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Help for students of all languages

Children of immigrants, especially the teenagers, that come to the United States to start a new life with their families, face many issues stemming from societal differences here and in their homelands. The most important cultural issue they must deal with is learning English coupled with the introduction into a new school system.
To confront this situation the New York City Department of Education (DOE) created the Academy for New Americans, located on the fourth floor of Intermediate School 235 at 30-14 30th Street, Long Island City. Started about 12 years ago, this free school offers their students a welcoming climate that is conductive to learning English and features a well-trained staff that guides the students through the transition period as they become acclimated to this multicultural society.
“The Academy accepts students from 11- to 14-years-old. They stay here for one year before being transferred to their zone schools. Then, all eligible students will be provided with a transportation pass. Really, is not easy to place the students in the same level because most of them do not know English at all. That’s why we have teachers from Greece, China, Israel, Ecuador, Puerto Rico and other foreign countries to help them,” said Principal Carmen Iris Rivera.
The Academy for New Americans also offers the students’ parents the opportunity to attend workshops that are designed to meet their needs and assist them in making the transition to New York City, to be part of the English as a Second Language (ESL) classes and to obtain information on community agencies that provide support services as needed.
“Most of the parents that come to us don’t speak English and because of our multicultural staff we can communicate with them as we assist them in their needs, including how to look for a job and how to help them to raise their kids in a new society. Many students from here haven’t seen their parents and other relatives for several years, so it is harder for them to live together in the States from one day to another,” Rivera said.
In addition to the ESL classes, the Academy for New Americans teaches additional math and science instructions too. They offer their students after school programs that include homework help, sports, arts and other classes of their interest.
After a year, they attend to a graduation ceremony and move on into the system.

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