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‘Day One’ Highlights A St. Louis School’s Focus On Immigrant And Refugee Students

A teacher tutors a student at the Nahed Chapman New American Academy.
Day One

The documentary “Day One” follows a group of teenage refugees enrolled at a unique public school in St. Louis: the Nahed Chapman New American Academy. The school only enrolls refugees and immigrants, some of whom come from war-torn countries.

“With a lot of refugees, they’re really just surviving — in the beginning especially — on a day-to-day basis,” said the documentary’s producer and director, Lori Miller, on Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air. “They’re learning a new language; they’re trying to survive economically.”

“I think this ‘soft place to land’ does make a difference for the kids,” she said.

The goal of educators at Nahed Chapman New American Academy is to get students ready for integration into local public high schools after two years.

“There are a lot of programs that help immigrants and refugees throughout the country, throughout different public school systems, but I was unaware of any individual transitional program where they take the kids and they really give them this extra support that they need,” said Miller. “A lot of [the support] is psychological, but a lot of it is just kind of slowing down the teaching of the English language, and keeping the kids in a quieter environment.”

“Day One” is now playing on PBS stations around the country, including the Nine Network.

Hear Sarah Fenske’s conversation with Miller:

Related Event
What: “Day One” airs on the Nine Network
When: 10 p.m. Tuesday, May 12, 2020

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill, Lara Hamdan and Joshua Phelps. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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Emily is the senior producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.