Triad Schooling for Refugees
Today I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Jake Henry, the Principal of the Doris Henderson Newcomers School of Guilford County. The Newcomers school was conceived by the district as an transitional setting for new arrivals in the United States. Most of the Burmese refugees who arrive in our region that are of school age attend this school for one full year of immersion ESL and support before starting at their designated Guildford County Public School.
Here is some of the information I have been trying to learn and understand over the last several weeks about education in our community.
1. If a child is not yet of high school age, the school district will test them and try to put them in the appropriate grade level for their age. In the first year parents can request the children be advanced or placed back one year as needed.
2. If an arriving child is of high school age they have to go through a 4 year sequence of English classes. So the school system will often place them in the 9th grade level (even if they are older) unless the student has excellent English skills.
3. If an arriving student has completed their secondary education in their country of origin they no longer qualify to attend public school. But documentation of this completed work is necessary. These students can take advantage of the GTCC English as a Second Language (ESL ) training programs.
3. Arriving students can attend high school until they turn age 21.
4. Students older than 21 have several options.
a. If they are needing to finish a high school degree they can attend Guilford Technical Community College (GTCC), work on their English skills in an ESL class if necessary and then proceed on into the related General Equivalency Degree (GED) program to finish High School.
b. ESL is offered at GTCC as part of the GED program. They offer classes throughout most of the year with short breaks close to the college’s semester breaks.
c. Students who have completed high school in their country of origin need to provide documentation and transcripts for evaluation by the school system or GTCC. If their English is sufficient some of these students should be able to apply to attend college level courses. GTCC will test them regarding Math, Reading and Writing.
d. Students wishing to attend GTCC need to fill out a FAFSA form to see if they qualify for financial aide to pay for their education. This is due in the spring.
If you have clarifying information or additional information please comment so that we can give a correct picture.