At the Newcomer Program, we believe that improving teaching and learning for English language learners is everybody’s responsibility. We embrace a shared mission & vision which allows all stakeholders to speak a common language that will effectively foster the planning and evaluation of teaching and student learning. It is vital for our school staff to incorporate students’ life and career goals into the teaching philosophy. The staff will take on the responsibility to help students define how they learn, acquire language, and how they wish to reach their future college and career goals. Furthermore, the staff will utilize this approach to teach students academic and second language acquisition using the students’ goals and preferred learning methods as a guide.

All stakeholders will address the following – Learning EnvironmentMeaningful Learning; Assessment; Family & Community Engagement; and Professional Development and School Building Leadership – to drive our mission & vision statements to reality and fruition:

Learning Environment

Within our school, we will establish a social‑emotional learning and responsive environment where we are caring, inclusive, safe, and promote the linguistically and culturally rich community of learning where students take intellectual risks and work both independently and collaboratively.

We believe that:

  • All English language learners will be respected.
  • Both the native language(s) and the native culture will be valued.
  • Prejudice and discrimination in our learning community will be addressed and challenged.
  • High expectations will be the norm for English language learners with respect to their English language proficiency levels.
  • English language learners and staff will share the diverse cultural knowledge and experiences that contribute positively to the learning community.
  • Supporting English language learners will be a schoolwide effort.

Meaningful Learning

Using a variety of academic and language acquisition research‑based approaches, the Newcomer Program will provide meaningful, grade‑level, and authentic English language instruction to meet the specific needs of English language learners. We will provide multiple pathways to support students’ development of English language proficiency, build knowledge, and strengthen academic content. In order to accomplish this, we will select best‑practices, adapt, create, accommodate, and use relevant and varied resources.

We believe that:

  • English language learners will require sheltered content instruction according to their English language proficiency level.
  • Instruction will be purposefully delivered to English language learners in a comprehensible approach.
  • Native language support and development will facilitate the learner’s ability to acquire English and academic content.
  • English learners will have access to grade-level content that is accessible based on their English language proficiency.

Assessment

The Newcomer Program will employ a variety of assessment methods to obtain valuable information about student learning and development to assist students in reflecting on their own progress.

We believe that:

  • Formal and informal assessment strategies will be used to support the students’ continuous linguistic and educational development.
  • Native language support and development will facilitate the learner’s ability to acquire English and academic content.
  • Assessment will be authentic, allowing the students to apply what they know to real‑world situations.

Family & Community Engagement

The Newcomer Program will create connections with families and the community that enhance the educational experience of our students.

We believe that:

  • Parent and community partnerships and involvement will be pursued.
  • Comprehensive wraparound services will be designed to support students and families whether it’s academic, settlement, social, behavioral, and/or health.
  • Native language materials will be available for students and their parents.
  • Important documents sent home will be translated or simplified for families.
  • Voices from the parents and community will be heard and respected.

Professional Development and School Building Leadership

The Newcomer Program will contribute to the growth and development of our staff and the advancement of knowledge in the field of English language learning. In addition, our school promotes appreciation of the ethnic and cultural diversity that makes up our school learning community.

We believe that:

  • Collaboration will be a key component in a successful program.
  • Professional development on strategies for English language learners will benefit all learners – gifted students, students with special needs, athletically talented — everybody.
  • Our learning community will be educated in valuing diverse populations and multilingualism.
  • By partnering with the Indianapolis Public Schools district equity team, we will receive the training and guidance needed to increase our knowledge, shift our thinking, and elevate our understanding of racial and gender disparities.