Engaging Immigrant Families Through Experiential Learning

As a part of ESI’s family engagement grant, schools formed Action Teams for Partnerships who were tasked with building stronger connections between the schools and the communities they serve.

Serving a large Latino immigrant population, the team at Gregorio Luperon High School for IMG_4557Science and Mathematics, took a culturally responsive approach to rethinking the way they engage families.

Taking 43 students and 8 parents to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, students and parents compared their experiences coming to the United States to the experiences of those who came to the United States over the past couple centuries. This extended out-of-class learning experience allowed parents to make connections between their experiences and immigrants’ experience over 100 years ago.

They read about the various reasons that people immigrated to the United States, including Dominicans leaving the Dominican Republic in the 1950’s and 1960’s because of the dictatorship regime established by Rafael Trujillo. As a part of the experience, students and parents took a practice exam of the citizenship exam.

Students and their families learned about immigrants’ lives, reasons for coming to the United States, and the hardship they suffered on-board the ships. When the group left the island, students had the opportunity to explore other NYC historical places and landmarks including Battery Park and the 9/11 Memorial Plaza. They took pictures with a python, as well as with soldiers in commemoration of Memorial Day. Students and parents had a chance to see the two fountains honoring those who died on September 11, 2001.

View pictures from the trip below:


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