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Headshot Young Girl

Carla Haaven


United States

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One pressing challenge in education, particularly in schools with a diverse student body, is the difficulty faced by new Multilingual learners in understanding their schedules and navigating their way through the school system. This challenge matters significantly as it directly impacts the academic success, social integration, and overall well-being of these students. When new Multilingual learners arrive at our school, they often encounter a barrage of unfamiliar terminology, procedures, and schedules. The language barrier exacerbates their struggle to comprehend important information such as class timings and locations. As a result, these students may feel lost, isolated, and overwhelmed, which can hinder their ability to engage effectively with their studies and form meaningful connections with peers and teachers. Orientation programs tailored specifically for our new Multilingual learners are invaluable during the first few days of school. Our programs include guided tours of our school, introductions to educators trained in working with Multilingual learners, and explanations of daily schedules and procedures most often using Google Translate. Additionally, we assign peer mentors who will help new students navigate the school environment. However, after the first few days, most of our new students need to navigate our halls on their own. Our new Multilingual learners are given an iPad with Google Translate to help communicate with classroom teachers and also to translate the daily lesson into their language. This tool is helpful, but can be limiting for the student to find their way around (on their own) and to understand their schedule. For my challenge, I want to prioritize the needs of our new Multilingual learners during the critical initial days of their school experience at South MS. How can we facilitate a smoother transition and lay the foundation for their academic and social success in the long term?

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