Sunday, June 10, 2007

School's caring helps students beat odds

None of these kids even spoke English four years ago and yet every one is graduating and has been accepted to college. DP

International High acts as surrogate parent to push immigrant teenagers to college careers
By Tracy Jan, Globe Staff The teenagers spoke not a word of English when they came to Boston four years ago. Some left parents behind in Guatemala, Cape Verde, and Haiti. Others arrived with only a primary school education.

They were the first class to enter Boston International High, created in 2003 to educate recent immigrants. The school, with flags from 42 countries lining its entryway, had a unique mission: Take some of the most vulnerable students in Boston's public school system, get them to graduate from high school, and go to college.

Next week , every senior at the Jamaica Plain school will graduate. All 35 have been accepted to college, most to four-year universities. They have beaten bleak odds stacked against them: Nearly a quarter of the city's students whose first language is not English never graduate from high school.

Boston International High succeeded because it addressed students' every need, students said. Their teachers, counselor and headmaster often acted as surrogate parents. They found students after-school jobs and temporary housing. They helped prepare them for college entrance exams and took them on college visits. Many teachers, immigrants themselves, empathized with the students' struggles.
Be sure to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

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