Oakland Unified has recieved a dramatic increase in newcomers, or students who have been in the U.S. for less than 3 years and speak a language other than English at home. ELLMA has responded by developing system-wide programs to address the unique needs of newcomers.

 newcomer increase info

Most of our newest arrivals fall into the status of refugee, asylee, and/or unaccompanied minor, many of whom are fleeing violence, human trafficking or persecution in their home country. They arrive in the United States and Oakland, often after enduring an arduous and traumatic journey. Children require intensive and specialized services to meet their academic, socio-emotional, and mental health needs.

Newcomers also bring rich assets to their learning and that of their community, including linguistic and cultural diversity, global perspectives and tremendous resiliency and commitment to their education.

Learn about Newcomer Programs in OUSD

Understand about the journey of newcomer students at Oakland International High School by reading OIHS teacher Lauren Markham's 2017 book The Faraway Brothers.

The Far Away Brothers  




First name: Dennis

Grade: 12

School: Oakland International High School

Class setting: Newcomer

What languages do you speak?

Spanish and English

What are some of your hopes and dreams?

My hope is to graduate from high school and get into college and university. That’s my biggest goal in life. I would like to be a computer engineer.

What has helped you the most in working toward your goals?

School, doing homework. Being prepared for everything. When the teacher gives an assignment and you make sure you understand all the directions and do it well.

What’s something you’ve been learning about recently?

I learned many things in school, like how to write an essay, how to write a speech, how to make videos.

How is your home language useful in your life?

I use Spanish in all my classes, when I get confused, or need to catch up. Also when I work, some people don’t speak English, so I help them. Also when new students come to this school, I help them talk to the teacher and do their homework.


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