Recent immigrants get to choose video course

Newcomer program may soon allow students to choose other electives


Jasmene Miranda’s third period class may start a new trend at Fremont.


That Video Production class is open to students who are in the school’s newcomer program, known as NEST. Students in NEST have been in the country for just a few years and are still learning English.


In the third period video class, seven NEST students work side-by-side with Media Academy students as well as students in special education programs. It’s a trial for giving newcomer students more options.


Until this year, students in the newcomer program have been only allowed to take elective classes in the Architecture Academy, including construction and graphic design.


“I want them to learn outside carpentry,” said Miranda. “I want newcomers to have regular (choices in) classes.”


Since the three academies became Fremont High School three years ago, students and teachers started questioning the practice of having immigrant students placed only in Architecture Academy.


However, teachers in the newcomer program said there have been good reasons for the limited choice.


“It didn’t make sense to have students in multiple academies because we didn’t have the numbers to justify sheltered classes in each academy,” said NEST teacher Alicia Lobaco.


A sheltered class is a college preparatory class that is customized for students still learning English. Students who are in academies are supposed to be in classes like Biology with only other students in their academy. The only sheltered classes have been in Architecture Academy in recent years.


So far, newcomer students in the video class have completed various projects, including a news program with stories about Ebola and profile videos of other newcomer students.


Newcomer student Juana Sales said she is glad for the opportunity and has several goals in the class.


“I want to learn how to make videos and manage the camera and also edit the video,” said Sales.