A Cross-Case Site Study
of a Curriculum for SIFE

This study examined how implementation of a curriculum designed for refugee and immigrant students with interrupted formal education (SIFE) affected student learning in three bilingual and multilingual secondary schools in New York State. A two-course program was designed and funded by the New York State Department of Education with the intent of explicitly teaching foundational literacy skills, academic thinking and conceptual understandings for students with developing literacy in their home language. Researchers examined student progress monitoring data in English reading skills over a year-long period and conducted semi-structured interviews and focus groups with teachers, administrators and students. Using a grounded theory approach to identify salient themes across sites, researchers identified promising practices in working with students, many of whom are undocumented, during their transition to U.S. schools. Results showed that students in all settings made growth in foundational literacy skills and reading comprehension in English. Moreover, the study documents the tremendous obstacles a majority of the students regularly overcame to attend and participate in the classroom.