In 2014, school leaders realized that the large influx of immigrants and refugees to Nashville and LEAD Cameron was something that needed a tailored approach. Students need several hours of intense English Language Learner (ELL) classes every day in order to effectively transition into their grade level subjects. Administrators created the Newcomer Academy to meet the need.
“The Cameron newcomer program, with dedicated staff, curricula, and small class sizes, aims to meet the academic and social needs of students recently arriving to Nashville from other countries,” said Lindsay Roe, assistant principal of instruction at LEAD Cameron. “More than anything else, participation in the program allows students who are usually labeled ’at-risk’ to build confidence and see themselves as belonging at school.”
The main goals of the program are to welcome students into American schools, accelerate English development, introduce students to grade-level materials and concepts, as well as intentionally support and remediate instruction that students may not have received previously.
The Newcomer Academy has grown to serve more than 150 students in grades 5-8 with 14 dedicated faculty and staff members. Although the students may speak different languages, their teachers say adjusting together to a new school and new country helps them to ease their transition.
“Cameron is like a perfect school in my opinion because it shows you many things you need to know in your life,” said Brandyson, a 2022 Newcomer Academy graduate. “The teachers are really focused on the students. I feel happy because my father can feel proud because I do well in school.”