Document Type


Publication Date



Founded in 1639, the Mather Elementary School in Dorchester is the oldest public elementary school in the US. In 2012, nearly 40% of Mather students were Vietnamese American from immigrant households. The Mather School’s Vietnamese Structured English Immersion (SEI) program is the largest in Boston. In 1993, Ngoc-lan (Loni) Nguyen, a Vietnamese refugee student in education and Asian American Studies at UMass Boston, was hired as a 4th grade bilingual teacher. Many of Lan’s students later attended UMass Boston where they reconnected educationally with the importance of Vietnamese American identity, community, and empowerment in AsAmSt courses. In 2007, Lan visited an AsAmSt class with three former 4th-graders present. In 2010, UMass Boston AsAmSt alumna, Songkhla (Kha) Nguyen began teaching 2nd grade SEI at the Mather, and in 2012, Tuyet Dinh, a founder of AsAmSt’ s Coalition for Asian Pacific American Youth (CAPAY) was hired to teach Kindergarten SEI.


Presented as part of the poster showcase at the Office of Community Partnerships' Community-Engaged Partnerships Symposium on April 10, 2013 at UMass Boston.