HISD's Newcomer Charter School Gets Campus

A Houston ISD school designed for immigrant students is opening its own campus. The Newcomer Charter School has been operating out of Lee High School after hours, but will now be able to accomodate students throughout the day at a new facility off the Southwest Freeway. Houston Public Radio's Laurie Johnson reports.

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The Newcomer Charter school was formed two years ago to address the growing immigrant student population at Lee High School. More than 60 countries are represented in the student body at Lee. The Newcomer school provides those students with intensive English lessons and a flexible class schedule. Principal Monico Rivas says the new campus will enable them to add more classes and students.

"We would wait until Lee High School let classes out for the afternoon and then we would start classes in the evening. Now that we're going to be at the other location, we'll be able to offer also classes in the morning or during the day and then also continue to offer courses in the evening."

There are currently 222 students enrolled at Newcomer Charter School. Most of the students are older, some as old as 21, and many are supporting families. The school operates on a year-round curriculum, something Rivas says is important because many of the students don't have time to go through a traditional four-year high school.

"Most schools take the summer off, our students have a third semester. It's part of the regular school year. In this way they're able to accelerate their ability to earn credits towards earning their high school diploma."

In September, the school graduated it's first five students. Another eight will graduate in February. The new campus is located 6400 Southwest Freeway between Westpark and Hillcroft. Students will start attending classes there on Monday. Laurie Johnson, Houston Public Radio News.

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