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Students With Interrupted Formal Education

Students With Interrupted Formal Education
Bridging Where They Are and What They Need

Foreword by Deborah Short

March 2017 | 152 pages | Corwin

New hope for our most vulnerable English learners

“One of the guiding principles of effective English language teaching is for educators to know their students. And that in a nutshell captures the value of this book. . . . The compassion that Custodio and O’Loughlin feel for our SIFE students, the commitment they have to educating them well, and the comprehension they have of the assets these learners bring to the classroom are evident in the writing, tools, and vignettes they share.”

-Deborah J. Short

Under the best of circumstances, the academic demands of today’s classrooms can be daunting to our English learners. But for the tens of thousands of newly arrived students with interrupted formal education, even the social challenges can be outright overwhelming. 

Rely on this all-in-one guide from Brenda Custodio and Judith O’Loughlin for expert insight on how to build the skills these students need for success in school and beyond. Inside you’ll find

  • Essential background on factors leading to interrupted education
  • Specific focus on refugee children and Latino immigrants
  • Guidance on building internal resilience for long-term social and emotional health
  • Recommendations for creating supportive environments at the classroom, school, and district level

About one thing, Brenda and Judith are absolutely convinced: our SIFE students can learn and make progress, often at a remarkable speed.  But it’s up to us, their educators, to provide the time, attention, and a specific focus. Consider this book your first step forward.


About the Authors
1. Introduction to Students With Interrupted Formal Education
2. Latinos With Interrupted Education
3. Unique Issues of Refugee Children
4. Providing Social and Emotional Support: Developing Resilient Students
5. Providing School-Based Support for SIFE

"Students with limited or interrupted formal education are a growing population in our schools and one that few of our teachers are prepared to serve well.  Their social and educational needs are often quite different from those of the majority of culturally and linguistically diverse students and other English as an additional language learners.  This book has many resources and suggestions for assistance with serving the needs of these students. Additionally I am glad to see the book addresses resiliency and culture shock, as these are two areas frequently overlooked in textbooks for teachers working with these challenging students."

Dr. Catherine Collier, Director
CrossCultural Developmental Education Services

"With Students with Interrupted Formal Education: Bridging Where They Are and What They Need, Custodio and O’Loughlin have produced an important resource for teachers, school leaders, teacher educators, and community leaders. The authors show readers the many challenges that students with interrupted formal education (SIFE) face and provide critical background information on these English learners. Then the authors give specific strategies for supporting SIFE students academically, socially, and culturally. They include checklists, application ideas, and bibliographies. This book is a must-read for all those working with SIFEs."

Yvonne Freeman, Professor Emerita
The University of Texas at Brownsville

"In a much-needed new resource, Brenda Custodio and Judith O’Loughlin address a unique subgroup of English learners with empathy, aptitude, and critical insight. Students With Interrupted Formal Education provides a comprehensive picture of the complex context and rich diversity among SIFEs, while it also offers field-tested, ready-to-use, specific suggestions on how to create a positive support system for SIFEs that lead to student success! I am excited to see the well-deserved attention the authors have given to this hard-to-reach and sometimes underserved group of students."

Andrea Honigsfeld, Associate Dean and Ed.D. Program Director
Molloy College, New York

"Custodio and O'Loughlin provide a thorough yet focused discussion of SIFE and what teachers can do to support them. Their text is recommended for those who work with these students and for those who prepare them to do so."

Timothy A. Micek, DA, Associate Professor, Education & Director, MATESOL
Ohio Dominican University

"Finally, we have an insightful and timely comprehensive resource for our schools that will be immensely helpful to serving the growing numbers of refugee and immigrant children in our classrooms today! So many of these children have fled severe persecution, war, and poverty, which means months or even years of missed schooling. With a deeply compassionate perspective based on their years of rich experience and research, Custodio and O'Loughlin cover it all in this book. Both vulnerable and resilient, these children have shown how successful they can be when classrooms are welcoming and build on their strengths. This practical book will provide educators - and all those who care about these children - with just the information and resources they need. Bravo to Custodio and O'Loughlin - they have produced the first book of its kind that will be critical to the success of these children and our increasingly global education system!"

Lyn Morland, MSW, MA, Research Fellow
Bank Street College of Education, Center for Culturally Responsive Practice

"This seminal work is the fruit of extensive research and many years of classroom experience on the part of the authors, who truly represent the vanguard in working with Students with Interrupted Formal Education. With clarity and precision, it offers practical steps that teachers, other educational professionals, and district at large can take to champion these students to academic and social success. Designed with great compassion for an increasingly-significant student population, it is indispensable for both seasoned and younger educators alike. Especially in light of today’s political climate, it outlines extensive and highly-innovative strategies that draw upon students’ previous knowledge and background to reveal what is essential for their education and acculturation."

Bruce E. Williams, Graduate Director, Bilingual Education and ESL
William Paterson University, Department of Languages and Cultures

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