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Settlement Workers in Schools Systemic Solutions for Refugee Settlement in Schools and Community Presenter: Meredith Verma Major Contributors: Dr. Tara.

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Presentation on theme: "Settlement Workers in Schools Systemic Solutions for Refugee Settlement in Schools and Community Presenter: Meredith Verma Major Contributors: Dr. Tara."— Presentation transcript:

1 Settlement Workers in Schools Systemic Solutions for Refugee Settlement in Schools and Community Presenter: Meredith Verma Major Contributors: Dr. Tara Holt, Dr. Pius Ryan, Caroline Lai English Language Learner Welcome Centre

2 Outline Surrey Schools: Our families Universal Design: a policy organizing lens Settlement Workers in Schools (SWIS) (Information, Orientation and Case Management) Vision: what drives the passion? Program: Bridge and Bridge 2 Success Findings: Preliminary research Resources and findings

3 A Snapshot of Surreys Families Our families arrive from many different countries speaking a variety of language and dialects. The chart below signifies the country of origin which is the most prevalent in the District. However, the list of countries is as varied as the languages below.

4 ISS Government Assisted Refugee Percentages Top Three Communities

5 Languages – Demographics are Changing Top 10 Primary Languages of our SWIS Clients School Year School Year 1Punjabi (26.1%)Mandarin (20.1%) 2Vietnamese (19.0%)Punjabi (16.0%) 3Tagalog (7.4%)Vietnamese (8.9%) 4Mandarin (6.9%)Korean (8.1%) 5Spanish (6.3%)Tagalog (7.8%) 6Farsi (5.4%)Urdu (4.2%) 7Arabic (4.7%)Arabic (4.2%) 8Karen (4.1%)Karen (4.2%) 9Somali (3.3%)Somali (4.1%) 10Korean (3.2%)Spanish (3.5%)

6 ELL Welcome Centre At the Welcome Centre: Since the fall of 2007, our SWIS have worked with over 33,000 individuals. 6,850 are existing caseloads, and of those, 3,250 are new this school year. Out of the 30,000 individuals, the top three immigration categories are: 1.Skilled Workers (10,400 – 66%) 2.Family Class (5,390 – 19%) 3.Refugees, including GARS, Non-GARs & refugee claimants (3,330 – 13.6%) Since the fall of 2007, our SWIS have worked with over 33,000 individuals. 6,850 are existing caseloads, and of those, 3,250 are new this school year. Out of the 30,000 individuals, the top three immigration categories are: 1.Skilled Workers (10,400 – 66%) 2.Family Class (5,390 – 19%) 3.Refugees, including GARS, Non-GARs & refugee claimants (3,330 – 13.6%)

7 Universal Design Model Strands of Service UNIVERSAL All students and families have access to support Supports are unique and accessible UNIVERSAL All students and families have access to support Supports are unique and accessible TARGETED Specific support for family needs Specific support for students TARGETED Specific support for family needs Specific support for students INTENSIVE Individualized support for complex needs INTENSIVE Individualized support for complex needs

8 Viewing the whole family through this lens. That the needs of the family are personal and unique. This continuum guides us to implement the best strategies for support. All programs and support are responses based on need. A vision: Why its Unique An overview of program development

9 Indicators and research on Refugee Integration (J. Hyndman, 2011) Economic Indicators Official Languages Education Housing Social/Community Legal/Citizenship Health Age/Gender/Diversity

10 Research: Thesis: Taxonomy to Integration Integration Autonomy Settlement Program Settlement Ready Pre-settlement Major barriers such as health, education, dental and basic knowledge of urban living which impacts this process Pre-settlement is the stage for those families whose basic needs calls into question the readiness of settlement upon landing in an urban community A beginning point of the settlement process where refugees arrive under- equipped to engage in settling in their new community Reference: Holt, Tara, Ph. D. Candidate (2013)

11 * Students from Refugee Backgrounds BC Ministry of Education (2009) Personal business settled Uninterrupted education Time to prepare Often absent of loss and trauma Return home a personal choice Families often intact Arrangements for basics Personal business not settled Education interrupted/postponed Little or no time to prepare Loss or trauma Return home not an option Families often separated Basics urgently needed Immigrants: Most often Understanding context in a school setting Refugees: Most often

12 Increased Services and Supports in Response to Growth Large group of Karen /Iraqi families arrived on mass No systemic approach to reception, orientation, or needs evaluation No pro-active training or awareness building for schools Limited coordination across support organizations A requirement to have in school support to address a myriad of family needs The understanding that settled families promotes settled students

13 The Vision of Welcome The Vision of a Welcome Centre – a hub where holistic needs assessment and support could be provided for families and students new to Surrey, BC. Filling a genuine need for settlement support, access to services, cultural adjustment support, and educational information and programming became the focus lens in developing the Welcome Centre. SWIS are active case managers, providing wrap-around support depending on client needs.

14 The ELL Welcome Centre opened its doors in March 2008 and has quickly become a lighthouse of support for ELL students new to the district, their families and our school personnel. Over the last year we have supported over 11,000 students and families with school registration, settlement supports and connecting to the community. ELL (English Language Learner) Welcome Centre

15 ELL Welcome Centre At the Welcome Centre: Upon arrival, our students and families are greeted by our Settlement Workers (SWIS) and/or Multicultural Workers (MCW). While the family is completing a needs assessment with a SWIS…

16 ELL Welcome Centre Language Assessment … the student is completing his/her assessment with our Assessment Teacher, sometimes in the students first language, which is essential for the schools ELL Department to deliver educational programming. A more consistent and holistic assessment of student needs provides for lead time to prepare for incoming students and to coordinate school-specific support in an effective and timely manner.

17 Settlement Workers in Schools The Settlement Workers in School Program is an essential service in the community and in schools. To date the SWIS have supported over 30,000 parents and students. The Settlement Workers role is to provide accurate, quality, timely support for our new families settling in Surrey. The SWIS provide information and orientation to their new school and community by facilitating informative workshops and sessions. Some of which include: cultural connections and understanding parenting and family relationships educational system immigrations and legal understanding employment and housing youth leadership/mentoring driving and transportation employment and housing Since 2008, the SWIS and MCWs have provided nearly 4000 workshops at the Welcome Centre, in schools and in the community.

18 Multicultural Workers Multicultural Workers (MCW) are an essential service in schools. They support the cross-cultural understanding of all immigrant students and assist families with registration and information about the school system. To date, the Multicultural Workers have provided a myriad of services and support in the schools such as: Provide one on one/group cultural support Design and deliver workshops with SWIS Provide a safe and supportive space for students experiencing cultural adjustment issues Attend meetings to support parents and students and build capacity Connect students to appropriate cultural activities in school Act as a school liaison to outside resources for students

19 ELL Welcome Centre – Community Connections Adult Education English Foundations City Tours Community Connect 11 Community Connect through Reading My Circle – Leadership MY Circle – Peer Support Dental Health Education Bridge Program Bridge 2 Success Current Programs

20 Intensive Program Support: Bridge Program Universal School-wide Instructional Support Targeted Instructional Support Intensive Support: Bridge Program Culturally Sensitive Curriculum Social and Emotional Support Vocational Support Student Support Family Support Building Collaborative Relationships

21 increases settlement support for at- risk/vulnerable immigrant youth. increases school and community connectedness. eases the students transition into the workplace, back into the school system, or to other options. The Bridge Program The Welcome Centre Bridge Program is a unique program beyond regular support/educational programs currently available at Surrey School District. The program is an intensive 6 to 8 week program which: imparts skills and knowledge to the students and empower them to overcome obstacles addresses learning and school adjustment issues related to their immigration experience and cultural adjustment process.

22 What it is: The Bridge 2 Success program was developed and implemented by the English Language Learner Welcome Centre, Adult Education and Surrey College. Goals: The purpose of developing the Bridge 2 Success program was out of a distinct need to support the at-risk learners in the district who are coming into Canada at 17 to 19 years of age. This is a collaborative district support to guide these students who are at-risk and in need of wrap-around support. Strategic Partnerships: The Welcome Centre, Adult Education and Surrey College to provide adult graduation credits combined with settlement support at the Welcome Centre. MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday Literacy Foundations English Foundations Literacy Foundations English Foundations Math Lunch Work Experience 12A Planning 12 (Business) Work Experience 12A Planning 12 (Business) Counselling and Career Exploration The Bridge 2 Success Program

23 The Bridge 2 Success Program Future research and evaluation Average Assessment Scores in Reading, Writing, Math

24 Research and Practice On Immigrant/Refugee Students… Acculturative stress impacts learning and adjustment. Features of A.S.: anxiety, stress, isolation, poor performance in school, health problems, confusion and family stress. Integrated support is necessary for whole family adjustment. Social and emotional counselling and therapeutic support increases a sense of well-being and belonging. Empowering parent and student provides an opportunity for open communication and reduces anxiety about school. Students require an adjustment period to settle. Differentiated learning and support can be adjusted based on level of need. NASP 2010 Immigrant Families: Strategies for Support

25 In addition to ESL support, these students may require specialized counselling and/or literacy training in their home language(s) to support their academic achievement in English. Teachers who believe a student is experiencing significant adjustment difficulties beyond those associated with the preceding stages of adjustment …may indicate a need for special educational or other forms of intervention as provided for in school, district, or provincial policy. BC Ministry Of Education: ESL Recommendations

26 Future Considerations Housing: Balance of Social Housing needed across Surrey The lack of understanding of tenant rights and how to go about renting a home. Transportation: Many immigrants cannot afford transportation fares and thus miss out on many opportunities related to employment, education, social and extra- curricular activities. English Language Development: Most Permanent Resident clients have to learn English and upgrade their skills in order to find decent employment based on their training and previous work experiences. There is a lack of English language support and extra-curricular activities, for our clients. Parent concerns that their high school aged children are not able to graduate in the allotted time and that many high schools will not register students that are turning 18 or older.

27 Future Considerations Employment: Many immigrant parents work multiple jobs, in order to pay their bills and in the process their children become neglected. Clients holding temporary work permits have difficulties staying in the same job. They require assistance in finding new employment, changing their work permit, and understanding their rights as an employee in B.C. Credential evaluation and recognition and the confusion around upgrading skills. Cultural Awareness/Sensitivity: Cultural awareness training is needed at all levels of social services – people in face a lack of awareness by community members. Hiring the diversity representing different populations and settlement patterns (e.g. Somalia). Not only has the issue come up that there are a lack of culturally sensitive mental health services for families available, when and if these services are available, the wait lists are extremely long.

28 Future Considerations Health/Mental Health Care: At-risk immigrant youth are not being appropriately linked to youth/family counselling and information about safe schools. The need for dental health education and the connection to affordable community resources and/or dentists. Legal Aid: There are very limited legal aid resources, available within our community, for our clients. Service Transitions: Many families, who have been receiving assistance from SWIS, and now their youngest child is graduating, are no longer eligible for SWIS services.

29 Useful Websites for Working with Refugees BC - Working with refugee students Newcomer Children Information Exchange Alberta - Teaching Refugees Ontario - ELL - with Limited Prior Schooling Refugee Children with Low Literacy Skills or Interrupted Education

30 Thank you and Questions?


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