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Fugees Academy Expands At Time Of Growing Hostility To Newcomers

Mariam was on a roll. A bubbly sixth grader in a bright pink hijab, she sat in a semi-circle with her four classmates, trying to identify as many words with a long “a” vowel sound as she could. “Rake,” she said. “Rake — perfect,” Sharon George, her teacher, said encouragingly. “So, take your yellow marker and highlight the ‘a’ in rake.” 

The English language, George told her students, is hard. The rules of pronunciation and grammar are complicated and full of exceptions. It can be difficult for students who’ve grown up in the United States — let alone those who’ve only just arrived after having their learning disrupted by war and conflict.