A Case Study of the Language Policy of a Local Newcomer Program
A growing population of students from refugee backgrounds in the United States has contributed to linguistic and cultural diversity in the K-12 public education system. School districts and communities respond differently to changing demographics. The development of newcomer programs has been one method educators have used in an attempt to provide a space for refugee-background students to acclimate to their new environment. The language policies these programs implement impact the integration of newcomers into the larger school system. Utilizing ethnographic methods in a case study investigating the language policies of one elementary school's newcomer program, this dissertation found that flexibility and responsiveness to the needs of students were critical to the program's existence and success. As the program experienced demographic changes based on international and national politics over the course of a decade, the newcomer teachers continue to uphold language policies that attempt to provide a space for students to adjust to the U.S. public school system before moving into an ESL classroom.