“Residents of Harrisonburg, Virginia characterize the town as a ‘welcoming community’ that ‘embraces diversity’ and as a place with a very ‘unique and powerful story’ to tell. It’s a story of a changing community that accepts diversity rather than rejecting it. Why would this be the case when many other communities have approached similar changes with fear or prejudice?” (A Critical Mass, New America)
Just a week or so ago, New America, a “[T]hink tank and civic enterprise committed to renewing American politics, prosperity, and purpose in the Digital Age” created at the turn of the 21st century (“Our Story,” New America), created a comprehensive report that shows just how distinct and interesting our town is. New America specifically highlights this community because of the resilience of its agricultural industry but also its welcoming of immigrants and refugees.
The way Harrisonburg has received these individuals is recognized and considered exceptional among its counterparts. New America’s report, “A Critical Mass: Creating Comprehensive Services for Dual Language Learners in Harrisonburg,” focuses in on how Dual Language Learning has been introduced into Harrisonburg City Public Schools and is now thriving and serving the diverse population in this area.
The report spotlights Harrisonburg’s successful Dual Language Learning programs in the following ways:
- Supporting and improving Early Childhood Education programs.
- Improving Family Engagement.
- Providing services for “Newcomer Students,” or those having recently relocated to the area and may need intensive English Language Learning programs.
- Making sure all teachers in the Harrisonburg City School System are trained in Dual Language Learning.
- Promotion of Bilingualism through Dual Immersion programs.
In many ways, Harrisonburg is pioneering in its support for immigrants and building a healthy, culturally-diverse community. The efforts of so many in Harrisonburg are being noticed and honored. We encourage you to check out the report and to stay involved with the many ways this town celebrates its many vibrant cultures!
About the Author: As the Communications and Client Manager at NewBridges, Abby Bush juggles many aspects of NewBridges’ online presence and community involvement. While she manages social media and the website, she also does event planning and works with volunteers. She enjoys photography, working with people, and drinking strong coffee.
Contact her at [email protected]ewbridgesirc.org