A Table from our newsletter Addressing Barriers to Learning,
Vol. 2 (4), Fall 1997

Table 1. Outline of Welcoming Steps and Activities
1. Family Comes to Register
Staff/volunteer designated to welcome and provide information to all family members

Provides information (in primary languages) about:
(a) needed documents
(e.g., Information card)
(b) how to get help related to getting documents
(c) directions for newcomers
(d) making a registration appointment

2. Registration Appointment
Ensure that the registrar has time to welcome, register, and begin orientation Orientation staff and peers take over and

Do a Welcome Interview that can clarify newcomer interests and other information they desire
Provide information about:

(a) How the school runs each day
(b) Special activities for parents and students
(c) Community services they may find helpful
(d) Parents who are ready to help them join in
(e) Students ready to meet with new students to help them join in
(f) How parents can help their child learn and do well at school

Conduct a tour
Make initial introductions to teacher/principal/others
Based primarily on teacher preference (but also taking into consideration parent and student interests), student might stay for rest of school day or start the next day.

3a. Student Begins Transition-in Phase
Teacher introduces student to classmates and program

Peer "buddy" is identified (to work with in class, go to recess and lunch with -- at least for first 5 days)

Teacher or peer buddy gives student welcoming "gift" (e.g., notebook with school name, pencils); teacher gives peer buddy "thank you gift" (e.g. notebook with school name, certificate, etc)

Designated students introduce and invite new student to out of class school activities

3b. Parent Begins Transition-in Phase
Designated staff or volunteer (e.g., a parent) either meets with parents on registration day or contacts parent during next few days to discuss activities in which they might be interested

Designated parent invites and introduces new parent to an activity in which the new parent has expressed interest or may find useful

At first meeting attended, new parent is given awelcoming "gift" (e.g., calendar with school name; coupons donated by neighborhood merchants)

4a. Student Becomes Involved in School Activities
Over first 3 weeks staff monitors student's involvement and acceptance if necessary, designated students are asked to make additional efforts to help the student enter in and feel accepted by peers.

4b. Parent Becomes Involved in School Activities
Over the first 1-2 months, staff monitors involvement and acceptance.

If necessary, designated parents are asked to make additional efforts to help the parents enter in and feel accepted

5. Assessment at End of Transition Period
Three weeks after the student enrolls, interview:

(a) the teacher to determine if the student has made a good or poor adjustment to the school (Poor school adjusters are provided with additional support in the form of volunteer help, consultation for teacher to analyze the problem and explore options, etc.)
(b) the student to determine his or her perception of how well the transition-in has gone and to offer encouragement and resources if needed
(c) the parents to check their perception of how well the transition-in has gone for the student and for themselves and to offer encouragement and resources if needed

6. Follow-up Intervention

A. Problem analysis: This step involves going back to the person or persons who indicated dissatisfaction and asking for more specifics (e.g., what the specific problem is and what the person(s) think needs to be changed). It may also be appropriate and necessary to check with others (e.g., teacher, parent, student).

B. Intervention plan: Based on the information gathered, plans can be made about what to do and who will do it. What to do may range from connecting the student/family with others for social support to helping to identify specific activities and ways to facilitate student/family involvement. Who will do it may be project staff, a volunteer, a teacher, an outreach coordinator, etc.

C. Intervention written summary: Once such an intervention is carried out the Extended Welcoming -- Summary of Intervention form can be filled out and given to the a case manager or other designated person who monitors follow-through related to interventions.

D. Extended welcoming follow-up interview: A week after the extended intervention is completed, another (modified) follow-up interview should be carried out respectively, with the student, parent, and teacher. If a problem remains, additional intervention is in order -- if feasible.

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