Sí Se Puede, Sí Se Pudo, Sí Se Va a Poder:The Narrative Experience of Newcomer Immigrant Adolescent Students in
Obtaining a High School Diploma
School districts across the country are responsible for providing a fair and equitable education to all students who enter its doors. The current flows of immigration have created a challenge for educational agencies to meet the needs of newcomer immigrant adolescent students. As unique members of the education system, these students enter not knowing the language, academic structures, educational requirements, or social norms of their new academic home. As families continue to migrate, their children often struggle to find a successful path in the American education system. For newcomer immigrant adolescent students, the first step in achieving their American dream is to earn their high school diploma. This study explored the lived experiences of newcomer immigrant adolescent students as they pursued their high school diplomas. Moving forward, I utilize newcomer immigrant adolescent students to identify RAIELs (Recently Arrived Immigrant English Learners Students) to define the group of students I study. The literature review presented explored research on English Language Learner students (ELLs) with a focus on RAIEL students, current academic structures serving ELLs, and the importance of a student’s voice. Research indicated that to ensure academic success for newcomer immigrant adolescent students, it is imperative to have strong and purposeful academic structures that meet the social-emotional needs of these students. In addition to strong and purposeful structures, it is essential to clearly articulate the importance of a leadership role to ensure all agencies and decision-making entities are coordinated with an understanding of the academic, linguistic, social, and emotional needs of this special population. This population, often marginalized by so much more than just the inability to speak English; social justice and leadership implications are also discussed. This narrative inquiry study used qualitative methods to explore the nature of the questions based on the participants' views and experiences. This narrative inquiry study used qualitative methods to understand participants views based on the questions asked by the researcher. explore the nature of the questions based on the participants' views. Narrative inquiry describes a collaboration between participants and researchers during the collection of stories in which both gain valuable insight because of the process (Creswell, 2012). Allowing newcomer immigrant adolescent students to tell their stories was best suited through narrative inquiry. From my data analysis, three themes emerged from using the cultural proficiency essential element assessing culture and cultural proficiency essential element valuing diversity: historical context, family, and community programs. The importance of understandings students lived experiences, the importance of family inclusion, and the importance of community programs that connect students to resources. Student expression played a key role in this analysis, allowing them to describe their experiences through their own voice. The essential elements that this study focused on was assessing culture and valuing diversity. Through this analysis, I address the following research questions: How do newcomer immigrant adolescent students experience their high school journey? and, Specifically, what experiences contribute to and detract from their ability to persevere toward graduation? Empowering and providing support to foster positive experiences for newcomer adolescent students is a collective task of parents, educational leaders, and community. Newcomer adolescent immigrants continue to arrive at schools in hopes of achieving their American dream. Ensuring structures are in place to support their academic and social emotional well-being will likely benefit society. As these students acclimate themselves into the communities where they live, it is important they integrate in a manner that positively impacts society.