Backgrounds play big role in new immigrants' success in U.S. classrooms

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Tue Jun 10 15:04:38 UTC 2008

Forwarded From: edling at

Dallas News

Backgrounds play big role in new immigrants' success in U.S. classrooms

The buzz about Victor started a day before he enrolled at Adamson High
School. He's "brilliant," came word from the Dallas school district's
immigrant intake center. He's a computer whiz. He's one of the best
prepared students from more than 12,000 the center has processed since
opening in 2003. When he arrived at Adamson a few weeks after the
start of the second semester, Victor didn't disappoint. Marcia
Niemann, the lead teacher in Adamson's English as a second language
program, said he is the most academically impressive ESL student she
has encountered in her four years at the school. He writes English
better than some U.S.-born students. Victor comes from Monterrey,
Mexico's third largest metroplex and biggest industrial center. "In
Monterrey, if you don't speak English, you are no one," says the
18-year-old, a self-described nerd. Back home, his parents each
attended two years of college. They sent their son, with scholarship
assistance, to an $8,000-a-year private high school. Victor plans to
attend college.

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