The APS Welcome Center offers services to students, families and schools in order to achieve our mission of assisting APS refugee and immigrant families in becoming more familiar with and accustomed to the Aurora Public Schools System.
After we complete an interview and orientation, newcomer families go to their schools to complete registration. We create a summary of what we learned in the interview for teachers and administrators to use to learn their new students' assets and needs.
- For instruction on how to access summaries, check out the APS staff resources folder.
- If you have any trouble accessing a student summary, please contact Ryan Lee for assistance.
The family liaisons at the APS Welcome Center are actively involved in the APS community and develop supportive and positive relationships with families. This serves as a valuable resource in reaching out to families for increased engagement and participation in school events and for assisting in meetings with families as problems arise. Our family liaisons have attended parent coffees, back to school nights, and many other school events. The family liaisons are not district interpreters, but they do provide an excellent path to connecting families with schools as they navigate education together.
The APS Welcome Center provides academic and cultural professional development for teachers and schools who are figuring out how to best support their newcomer students. For academic development, we provide training on various pedagogical strategies to foster growth and independence with newcomer students. The staff of the APS Welcome Center finds its provenance in seven different countries and four continents. Therefore, we provide schools with cultural professional development to increase cultural awareness and sensitivity. This training prepares staff to proactively offer students a welcoming environment for academic and social growth. If you are interested in professional development for your school, please contact Silvia Tamminen.
Many causes lead to a possible need for a grade change with newcomer students. In many of these cases, we discover the need to consider a change during the registration interview. When a grade change is considered for a newcomer student, the Welcome Center offers to complete a brief literacy and math assessment in a student's heritage language in order to create a more complete picture of their academic proficiency. The results contribute to the body of evidence available to principals as they decide the student's grade placement.
When difficulties arise in evaluating transcripts from other countries, the Welcome Center can provide support in bringing clarity to assigning credits. We meet with school registrars to collaborate on difficult transcripts.
The APS Welcome Center offers to support teachers as they prepare lessons with their newcomer students in mind. Teachers benefit from receiving input on supports and activities. If you are interested in receiving planning support from the Welcome Center, please contact Ryan Lee.
Student and Family Services
When immigrant and refugee students and families come to Centralized Admissions to register for school, we bring them to the Welcome Center for an interview and orientation. In the interview, we discuss the student's history, learning the personal and academic background of the student. This provides the opportunity to discover the strengths and talents students have to offer as well as the ability to be proactive about any needs the student has.
After the interview, we conduct an orientation to American and Aurora schools. We cover the roles and responsibilities of students and parents in school and provide an opportunity for families to ask questions.
International Family Engagement Event (IFEE)
This event has been created to enhance and provide support to our refugee and immigrant families that are new to the APS district and the United States school system. During the event, parents are introduced to a variety of educational topics such as attendance policies, grading systems, and how their children learn English in school. While parents participate in the workshops, students of all ages get to engage in fun and educational activities. Parents and students also have the opportunity to connect with other families and meet teachers, principals, and other APS staff. At the end of the day the families get to enjoy community resources showcased by various community organizations. These resources and the experiences provided to the new families during IFEE help our newcomer students and parents prepare for educational success in Aurora Public Schools. Read an article about the inaugural event.
Mentoring for Individual Career and Academic Development (MICAD)
This program is designed to assist refugee and immigrant students to stay on the right path and remain responsible for their academics. The group focuses on goal setting and career planning, attendance accountability, and academic support. MICAD meets after school on Fridays at 1:15 at ESC-4. For any questions or more information, contact Khagendra Mishra.
Development and Advocacy for Social and Academic Success (DASAS)
DASAS is a support group for high school students who have interruptions in their formal education. Students coming from other countries who enter Aurora Public Schools as high school students offer a rich range of experiences and perspectives. However, it is challenging for high school students who are beginning to learn English and have interruptions in their education to demonstrate a great deal of academic and linguistic growth in a short amount of time. DASAS provides a small group setting to support and advocate for these students in academics, school involvement and social life. We meet twice each week and accomplish these goals through English development and literacy activities, homework support, attendance accountability, games and shared experiences.
STUDENT ENGAGEMENT GROUPS
In collaboration with Asian Pacific Development Center and Aurora Mental Health, the APS Welcome Center is running 8 different Student Engagement Groups for immigrant and refugee students in 7 different APS schools. This group supports students coming from different countries with their adjustment to a new school environment. Students engage in activities about diversity and culture, make connections to how life was different and similar back in their home countries, and explore other questions of friendships and support systems. We are pleased to partner with Asian Pacific Development Center (APDC) and Aurora Mental Health to be able to engage our students in this work!
Summer Camp for elementary and middle school students
In partnership with YMCA, the APS Welcome Center offers immigrant and refugee students, ages 5-13, the opportunity to be part of Summer Camp. The camp is held at Paris elementary school. The camp includes activities like field trips, cooking classes, swimming, sports and much more. Additionally, immigrant and refugee students participate in a two-hour block of English development four days each week with APS English teachers. This provides students with the opportunity to develop English skills along with having fun throughout the summer.
For Registration, fees, and financial scholarships please contact us at: 303-344-8060 ext. 29036
Summer ELD Academy at Central High School
All 8th-12th grade ELD students in APS are invited to join the Summer ELD Academy. For three weeks, students spend the morning in English, math and literacy classes. All classes are taught by APS teachers trained in CLDE, so the classes develop content area and English language proficiency. Upon completion of the summer program, students receive one quarter of high school ELD credit. For more information, please contact Ryan Lee.
Ethiopian Community Parent Meeting Night
Ethiopian Community Parent Meeting took place on Thursday March 17th at ESC-4/Welcome Center. APS schools currently have over 500 students from Ethiopia. The purpose of the meeting was to reach out to the Ethiopian community across Aurora Public Schools (APS), invite parents to learn about educational topics, and to create connections with APS staff. The evening featured presentations on high school credits and graduation, student individualized career and academic plan (ICAP), and parent engagement opportunities with APS schools. Partnering with APS, Africa One Village at a Time (ICOM), one of the organizations housed under the Aurora Welcome Center, informed parents about the multitude of services and supports they are offering for community members in Aurora. The event was also attended by the Board of Education Director Eric Nelson, APS Chief of Staff Marcelina Rivera, and Director of English Language Acquisition (ELA) Jean Burke. Thank you for everyone who participated in our event!
APS Refugee and Immigrant Students Take Field Trips to Community College of Aurora
APS Welcome Center and Post Workforce Readiness (PWR) partnered together in order to take APS refugee and immigrant students and parents to visit the Community College of Aurora (CCA). The trips that took place in Februrary and March of 2016 brought 53 high school students and 18 parents to learn about CCA’s programs and degrees, financial aid opportunities, and to take a campus tour. The students and families on these trips represented various language groups: Burmese, Karen, Karenni, Nepali, Swahili, Spanish and Sango. For many of them it was their first time on a college campus in the United States. Many students and parents were excited and impressed about the opportunities that CCA has to offer for them and their families!