Program helps young immigrants adjust to Regina schools
Newcomer Orientation gives new Canadians a head start
The Newcomer Orientation program is helping new Canadians adjust to Regina high schools this week.
The program, which is in its second year, is put on by the federal government and the Regina Open Door society. It aims to help the students adjust to schools before they are due in class, with help from peers.
Noel Fernandez moved to Regina from India last year. This year she's a Peer Leader for new students. She says the program helped her meet people before school was in session.
"It's really hard to make friends here because they're already in groups," Fernandez said. "So if there's a program like this the people who are the peer leaders will come talk to us... that's really helpful."
She says the program made her transition to a new school last August easier.
"I didn't find it that hard. It was hard, but not that hard as I thought it will be. Maybe it's because of this program," said Fernandez.
Principal of O'Neill High School Dale Reed says it's important to help the increasing number of new immigrant students ahead of time.
"One of the things we're finding out is there are more and more immigrant families coming into Regina, so this program helps to establish a connection to the school that they are coming in," Reed said.
O'Neill is one of two Catholic high schools in the city designated as an English as an Additional Language school.
"There's definitely language comprehension, reading - difficulties with a lot of our kids coming in," Reed said. "It gets them accustomed to people in the building. Gets them to know the school itself, but most importantly, it helps them to provide a connection with somebody in the building so they have a go-to individual, or individuals they can rely on."
The program is set to expand to Regina elementary schools next year.