September 10, 2019
Sept. 10, 2019—Cypress-Fairbanks ISD was recently selected as a recipient for the Goldin Foundation for Excellence in Education Exemplary Projects Award, which recognizes and rewards individuals or teams of educators who have made notable contributions in their respective classrooms, schools and communities.
The district was honored for its New Arrival Center (NAC) program, a one-year innovative approach for students who have been in a U.S. school for six months or less and who speak limited to no English.
“We are very honored for the Goldin Foundation’s recognition of the New Arrival Center program,” said Dr. Linda Macias, CFISD chief academic officer. “The centers change the lives of immigrant students from all over the world who are new to the country by providing them with an opportunity to accelerate their acquisition of the English language. They are taught by amazing caring teachers who are trained in our NAC model and successfully transition our students into mainstream classrooms in one year and put them on track to graduate. I am very proud of our New Arrival Centers.”
The NAC program, which currently serves 404 students in 13 CFISD schools, is designed to motivate participating students and advance the acquisition of the English language through the accelerated learning model.
Harriet Goldin, the foundation’s president, visited CFISD on March 19 to see the NAC program in action at multiple levels. She conducted site visits at Cy-Fair High School, Arnold Middle School and Lieder Elementary School, completing the district’s submission process that included a written entry and conference call.
“The Goldin Foundation for Excellence in Education is very proud to include Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District’s New Arrival Center programas an Exemplary Project Award recipient,” Goldin said. “We continue to be impressed and inspired by its vision and success. During my visit to CFISD, I observed a number of classes, where students were very engaged and enthusiastic; and they obviously had made great gains in English proficiency. The program, which will be shared with educators throughout the U.S., serves as a model for replication or adaptation.”
While the goal of the program is to increase each student’s language proficiency by one level, results have indicated that approximately 50 percent of students increase two or more language proficiency levels after participating in the NAC program for one year. Additionally, the high school completion rate for NAC alumni greatly exceeds the 60-percent statewide rate for students from comparable backgrounds.
The NAC program serves as a model sought out by districts nationwide and has been featured on the local news station, Univisión, as well as the Houston Chronicle and Community Impact newspapers. In addition, the program and other award recipients were shared on the foundation’s website so other schools and organizations have the opportunity to replicate the notable initiatives.
“The Goldin Foundation for Excellence in Education Exemplary Projects Award recognizes the district’s commitment to providing opportunities for all CFISD students,” said Maria Trejo, director of curriculum and instruction for special populations. “The success of the New Arrival Centers program is attributed to the dedication of our NAC teachers and paraprofessionals, and the support from the 13 NAC campuses. In addition, we have had continuous support from the Board of Trustees, (Superintendent) Dr. (Mark) Henry, Dr. Macias, and numerous district departments that make the program a district priority. The NAC program is an example of people working together to make the ‘American dream’ a reality.”