Being from an immigrant family is hard. . . . Everything is new—a new people, a new culture, a new
language. Every day for me is a challenge.
—Ernesto, high school
English language learner
As the number of English language learners (ELLs) in schools increases, educators continue to develop peda- gogies that will reach these students. But we’ve heard from ELLs we work
with, and their families, that providing good social
and emotional supports is as crucial as using the
right instructional approach. Creating spaces in
schools where ELLs, especially immigrant students, feel safe and supported enables them to
make meaning of their personal stories and experiences. Making meaning supports overall learning,
as we discovered when we launched a project that
gave immigrant students a forum to share their
Looking Beyond Statistics
Poudre School District in Fort Collins, Colorado,
has faced tremendous growth in the number
of ELLs in our student population over the last
Photography gave these immigrant students
Kevin Roxas and María L. Gabriel
a way to share their life experiences—
and empowered them to learn.
A student from Poudre School District presents his
photovoice poster (held by Kevin Roxas).
At right: Posters are displayed in a local coffee shop.