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La Mesa Newcomer Program

The Newcomer Program, located at La Mesa Elementary School, was established to support recently-arrived immigrant English learners.

Program Description

The Newcomer Program is located at La Mesa Elementary School. The program was established in 2018 and is intended to support recently-arrived immigrant English learners, many of whom are student refugees. We provide specialized services that are geared toward supporting the specific academic needs of our students, especially those with interrupted formal education.

Students in the Newcomer Program receive half-day instruction from their general education teacher and half-day with a Newcomer Teacher. The Newcomer Teacher emphasizes language development within different content areas. Newcomer students receive the same quality education, in all content areas, as other students but with support from the Newcomer Teacher and Newcomer Specialist. The Newcomer Specialist provides intensive wrap-around supports and regularly works with parents and community partners to ensure that the student's needs are met. The Newcomer Specialist also speaks multiple languages and helps new students become accustomed to their new classrooms, friends, teachers, playground, and more.

Student Eligibility

Students will be assessed for eligibility on a case by case basis. In order to be considered for the APS Newcomer Program, a student must be:

  1. English Learner
  2. Arrived in the U.S. within the last 3 years

Priority is currently given to students coming through the refugee resettlement program and the most recently-arrived students and/or Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (SLIFE). Students must undergo a SLIFE Pre-screener and SLIFE Screener Native Language Literacy Assessment (NLLA) in order to qualify for the SLIFE waiver.

For more information, contact Antonio Baca at or (505) 803-7781.

La Mesa Newcomer Program Staff

Regina NibigiraRegina Nibigira

Newcomer Specialist

Natalie PerezNatalie

Newcomer Teacher

Liz BradfordLiz

Newcomer Teacher