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Adams 12 Five Star Schools plans Newcomer Center

  • Climate & Culture
  • Focus on Students

Adams 12 Five Star Schools is pleased to announce plans to open a High School Newcomer Center for recently arrived immigrant and refugee students.

This new program, housed inside Thornton High School, will provide targeted academic, social-emotional, and wraparound family services for high school newcomer students and their families, all while giving them access to the many opportunities and activities that come with attending a comprehensive high school. 

“It’s an extension of what Thornton High School already is, which is a multicultural, welcoming community,” Thornton High School Principal Charles Arellano said. 

Beginning in the 2023-2024 school year, high school newcomer students across the district will have the option to enroll in the Newcomer Center. Students in this program will attend English, Math, Social Studies, Science, and English Language Development (ELD) classes specifically designed for newcomer students. They will also participate in elective courses and extracurriculars within Thornton High School. The district’s other comprehensive high schools will continue to offer Newcomer English Language Development and Newcomer English Language Arts.

There are nearly 500 newcomer students attending Adams 12 Five Star Schools, 150 of whom are high school students. The district anticipates between 100 and 150 students will enroll in the Newcomer Center during its first year. 

The plans for this newcomer center have been in the works for some time, said Amanda Clayton, the district’s director of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education. As global events brought more newcomer families to the Five Star community, that need became even more urgent.

“As we saw an influx of refugees from Afghanistan, it became abundantly clear that we needed to offer our students more support,” Clayton said. “Our newcomer high school students have cousins and siblings in middle and elementary schools, so this will really serve as a hub of support for the whole family.”

A job posting for the Newcomer Center Director will be posted within the coming weeks. This position will be filled mid-year in order to facilitate program development, hiring staff, and engaging current newcomer students and families.

This story exemplifies our ELEVATE Focus Area: Diverse Learning. Sharing stories of how students receive engaging learning experiences and the focused-attention they need through appropriate student-to-staff ratios and varied programming.