High school students newly arrived in the U.S. from non-English speaking countries or with limited English proficiency — will be receiving intensive English language learning instruction, core academics, and support services at a new, innovative program set to launch in fall 2021.
Superintendent Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney stated, “In our strategic plan, A New Way Forward, our priorities ensure all students in the district have access to high-quality schools and learning experiences that prepare them for the future. All means all, including those new to America. The Newcomer School is aligned to that goal and ensures that all Aldine ISD students learn in an environment that is safe, welcoming, and supportive. Newcomers come to us with special needs, like learning a new language, adapting to a new culture, and adjusting to a new school system. We believe this environment will support them so that they can succeed.”
The program will focus exclusively on students who are new to this country. The curriculum will address their unique needs. Every course will have English learning instruction embedded in its lessons. The intent will be that students are working to improve their literacy skills all day, every day. After two years, students will transition to their zoned schools. In addition to requiring English as second language services, Aldine ISD will address students’ social-emotional needs.
Leading the campus as its principal is Ana Fernanda Flores-Bolívar. Originally from México, Flores-Bolívar has worked in education for more than a decade. She started her teaching career as a bilingual teacher in Aldine ISD in 2006 before taking on leadership roles at the campus level. Her most recent position was serving as the principal at Orange Grove Elementary School. She holds a master’s degree in education from St. Thomas University. Flores-Bolivar has a law degree from Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City.
My goal is to empower our students to live with pride in their native language and heritage, alongside learning and adapting to a new culture and language. I promise that everyone at the Newcomer School will build a solid foundation that prepares students for their future.
— Ana Fernanda Flores-Bolívar
Flores-Bolívar’s life experiences bring a wealth of knowledge, perspective, and understanding of what it is like to be a foreigner. Growing up as the daughter of a Mexican diplomat and a social anthropologist, she traveled and lived in several different countries. During her elementary school years, she lived in New York and El Paso, TX, before returning to Mexico City. Flores-Bolívar completed her middle and high school years in Central America. She and her family lived through Peru’s “Era of Terrorism” and witnessed an emerging democracy in Nicaragua.
She values the importance of teachers caring for students’ well-being.
“This is a wonderful initiative to help our newest U.S. residents succeed,” Flores-Bolívar said. “The Newcomer School supports a key group of vulnerable youth who not only find themselves in a new country but might also be dealing with stress or trauma. I am thrilled that Aldine ISD is committed to these students’ educational goals and addresses their social-emotional needs. Their success in school can have a positive impact on their entire family. Without a doubt, education empowers human beings.”
The principal added that parents and legal guardians would play a key role in students’ academic success. She emphasized building relationships with families in the community to increase the support students receive outside the classroom.