Having Arrived: Dimensions of Educational Success in a Transitional Newcomer School



This article examines a program for newly arrived, non-English-speaking immigrant children in a major California city. Focusing on students of Mexican and other Latino origin, I explore the local model of success and ask, How is student success defined and fostered? This study lays the ethnographic foundation for a comparison between settings for first-generation students. The research demonstrates how a nurturing setting, a culturally flexible teaching approach, linguistic and cultural validation, and a valued spatial environment can contribute to newcomer students' success and educational confidence. Further, it addresses both the personal and political tensions that can arise when such programs are physically separate and distant from the “home” or neighborhood school.