With one semester in the books, the IRC’s first year of the Academic Coaching Program (ACP) is already making lasting and measurable impacts. Working with newly arrived high school students and their families, the IRC has provided one-on-one academic coaching, helped students get up to speed in their new education setting, and created tailor-made service plans for every student and family.
With language barriers and students coming from as many as five years of interrupted formal education, getting students caught up in their classes has been a key priority for ACP. To support this effort, the IRC has connected students with after-school programs, collaborated with teachers to secure additional educational materials, and tapped into its network of volunteers to match students with specific subject tutors who provide additional support in reading, biology, computer coding, and SAT prep. In just the first semester, these volunteers have contributed over 100 hours of tutoring for twelve students.
Parent Engagement and Education
In this first cohort, only 10% of parents received the equivalent of a high school education in their home countries. As one parent stated in an academic planning meeting,
“We have never received an education in our home country...Whatever we can do, please tell us, and we will do it.”
In order to help parents be a part of their children’s education, the IRC facilitated 18 parent/teacher meetings throughout the fall. It was each parents' first time to meet their student’s teachers and talk about their grades and conduct.
Community Engagement and Additional Services
Though the ACP prioritizes academics, it also supports each student holistically by incorporating families in the process. The IRC connects families with in-office services such as psychosocial support, extended case management, and employment services.
Finally, the ACP also acknowledges that there is one more key component that is crucial to each student's development - fun! Youth in the program carved pumpkins at a Halloween party, scaled to new heights on a rock climbing excursion, and participated in many activities designed to help them explore and enjoy Dallas, their new city.
The IRC’s ACP is committed to ensuring these students are prepared for their exams at the end of the school year, and are making appropriate progress toward a high school diploma, positioning themselves for higher education and future careers.
To support the IRC’s ACP program, please contact Alex Laywell (alexander.laywell [at] rescue.org) for information on current needs.