From the sidewalk of West 46th street, Thomas Jefferson International Newcomers Academy may fit the image of a typical school for young children. But take one step into the building and any visitor will be instantly immersed in a unique, welcoming environment bursting with various cultures, languages, and customs from all across the world.

The school, which has grown from 605 students since the first day of classes in August 2016 to 980 students in May 2017, boasts a diverse population of students coming from 47 different countries and speaking 28 different languages. With such a unique student community, the International Newcomers Academy’s primary objective is to develop language skills and academic content with a diverse multilingual population. The students, who are immigrants or refugees, may stay enrolled at Thomas Jefferson for a maximum of two years unless they have already reached high school grades. According to Marisol Burgos, principal of the International Newcomers Academy, over 85% of the high school students decide to stay at the school. At the conclusion of the 2016-2017 school year, 42 students will be graduating from the 12th grade.

At Thomas Jefferson International Newcomers Academy, there are a multitude of programs and services offered to assist in acclimating the students to the different languages and customs of their new country. Free tutoring is offered after school K-12, and guest speakers, including judges and lawyers among other professionals, frequently visit the school to educate students as well. Additionally, there is no age cap for students seeking admittance to the school, and no prospective student is ever turned away.

Furthermore, with nearly all of the students having no access to computers at their homes, the International Newcomers Academy offers students the opportunity to utilize computer-based programs, such as Imagine Learning, which is an interactive language and literacy software program, to enhance their learning experience. Courses covering constitutional law and financial literacy are also offered to the upper level students as well.

Coming off a year of significant growth, the Thomas Jefferson International Newcomers Academy hopes to expand its impact farther into the school’s surrounding community, and moreover aspires to continue expanding the opportunities offered to students for years to come. To learn more about the Thomas Jefferson International Newcomers Academy visit



Written By: Michael Ittu