Cultivating capital for high school newcomers: A case study of an urban newcomer classroom

Rabia Hos, University of Rhode Island
Kayon Murray-Johnson, University of Rhode Island
Amy Correia, University of Rhode Island


This qualitative case study examines how students in a high school newcomer program experience the development of social and cultural capital. Newcomer programs are created by K-12 schools with large influxes of refugees and immigrants. This case study data stems from a larger ethnographic study of a newcomer program at Georgetown High, an urban secondary school in the Northeast region of the United States. Using Bourdieu’s (1986) social and cultural capital theory as a framework for the study we provide an overview of the literature on the importance of helping newcomers build social and cultural capital. Themes arising from the data as representations of the experiences of newcomers building capital and the role of the teacher in that development is explored further. The paper concludes with a discussion of implications of the case for research, policy, and practice.