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Virtual Brown Bag Lunch Examines Canada’s School Districts

A virtual brown bag lunch on December 14 from 11:30 - 12:30 p.m. will shed light on how our neighbors to the north help new students upon their arrival.

Presented by the CSU Center for Refugee and Immigrant Success (CRIS) and co-directors Dr. Vickie Coleman Gallagher and Dr. Grace Huang, the presentation will be led by Raj Puri, District Principal of Settlement Services Surry School District in British Columbia, Canada. The conversation, titled “The Journey of the Surrey Schools Welcome Centre to Support Newcomer Families”, is centered on how the district helps support Newcomer students and families along with English language learner students with their transition to life in Canada.

After attending an annual American Educational Research Association conference, CRIS Co-Director Grace Huang learned that she and Puri shared many of the same passions and interests in supporting students and families from refugee backgrounds.

That’s when the wheels started churning.

“I thought it would be beneficial for us to learn from a Canadian system, gain insights and examine our practices,” said Huang. “We have a growing population of newcomers in the Greater Cleveland area, and there is always room for improvement in addressing the diverse needs of Newcomer students and families.”

Historically, Canada’s efforts to integrate refugees into society have been well-established, and in recent years, they have begun to resettle more refugees than in the United States. Surrey School District is the largest in British Columbia, Canada, with over 70,000 students and 195+ languages represented in one school district, one of the most diverse in the Greater Vancouver area.

“I met Grace, and as part of our sharing successful models of practice, we thought that this would be a good topic for CSU,” said Puri. “I hope to share our model of how we support newcomer students and families to access client-centered transition support that fosters a sense of belonging and hope to thrive in their new schools and the community.”

Huang added:

“This is a must-see brown bag session!”

 Those interested in attending the virtual brown bag can register at this link.