Ongoing Orientation: an Overview

            Foreign-student orientation activities at Spanish-American Institute are ongoing and comprehensive.   

These activities are initiated by the Faculty Student-Services Associates

  • at the time of pre-enrollment orientation,
  • at enrollment,
  • on starting day,
  • at the time of level and subject selection and change
  • during attendance counseling
  • during satisfactory progress conferencing
  • as part of visa status change, school transfer-in and transfer-out counseling
  • other immigration regulation and procedures
  • health and safety issues
  • surrounding culture and community

 

Faculty members and the administration reinforce and support these activities as described in this summary and in the accompanying "A Faculty Student-Services Associate's & Faculty On-Going Monthly Orientation Planner:  The Foreign Student's Guide to the Surrounding New York City Culture and Community"

The focus is on creating a positive experience for its students.   This experience systematically introduces  students to school and extracurricular experiences which provide opportunities to meet and interact with other students, faculty, and staff and surrounding community and culture.   During the Institute’s ongoing orientation, students become involved in the scholastic, cultural, and social climate of our school and community.

Adjustment to the ESL-Plus Course of Study at the Institute

            The faculty, staff and administration of the Spanish-American Institute are committed to creating a positive and supportive environment for students throughout their course of study at the Institute and their stay in the New York City area.   There are a number of phases to the Institute’s orientation process. 

Pre-Enrollment

The following events take place before enrollment:

Introductory Conference

A Faculty Student-Services Associate meets with each prospective student to learn about their past experiences, present circumstances and future goals and  to learn about the student's needs.   During this conference, the Faculty Student-Services Associate uses the School Catalog to explain the ESL level placement procedure, describe courses offered and their length; as well as the Institute’s ESL Plus Course of Study with related electives.  Students learn about the online program called MyEnglishLab, which supports the lessons taught in the classroom and gives students the opportunity to practice additional exercises at home.  The pricing structure for courses, along with the cost of books and materials is provided at this time.  Each student receives a copy of the School Catalog.

When  a prospective student enquires about applying for a student visa or other visa requirements, the Faculty Student-Services Associate will also detail the obligations and procedures of an F-1 student.  This includes the importance of attendance, grades and the number of class hours required to maintain student status.  At this time the Faculty Student-Services Associate can answers questions about SEVIS fees, how to handle Change of Status requests, how to transfer into the Institute from another school, vacation travel abroad and obtaining F-2 status for children and/or spouse.


 

School Tour

Students receive a personal tour of the school.  They learn about the facilities available to all students.  These include:

o       Bookstore / Student Club "International Hospitality Center" where  students can purchase course material, as well as hot and cold drinks and light snacks.

o       Computer Classroom Room 20 with over 100 iMacs and PCs available for courses and testing.

o       “English through the Arts” Founders Special Events Center: a place where students can meet in a relaxed atmosphere.  There a number of musical instruments available for the students’ use, including a grand piano, bass fiddle, banjo, guitar and mandolin .  The Center is also used for student performances where they can exhibit the music, dances and songs from their country.  From these encounters students learn cultural similarities and difference, and how studying at the Institute helps bring people together.

o       Student Lounge: where students can do their assignments and have quiet conversations.

o       Resource Center Library where students have access to a representative collection of books supporting the courses of instruction.  There are nine iMacs with high speed internet access available for research and personal use as well as wireless access throughout the Institute for personal student devices.

o       Student Club Exhibition Gallery Spaces : there are exhibit areas available throughout the Institute where students may exhibit art work as part of the Student Club “English through the Arts”  series.

o       College Honors Wall which features college acceptance letters from past graduates both as a tribute to their accomplishments and an inspiration for future students.

o       "Dean's Choice" Bulletin boards featuring tips on the surrounding culture and community including public health club and swimming, music and art exhibits, free NYC Department of Health flu and inoculation services, museums and American Culture and History

o       Student Club Bulletin boards where students are invited to post rooms available/wanted, used books wanted or for sale and other general interest notices

o       The "Help-a-Friend/Help Yourself" Student Club Book Exchange where students can list used textbook they wish to sell thereby helping a friend to reduce the cost of their textbooks and helping themselves purchase the new books they need themselves.

o       The Student Club "Book Swap" Centers in the Student Lounge and Special events Center where students can take a used book they find of interest to read and swap it with one they no longer want but which may be of interest to a fellow student.

 

During the tour, the Faculty Student-Services describes additional services, such as wireless availability throughout the school, Student Club Bike Tours of interesting parts of the metropolitan area.  The Student Club has a Facebook page containing “Student Club Tips” inviting students to participate in activities throughout the city.

After enrolling -

ESL Placement Testing

Students take the CELSA Placement Test to determine the appropriate level to begin their ESL course of study as soon as practicable after enrolling before entering classes.

Textbook Acquisition

Students are informed of the importance of bring assigned textbooks to class and advised that textbooks may be obtained new in the on-site Institute bookstore or online from Amazon.com.   They may also utilize the Student Club Book Exchange Clipboards in the Institute Bookstore to connect with current and former students wishing to sell their used texts.   Students may also post "Used Textbook Wanted" notices @ www.facebook.com/StudentClub or www.facebook.com/SpanishAmericanInstitute.

Before Starting Classes

The Institute remains in contact with students before beginning classes.  This is done through phone calls, e-mail, text messaging and Facebook.

A series of “Student Tips” remind students to purchase books before starting classes and what time they should arrive as well as communicating to the student visa status change information received by the school from SEVIS.


 

After Starting Classes - Initial Period

            Once a student is enrolled at the Institute and begins classes, the Faculty Student-Services Associates and the Faculty ensures there is a seamless transition for students to become comfortable with their classes.  The Faculty Student-Services Associates continue to mentor the students, and the Faculty begins their mentoring role during this initial period

Start Day

Students are asked to arrive 60 to 90 minutes before their classes begin. 

o       This gives a Faculty Student-Services Associates time to meet each student, review their schedule and give a brief tour to make sure they are familiar with the layout of the school.  The students are then escorted to their first class.

o       Teachers welcome their new students to their class.  Introductions are made and their names are added to the class rosters.  An ice-breaker exercise might be used to demonstrate that students are encouraged to share their experiences and participate in class.  Teaches will review the required books and materials for their class, making sure students have purchased or will purchase the correct books. 

The importance of MyEnglishLab is emphasized.  Once students register they have access to many valuable tools, including additional exercises, all downloadable CDs, and the Listening and Speaking Exit Exam that must be passed in order to transition to the next level of English.  During the first week teachers will give students time during class to register for MyEnglishLab. 

Start Day plus Seven

One week after Start Day, all students who started the previous week will be contacted.  The Dean of Administrative Services will distribute a printout to the Faculty Student –Services Associates.  They will be assigned a number of students to contact.  Each student will be asked about their previous week’s experience at the Institute, and if they have any questions or concerns that they might like to discuss.  If the Faculty Student-Services Associate can resolve the concern or answer the question, they will.  If not, they promise to find an answer and get back to the student within a day.  The Faculty Student-Services Associate will encourage the student to meet periodically to ensure a continued positive learning and social environment at the Institute. 


 

Ongoing Orientation

            Student orientation continues throughout a student’s stay at Spanish-American Institute.  Faculty Student-Services Associates, Faculty and Administration are all committed to finding ways to provide students an enriching environment.  Ongoing orientation activities include:

Student Club Activities

The Institute’s Student Club sponsors many activities, such as

o       Student Club Tips: through texting, email and facebook, students can learn upcoming events, holidays and exam week.

o       Facebook Pages: contain cultural and social events that are taking place at the Institute and throughout New York City. These include http://www.facebook.com/StudentClub  http://www.Facebook.com/SpanishAmericanInstitute and http://www.FaceBook.com/AcademicDean

o       Perspectives on American Business:  a series of student-faculty conversations with distinguished community professionals.

o       Bike Tours: Student Club bike tours around New York's waterfront provide an opportunity to see the variety of New York's neighborhoods "up close and personal".  Friendships are made and lessons learned which last a lifetime.

o       Book Exchange: students can exchange textbooks as they move to a new level of English.  This can be done through the school Bookstore.  Requests can be posted on www.facebook.com/SpanishAmericanInstitute  or www.facebook.com/StudentClub.

o       Book Swap: there is a selection of books in the Student Lounge and Special Events Center.  Students are encouraged to take a book that looks interesting and to leave a book that they would like to share with their classmates.

“English through the Arts” Request for Proposals

Students and faculty are invited to submit proposals for use of the Special Events Center and the Student Club Exhibit Gallery Spaces.  The spaces can be used to feature their accomplishments in such areas as music, poetry, song, dance, painting, photography, drawing and illustration.

Bulletin Boards

The Institute has two sets of bulletin boards in the Special Events Center and two in the Student Lounge.  Each set serves the student community in a different way:

o       The larger bulletin boards in each location display "Dean's Choice" tips on information about free and inexpensive access to New York City sites, events and services.

o       The set of smaller bulletin boards serve as an additional method of student-to-student communication.  They can post items for sale or exchange such as textbooks, rooms to let, events of interest to fellow students.


Adjustment to Surrounding Culture and Community

            With a skyline that’s recognizable worldwide and more than 8.3 million people from all corners of the globe who calls it home, New York City is a one-of-a-kind destination.  Each of the five boroughs has its own distinctive flavor, while individual neighborhoods, streets and even single blocks maintain identities all their own.  Whether it’s your first visit or your hundredth, there’s always something new to see and do.  From world-class dining to shopping to nightlife to culture, New York City’s streets pulsate with an unmistakable rhythm that attracts more than 45 million visitors annually.

            Our Faculty Student-Services Associates and Faculty welcome the opportunity to share their knowledge about the wonders of New York City.  Student’s can also review the many low cost and often free activities posted on the Institute’s two large bulletin boards.  On Saturdays the Spanish-American Institute’s Bike Club conducts tours for students who would not only like to view interesting parts of the City at a leisurely pace, but also get to know and make friends with fellow classmates.  There is so much to see and do in New York, that we recommend several of the many websites that are available to assist students in becoming familiar with and enjoying this magnificent city.

Student Club Spanish-American Institute - New York, NYSpanish-American Institute’s “Student Life”  

“Student Life” captures the variety and vibrancy of activities available to students both inside and outside of the Institute.  As students participate in these activities they not only enjoy them, they also become more accomplished speakers of English.
            http://sai.nyc/ClubNotes/StudentLife200804.html

no previewHow New York Works: New York City Guide 

A fine overview of the available attractions, special events, arts & cultural museums are found on this website, along with tips on shopping and restaurants in New York.
            http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/family/new-york-city-guide.htm

no previewOfficial New York City Government Website 

A comprehensive website that provides detailed information for both visitors and residents in New York.  Students will find the most current information about the cultural, artistic and recreational sites in the Big Apple.  As new residents in the city, this site provides students with useful consumer information, as well as a resource for issues about Health & Human Services and Public Safety.
            http://www.nyc.gov/portal/site/nycgov/menuitem.e2a1b26d9be35ff6a62fa24601c789a0/


 

MTA.info logoGetting around New York City 

New York’s public bus and subway service can get students to any part of the five boroughs in a short time at a reasonable cost.  The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s website provides all the information a student needs to get to a destination in the City.
            http://www.mta.info/

Understand Immigration Regulations and Procedures

            The Faculty Student-Services Associates in conjunction with Designated School Officials can guide students on how to ensure they maintain status while a student at the Institute.  There a number of important websites that Faculty Student-Services Associates share with students about their student status.

Study in the States

A website from the Department of Homeland Security, that provides comprehensive information on the resources available for both prospective and current non immigrant students. 
            http://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/

Student Process Steps: How to Navigate the U.S.  Immigration System

Step-by-step summary what is required of a non immigrant student.
            http://www.ice.gov/sevis/students/

Transfers for F-1 Students

Learn the specific information necessary for students who want to transfer from one certified school to another.
            http://www.ice.gov/sevis/f_1_transfers.htm#top

State Driver’s Licenses or IDs Requirements for Non Immigrants

Every state has its own procedures on how a non citizen must apply for a driver’s license or non-driver’s license id.  The following links provide information for three states in which the Institute’s student population resides. 

o       New York
      http://www.dmv.ny.gov/license.htm#driversfromothernations

o       New Jersey
      http://www.state.nj.us/mvc/Licenses/LicensesNon-Citizens.htm

o       Connecticut
      http://www.ct.gov/dmv/cwp/view.asp?a=805&q=244774&dmvNavPage=|


 

Understand Health and Safety Issues

HEALTH & SAFETY ISSUES – IN SCHOOL

            As required for participation in Title IV Federal Financial Aid Programs, the Spanish-American Institute provides the following School Security Report to students, prospective students, and faculty and staff:

School Security Policies

All areas of the school are under the constant supervision of the school President and Deans, administrative personnel, and faculty members.   Each is familiar with the procedures to follow in responding to emergencies and crime situations.   Every effort is made to minimize the risk of crime.

Procedure for Reporting Emergencies and Crimes

In the event of an emergency or crime, students should contact the nearest faculty member or administrative support person and/or the Institute President's office.

Procedure for Responding to Reports of Emergencies & Crimes

All faculty and staff members will notify the office immediately when appraised of such situations.   The President or his designee will notify the police, medical personnel, or other appropriate agencies.   In the event of an emergency or crime requires immediate action, all faculty and administrative personnel will respond by calling one or more of the following numbers:

Police, Fire, and Medical Emergencies

911

Building Security

212-302-5764
212-354-2206

212-354-3181

Roosevelt Hospital
1000 Tenth Avenue @ West 57 Street
New York, NY 10019

212.523.4000

In the event of fire, follow the exit procedures listed for fires on posted signs.   Fire extinguishers are located throughout the school.   All school personnel are familiar with fire and exit procedures.


 

Policy Regarding Alcohol and Drug-Related Violations

In accordance with Federal regulations stipulated by the Drug Free Act of 1988, the drug and alcohol policy of the Spanish-American Institute is as follows:

§         The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of alcohol, narcotics, or illicit drugs, or the consumption of alcohol by persons under the State legal age is prohibited on Institute premises. 

§         Any student or employee discovered to be violating these rules is subject to suspension and/or dismissal.   Such action will be taken independently of any criminal action that may arise from a violation of civil law governing these areas.

§         Reinstatement of suspended students or employees will not occur until the Institute can ascertain by professional documentation that the student or employee has undergone counseling and treatment and is free from any drug or alcohol addiction.   

Information Programs Available

If you or someone you know needs help with drug and/or alcohol or if you would like information, please refer to the Institute's Drug and Alcohol Handbook or contact the school office or one of the following agencies:

§         Narcotics Anonymous Regional Helpline ~ 212-929-6262

§         Alcoholics Anonymous Intergroup Hotline ~ 212-647-1680

School Crime Statistics

As required for participation in Title IV Federal Financial Aid Programs, the Spanish American Institute is providing the following report of school crime statistics for the last three years:

§         August 1,2008-July 31,2009

§         August 1, 2009-July 31, 2010; and

§         August 1, 20010-July 31, 2011.


 

Criminal Offenses

 No.

a.   Murder/Non-negligent manslaughter

0

b.   Forcible sex offenses (including forcible rape)

0

c.   Non-forcible sex offenses

0

d.   Robbery

0

e.   Aggravated assault

0

f.   Burglary

0

g.   Motor vehicle theft

0

h.   Arson

0

i.   Negligent manslaughter

0

 

HEALTH & SAFETY ISSUES – OUTSIDE SCHOOL

            New York is the largest city in the United States, and also is distinguished as having the lowest crime rate among the 25 largest American cities, according to the FBI Crime Report.  Still, as in all big cities, visitors should stay alert and use common sense wherever they go.  Avoid unpopulated and unlit stretches, especially after dark.  Don't carry large quantities of cash.  Ignore anyone with an elaborate sob story.  Avoid the parks at night, and be extra careful around transportation centers, where pickpockets are often at work. 

            When traveling the subways, common sense also applies-- don't wear flashy, expensive jewelry and avoid empty cars.  During off hours, wait for your train in the well-lit waiting areas near the token booths.  When your train comes, sit in the center car, which has a conductor.  If you experience an emergency, dial 911 on your phone.  To find the nearest police precinct, dial 311.