I Came Here to Learn: Center for promise examines achievements, experiences of Massachusetts students whose first language is not English

Research symposium and panel discussion on how policymakers and practitioners can support FLNE students


BOSTON – Youth whose First Language is Not English represent the fastest growing segment of the United States public school population. However, the discourse around young people learning English in America has often been one of deficits and academic difficulty. The state of Massachusetts has one of the highest graduation rates in America (86 percent), but the graduation rate of FLNE students in the state stands at just above 70 percent.

A new report by Boston University-based Center for Promise, the research institute of America’s Promise Alliance, provides fresh insights into factors that support or hinder FLNE students along their pathways to high school graduation. The report examines student-level data from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and draws on interviews of Massachusetts FLNE students to uncover stories of resilience, motivation, and persistence as those students pursue their American dream.

This research is a component of the GradNation State Activation initiative, a three-year partnership between America’s Promise and Pearson to increase high school graduation rates by encouraging statewide innovation and collaboration and sharing successful models. The Department, one of three State Activation grantees across the nation, chose to focus its effort on supporting a coalition of 10 Massachusetts urban school districts to improve graduation rates for FLNE students.


What:                   Research symposium and panel discussion with practitioners and Massachusetts FLNE students to discuss actions policymakers and practitioners can take to better support FLNE youth.


Who:                     Hardin Coleman, Dean, Boston University School of Education

Evanggelia Diamantopoulos, ELL Coach, Woodrow Wilson Elementary School, Framingham Public Schools

Nyal Fuentes, College and Career Readiness Specialist, Massachusetts Department of Elementary Education

John Gomperts, President and CEO, America’s Promise Alliance

Ivan H., Student, Boston International Newcomers Academy

Mary Jo Marión, Executive Director, Latino Education Institute, Worcester State University

Laurie Silva, Director of Community Schools, Brockton Public Schools

Stacy Skelly, Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Pearson


When:                  Thursday, May 11, 2017

8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. ET


Where:                Boston University

Metcalf Trustee Center

1 Silber Way, 9th Floor

Boston, MA 02215


Media RSVP:      Register here to attend. For questions, contact Daria Hall or Tonya Williams.


About the GradNation State Activation Initiative

The GradNation State Activation Initiative is a three-year collaboration between America’s Promise and Pearson to increase U.S. high school graduation rates to 90 percent by 2020. The three-year initiative, which focuses on work in Massachusetts, Minnesota and Arizona, invests in three key strategies: encouraging statewide innovation and collaboration, sharing knowledge and replicating what works, and developing successful models all states can replicate. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is a grantee of this national effort. America’s Promise Alliance acknowledges the generous support of Pearson for this study and its dissemination.


About the Center for Promise

The Center for Promise is the applied research institute for America’s Promise Alliance, housed at the Boston University School of Education and dedicated to understanding what young people need to thrive and how to create the conditions of success for all young people. www.AmericasPromise.org/program/center-promise

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