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The New Americans:

Educational Outreach Elements

ITVS's Community Connections Project joined forces with Active Voice, National Issues Forums Institute, and Outreach Extensions to carry out an extensive community civic engagement campaign. This campaign involved people in constructive conversation at community forums, on the Web, and in classrooms -- key places where people turn to talk about immigration and what it means to be an American. An emphasis in this campaign was to develop resources, video modules, and trainings that support the long-term use of the series for education and awareness building after broadcast.

Here is a description of each organization's outreach efforts:

Resources from Active Voice
(Resources to support cross-ethnic coalition building, policy-focused screenings, and professional development for service providers, youth leaders, and faith-based and immigrant organizations)

  • Theme-based video modules excerpted from the series and focused on "Supporting Families," "Finding Community," and "Building Bridges"
  • Module toolkits that include a discussion guide, resource list, inquiry tools, case studies, and workshop curriculum
  • Training packages for advocates, teachers, human resource professionals, funders, policy makers, and intergroup facilitators

Resources from ITVS's Community Connections Project
(Materials for public television stations, community colleges, vocational education and adult basic education, ESOL, in-service educators, and other professionals)

    This comprehensive Web site features downloadable outreach materials, interactive immigration survival tips, a cultural-riches exchange, and press materials.
The New Americans Series Guide and Activity Book
View cover of Series Guide and Activity Book

    • The New Americans Series Guide and Activity Book: ITVS contracted with New England Literacy Resource Center/World Education to develop a discussion and activity guide for the series. The guide offers the following to educators and community organizations:

      • Guided community discussion activities that build on the immigration issues raised in the films
      • Classroom activities, including ESOL activities, that build skills through research and exploration of these issues
      • Professional development and cultural competence training activities for educators and workers in health care and mental health
      • Project-based activities that build dialogue within and across cultures. Topics and themes include background on the history, geography, and politics of the five homelands represented in the film; activities that help users examine the beliefs, values, and social power that individuals, as part of social groups, bring to their interactions; activities that help users grapple with issues of identity and change; and resources to further explore immigration-related issues.

    • Lesson Plans: These provide interactive activities, such as a timeline, maps, and exercises in tracking family history. These exercises examine the effect of immigration on the nation and offer students in grades 7-12 the opportunity to explore the immigrant experience.

    • The New Americans E-Newsletter: Issued quarterly a year prior to broadcast, the newsletter provided the latest information on grant opportunities, producer notes, and broadcast updates, as well as details on outreach resources and activities.

    • Community Engagement Interactive Map: Add your own local activities to the map and find out what's happening in your area.
  • Pre-broadcast Brochure: The New Americans community engagement brochure provided an overview of the outreach partners and community resources available to community organizations, educational institutions, public television stations, and others.

View postcard

  • Postcards: Outreach partners could send these postcards to the various audiences they work with. The postcards contained series and broadcast information.

  • Preview Tapes: Extensive distribution of excerpt tapes was provided for pre-broadcast screenings at conferences, workshops, policy forums, and other events pre- and post-broadcast.

  • Station Grants: ITVS-CCP provided outreach grants to 13 public television stations to support the planning and development of community campaigns around The New Americans. These grants supported the development of partnerships with gateway organizations targeted by The New Americans, including community colleges, vocational schools, adult basic education and adult English-as-an-additional-language programs. Grantees needed to demonstrate cooperative planning and leadership with organizations serving immigrants and refugees and the ability to sustain outcomes beyond the broadcast.

Resources from National Issues Forums Institute
(Materials created for civic and educational organizations interested in addressing public issues in local forums)

  • The New Challenges of American Immigration: What Should We Do?, developed by the National Issues Forums Institute, is a 40-page guide that includes an issues book and moderator's guide, along with a 12-minute discussion-starter tape.

Resources from Outreach Extensions Resources
(Materials for outreach staff and Ready To Learn coordinators at public television stations to use with Spanish-speaking communities)

  • America, My New Home workshop curriculum, available in Spanish and English, is designed to engage parents and caregivers of young children, particularly new Latino immigrants, in experiences that support community networking and family strengthening and help young children deal with life transitions. In collaboration with Outreach Extensions, the National Latino Children's Institute developed the workshop. Materials include the storybook A New Sun/El Nuevo Sol.


The New Americans Web site
View Web site
The companion Web site invites visitors to learn more about the series, dig deeper into the subjects of immigration and globalization, and celebrate and explore the cultural riches each family brings to its new country. The site includes the following areas:

  • For Educators offers 11 lesson plans that address varied historic and modern-day immigration issues. Lesson plans aligned with national academic performance standards give students hands-on opportunities to grasp the essence of immigration to the United States, from analyzing factual data to conducting oral histories of first- or second-generation immigrants.
  • Community Engagement lets you learn about goals and get resources for community involvement and educational outreach from the Community Connections Project and its partners at
  • Learn More provides extensive links to other resources.
  • Share Your Story lets you share your immigration story and cultural traditions, whether you're fifth-generation American or newly arrived.
  • Meet the New Americans offers essays and video excerpts that feature the families from the series.
  • Where Are They Now? contains updated information on each family featured in the series.
  • Cultural Riches lets you sample some of the art, food, music, and words brought to the United States from the homelands of the people featured in The New Americans.
  • Take the Quiz is an activity that challenges common misperceptions regarding immigration.

Companion Book

Written by Rubén Martínez and with photographs by Joseph Rodríguez, The New Americans recounts the dramatic journeys of seven immigrant families, from their homelands to their arrival and settling in the United States. The stories of their voyages are pieced together to form a kaleidoscope of the immigrant experience, providing a new take on the continuing regeneration of a multicultural America. The book is published by The New Press.

Person-to-Person Outreach

The following ITVS-Community Connections Project (CCP) outreach events are a sampling of the person-to-person outreach conducted on behalf of The New Americans. More examples can be found at

  • In April 2004, ITVS-CCP participated in the annual conference of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) in Minneapolis, presenting a panel called "When Community Colleges Serve as Gateways to New Americans." The panel, which used The New Americans as a key source, focused on the idea that community colleges play a critical role for new immigrants and highlighted the importance of understanding how these schools serve as primary educational and community partners for newcomers.

  • In March 2004, the ITVS-Community Connections Project held a three-hour workshop for ESOL educators at City College of San Francisco, training them in the use of The New Americans Series Guide and Activity Book and Active Voice modules. City College of San Francisco will continue integrating the series and the accompanying guide into its ESOL curriculum.

  • The New Americans Series Guide and Activity Book was presented to ESOL instructors at the annual TESOL conference held in Long Beach, Calif., from March 31 to April 3, 2004. ESOL Instructors visiting the Kentucky Educational Television booth received the ESOL section of the guide and activity book.

  • In March 2004, Chicago Community Trust (CCT) hosted a donor education forum that included a film preview and discussion with Jim Sommers, ITVS national outreach manager; Israel Nwidor, film subject; and Bob Glaves, director of the Chicago Bar Association and co-chair of Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees. As part of the ITVS-Community Connections Project, the event served to reinvigorate discussions about how community organizations and foundations can collaborate to work with issues surrounding immigration.

  • In January 2004, ITVS-Community Connections Project and The Idaho Agency for New Americans hosted a screening and discussion for ESOL classes using the Active Voice's "Supporting Families" module. The ESOL class participants included intermediate to advanced students from Russia and Somalia. The students discussed the film and explored questions from the ITVS discussion guide, talking about differences between America and their homelands.

New Americans kit
View Active Voice Web site

Active Voice
Active Voice conducted more than 50 workshops for community leaders, educators in credentialed courses, public administrators, and staff of family service organizations. These workshops, which used the educational modules and kits, were instrumental in teaching the critical facilitation skills required to foster community dialogue.

Along with the workshops, Active Voice presented its outreach materials nationwide in six states, reaching approximately 2,600 people.

Outreach Extensions
In collaboration with the National Latino Children's Institute, Outreach Extensions created the America, My New Home workshop curriculum to accompany The New Americans story about the Flores family from Mexico. The Flores' story is about family reunification and the immigration process. Their experiences help illuminate themes such as uncertainty, sense of loss, and hope for a better life in America that are part of many immigrants' stories.

America, My New Home provides Ready To Learn coordinators at public television stations across the country a way to reach out to parents and others who work with Latino children, with a particular focus on helping new immigrants. The themes from the program are woven through the workshop, which models Ready To Learn's View, Read, Do learning triangle. Activities are designed to help participants create "journey" albums, write identity poems, gain skills in community networking, and support young children who are dealing with life changes. Available in English and Spanish, the curriculum is designed to enhance local outreach efforts in the Latino community as well as build bridges across ongoing public television programming. The storybook Un Nuevo Sol/A New Sun by Max Benavidez and Katherine Del Monte accompanies the workshop.

Grants were given to nine public television stations to conduct community screenings and parent/caregiver workshops using America, My New Home. An additional grant was given to a foundation to collaborate with a station on a local production.

The outreach effort engaged almost 20,000 people in workshops and events. The work of community partners reached an additional 40,000 people. Other audiences were reached through material distribution (22,560), local station Web sites (584,200), outreach promotion (914,570), and on-air outreach (1,203,600).

Next > Outcomes

In this section:

    Auschwitz: Inside the
    Nazi State

    Building Big

    Culture Shock



    In Search of Shakespeare

    Lewis & Clark:
    The Journey of the
    Corps of Discovery

    My Journey Home

    The New Americans

        Goals & Audience

>      Educational
        Outreach Elements


        Challenges &
        Lessons Learned

    Poetic License


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