Building Welcoming School Communities: An Interactive Event for Key Stakeholders

Engaging both immigrants and longer-term receiving community members in a school-based setting to create a more welcoming community for all has never been more important. The Immigrant and Refugee Integration team at the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) is partnering with Welcoming America to bring together key stakeholders in the research, policy, and practice of immigrant education and integration to explore building welcoming school communities across the United States.

This informative and interactive event is being offered at a crucial time in the American immigration story. Today, one out of every five children in the U.S. is living in an immigrant family, and by 2015, children in immigrant families could constitute as much as 30% of the nation’s population. At the same time, humanitarian challenges have unfolded as a surge of unaccompanied minors arrives in new communities. For newcomer students and their families, schools are often the primary point of contact with their new community. It is critical to address the cultural, emotional, and social needs of these families by engaging both non-immigrants and immigrants in schools and their communities.

This two-part event includes a morning panel with a film screening and an evening reception with an action-based discussion.

Morning Event:

  • Panel Presentation: A diverse panel of experts will share information to inform further discussion about bringing communities together in schools, which often serve as an anchor institution for newcomers as they orient themselves to their new environment and for the receiving community as they learn about their new neighbors. Read more about our panel. Welcoming Schools Event Panel and Panelists 9.30.14 113.78 kB
  • Documentary Film Screening: I Learn America, a documentary film by Jean-Michel Dissard & Gitte Peng, features five newly arrived immigrant teens as they adapt to their new surroundings and school environment. View a trailer of the I Learn America documentary.
  • Stakeholder Discussion: Event attendees, including students from our host school, will contribute to the discussion of current practices and future initiatives for the creation and enhancement of welcoming school communities.

Learn more about School Without Walls High School in Washington, DC.

Evening Event:

  • Attendees at the smaller evening session will continue the morning discussion in interactive small groups with a focus on action planning to create and enhance welcoming school communities.
  • The evening event will be held at Busboys and Poets, a community meeting place based on the belief that social change and community transformation can be inspired by creating a space where art, culture, and politics “intentionally collide.”

Learn more about Busboys and Poets.