Support for refugee students in a Newfoundland high school: merits and ramifications

Xuemei Li, Hua Que, Education in the North

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The province of Newfoundland and Labrador has seen a 35% increase of newcomers over the past decade. In response to the Syrian refugee crisis in 2015-2016, the province more than doubled its refugee intake in 2016-2017. Most of the refugees have been resettled in the provincial capital city, St. John’s, a relatively small urban centre. As a result, the local school system experienced unprecedented challenges in providing support to refugee students. This paper reports a case study which aimed to identify the commendable practices that were available to refugee students in one high school in St. John’s to help them succeed at school and integrate into community; analyze how the tailored policies and programs were implemented in the school; and discuss the impacts and ramifications of having only one ‘model’ high school for refugee students in the city. Themes discussed include the benefits of a whole-school healthy ecosystem, the dilemma of centralizing the support specialized for refugee students in one high school, and schools as a hub for refugee students with mental health difficulties. Implications for multicultural educational policies and programs are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-20
Number of pages16
JournalEducation in the North
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2020


  • newcomer support
  • high school
  • refugee students
  • mental health
  • whole-school healthy ecosystem


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