Jie Park, education assistant professor, Clark University

How well do new immigrants navigate the first year of high school?

Professor lands national fellowship to study academic literacy of newly arrived English language learners in Worcester
July 27, 2016

Jie Park, assistant professor of education at Clark University, has received a prestigious National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship in support of her research focusing on literacy education and development among first-generation, recently arrived, immigrant adolescents who are entering high school.

“Recent-arrival adolescents typically enter the U.S. at the middle or secondary level of schooling with a range of abilities in their home languages but often find the academic literacies expected in U.S. schools to be a difficult part of their transition,” Park writes. “They are expected to master disciplinary knowledge and concepts while learning English as an additional language.”

Park’s project, which received $70,000 in National Academy of Education (NAEd) funding, builds on the academic literacies model, employing a qualitative, multi-case methodology. She will investigate how — and under what circumstances — a cohort of recent-arrival English language learners (ELLs) acquire academic literacies in their first year of high school. Using concepts and techniques from sociocultural literacy research, she will analyze multiple data sources, including classroom observations, audio-recordings of classroom interactions, student and teacher interviews, and artifacts and documents.

Park will conduct her research project, titled “Recent Arrivals: Adolescent English Language Learners Navigating Academic Literacy in the First Year of High School,” during the 2016-17 academic year. The study will be conducted at a partnership school in Worcester.

Park joined the faculty at the Clark University Hiatt Center for Urban Education in 2013.  Her work in the surrounding schools and beyond contributes to the transformative pedagogy, a hallmark of Clark’s internationally recognized Hiatt Center and Adam Institute for Urban Teaching and School Practice.

She holds a B.A. and M.A. from Stanford and a Ph.D. in education (reading, writing and literacy) from the University of Pennsylvania. Her most recent work has been published in the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, English Education, Journal of Language and Literacy Education and the International Journal of Multicultural Education.

The NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship Program supports early career scholars working in critical areas of education research. This non-residential postdoctoral fellowship funds proposals that make significant scholarly contributions to the field of education. The program also develops the careers of its recipients through professional development activities involving NAEd members.