SEL Awardee

Bianca Lorenz Gonzalez

Oakland Unified School District
Oakland, CA
“In Oakland Unified School District, International (newcomer) students are underserved in the school community by a number of risk factors: access to technology, mono-lingual English speaking teachers, and the systemic barriers of navigating being a student in the United States and specifically Oakland. To begin to uplift the cultural wealth of these students, we co-created with young people programming to address these needs What is the most culturally appropriate and trauma informed way to support these students? Language Navigators, who bring their own lived expertise as multilingual students with English fluency as well as successfully navigating an Oakland public school experience. Multi-Lingual high school students use their expertise to help build a classroom push-in strategy that creates a safe space for International students to have their questions answered, receive support, learn systems and, most importantly, to be held with compassion and empathy. International students are able to be themselves (and valued) to increase their comfort in learning and using English. We are requesting funds to transition and leverage our best practices into a Work-Based learning opportunity, where Language Navigators are protective factors and operate in classrooms as paid interns, and our expansion works to help leverage additional opportunities for expansion and collaboration at two additional school sites who are specifically serving Mam speaking students. By the end of the grant, we hope to see an increase in international student retention, connection and overall sense of belonging to the school site in the newcomer student population at the targeted school sites.”
Tags: District, Middle School, New Arrivals, Traditional Public School, Urban