong manner.
We know that it is crucial to focus on the fundamentals of the English language. For students who enter the school grade 2 and up, the alphabet and pronunciation of sounds have likely been taught in younger grades. While it is very possible to pick up whole words through multiple exposures, we want every single one of our students to have a strong foundation of English. The building blocks of the English language, starting from the very beginning, are very important for newcomer students.
Language needs to have utility. At our school, we focus heavily on the oral practice of the English Language. Our bilingual teachers are fully trained in English Language Development (ELD) in order to help students use the language in an extensive manner. Before, during, and after each field trip, students go through lessons to practice language in different tenses. This provides the real-life experience of language necessary for our newcomer students.
While we work on the fundamentals and utility of the English language, we also need to bring in content-level material. Our teachers use SDAIE to help scaffold much of the content to enable access for the newcomer students. Grade-level material in fact is often inaccessible to our newcomer students. The lessons need modifications and structures to support learning.