Students who arrive in the United States from other countries (newcomers) represent a variety of educational and linguistic backgrounds and different social and emotional needs. These newcomers are important assets to the global economy and will make a valuable contribution to the social and economic vitality of the nation; they also expand the knowledge that native English speakers have of other cultures and countries. In recent years, the majority of newcomers have been unaccompanied youth from one of three Central American countries: El Salvador, Guatemala, or Honduras. Reports from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) indicate that 58 percent of unaccompanied youth come to the United States due to safety concerns. Regardless of their particular backgrounds, the majority of newcomers—both unaccompanied youth and others—will struggle with social and cultural adjustments in the United States, and with linguistic and academic challenges. Schools may serve a pivotal role by providing the supports these newcomers need to help them transition to, and succeed in, their new schools and communities in the United States.
In this Featured Topics section on Newcomers, you will find papers on dedicated programs for newcomer students, academic supports for newcomers, and social and emotional supports for newcomers, as well as an annotated bibliography and list of government resources to help state and local education agencies (SEAs and LEAs), schools, educators, and other stakeholders to understand and meet the needs of newcomers.