What’s Happening?

SWIS workers Candace and Kim Chi

Saint John YMCA Newcomer Connections partners with Anglophone School District - South to build capacity and support newcomer students and families

Two Settlement Workers in Schools (SWIS) were added to the Saint John Y - Newcomer Connections roster in February to cooperate with administrators, teachers and EAL mentors in ASD-S, with the goal of providing auxiliary support. This pilot partnership allows YMCA Settlement Workers more immediate and direct access to the students they are supporting, which gives four identified schools in Saint John considerable additional support for more than 250 newcomer students.

Kim Chi Nguyen, School Coordinator for Y Newcomer Connections, has been providing settlement services in schools for more than six years. She said this pilot focuses on three main areas of support: creating more welcoming schools; engaging and connecting students to their school and extracurricular opportunities; and encouraging parental engagement. The Peer Welcome Teams SWIS workers are creating in schools help to support new Canadian students with school routines, as well as providing regular check-ins for the first two weeks of school. Homework Clubs and International Clubs provide cultural and academic supports to newcomers and make student engagement outside the classroom a key focus.  SWIS also play a key role in connecting parents with the school by providing an initial welcome tour, communicating important school announcements or extra-curricular opportunities, communicating parent teacher events, helping arrange parent meetings, and creating or communicating parent events and celebrations.