By 2040, more than 30 percent of students in the United States will be immigrants or the children of immigrants.
What factors can help these young people thrive in school, despite the many obstacles they face? And how can school staff best support immigrant students’ academic and personal success?
In Portraits of Promise, educators hear from the ultimate experts—successful newcomer students. Drawing on the students’ own stories, the book highlights the kinds of support and resources that help students engage positively with school culture, establish supportive peer networks, form strong bonds with teachers, manage competing expectations from home and school, and navigate the challenges of high-stakes testing and the college application process.
About the Author
Michael Sadowski is an assistant professor of education at Bard College. He is the editor of Adolescents at School: Perspectives on Youth, Identity, and Education and Teaching Immigrant and Second-Language Students: Strategies for Success, and the author of In a Queer Voice: Journeys of Resilience from Adolescence to Adulthood.
Table of Contents
Foreword Carola Suarez-Orozco vii
Introduction: Hearing the Voices of Success 1
Part 1 Meeting on the Coasts: The New York and California Students 13
Part 2 The Portraits
Omar / A Network of Relationships, Carefully Chosen 33
"There are some people, they listen, but they don't know what you 're talking about. And there's other people you talk to, they'll really listen."
Diana / Thriving Through Resistance 45
"I wasn't going to let them tell me what I was capable of."
Ricky / The Power of Parents 57
"My parents had a very hard life when they were small, and they're always saying how hard it was, how hard it is in the fields, and that they expect me to go to college and get a good job."
Karla / Expanding Social Networks over Time 65
"I got friends everywhere in the school, plus the teachers and all that."
Ibrahim / The Sacrifices of Becoming American 79
"My parents have already told me… I'm losing my roots."
Eduardo / Turning to Teachers as a Sounding Board 91
"[With some teachers] we just have fun, talk, laugh, and it makes me forget about stuff from home, like problems and stuff like that. And then others just want to talk about the problems and try to help me find solutions to those."
Juanita / Putting in Extra Time to Succeed 101
"I passed all the Regents. In June, I'm going to take the chemistry one and the Spanish one so I can get an advanced diploma."
Marisol / At a Crossroads 111
"Going to college-I don't know. Before, I wanted to. Now, like, I don't know. I just kind of gave up on myself."
Part 3 Living Up to the Promise
Recommendations for Classroom and School Practice 123
A Culture of Promise? 147
Interviewer's Note 153
About the Author 175