The mission of the Newcomer Classes at the International Center is to prepare Newcomers for a successful transition into American Schools, culture, and beyond through challenging academics aligned with the Common Core State Standards while at the same time providing English language instruction.
Who is eligible to attend?
The International Center, currently located at Forest Heights Elementary, houses two Newcomer Classes; one for grades 1-2 and one for 3-5. The Newcomer Classes are designed for English Language Learners who are recent arrivals to US schools and who have little or no English language skills. The classes serve students who are assigned to schools within the city limits. When a student does not live within the city limits, families may provide their own transportation to attend classes at the Newcomer Center or ESL teachers provide services at the student's home school.
Most often, the determination of whether or not a student meets the criteria to attend the Newcomer class is made at the time the family begins the registration process in the International Office. On the occasion that a family does not begin the registration process at the International Center, a school may contact International Center personnel to help make the determination.
Once it is determined that a student will attend the classes, a parent must sign a Permission to Bus form. This form is part of the paperwork that is completed at the International Office. If the family does not complete paperwork at the International Office, schools can download the Permission to Bus form on the Gaston County ESL website. Students attending our classes will be transported by bus daily to and from their home school. Students generally arrive by 8:30 a.m. and they are dismissed at 1:45 p.m. in order to ride their other bus home.
The International Office personnel makes the arrangements for bus transportation and contacts the home school principal with the bus number/driver.
Classes begin at 8:30 a.m. after buses have arrived. Our teachers take attendance and enter it into PowerSchool.
Our students are instructed using the North Carolina State Standards and the WIDA English Language Development Standards. Students also participate in art, music and physical education classes at the Center with teachers who are specialists in these areas.
Center students are invited to participate in special events, including field trips at their home schools. These special events allow students to feel a part of their home schools as well as enhance their educational experiences.
Grading and Parent Conferences
The teachers of the Newcomer Classes maintain grades for all students. Parent conferences are scheduled and held at the International Center between the teacher and the parents. Official report cards are printed and distributed at the home schools for students in grades 3-5.
School Delays or Early Release Days
Due to transportation, there are NO Newcomer classes on days when there is a school delay or on early release days. The students attend classes at their home schools and receive ESL instruction by the ESL teacher assigned to those schools.
The staff at the International Center calls schools on days when our students are not in attendance at the Center in order to determine whether or not students are present. The Newcomer Class teacher enters attendance by 9:00 a.m.