Migrant program established in New RichmondA new summer program in New Richmond is geared toward ensuring all students are on the same page when school begins in the fall – whether they’re full-time students or not.
By: By Jackie Grumish, New Richmond News
A new summer program in New Richmond is geared toward ensuring all students are on the same page when school begins in the fall – whether they’re full-time students or not.
The new Summer Migrant Student Program is an outreach effort focused on math and reading. It’s available for all migrant students from now until Aug. 10.
The program was designed to help transition New Richmond’s growing migrant population, said Jessica Ferguson, director of curriculum and instruction for the district.
“Last year we had the most migrant students we’ve ever had,” she said. “I’ve been keeping my eye on that and we anticipated a large group again this year so we wanted to design a program to support the transition period for when they travel here from Texas.”
To help fund the migrant program, which targets the school-aged children of migrant workers who travel to New Richmond to work seasonal jobs at local businesses like Lakeside Foods, Ferguson applied for a state grant designed specifically for migrant programs.
According to the state, the grants are designed to help schools “overcome the migratory-related issues of educational disruption, cultural and language barriers, social isolation, health-related problems, and other factors that inhibit a migratory child’s ability to succeed in school.”
New Richmond was awarded $13,000 for the summer program, Ferguson said. That money is used to fund everything from teachers and supplies to busing and meals.
This year all but two students have enrolled in the program, Ferguson said. The two who haven’t yet enrolled are high school students who are currently working summer jobs. Ferguson said the high school classes are mostly taught online, which would allow the students to continue working their summer jobs while participating in the program.
“Collaborating with Lakeside Foods and the community has really been an important part of this,” she said in terms of recruiting the students.
Classes, which are conducted from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Starr Elementary, are taught by Deb Wood, one of the tutors who works with the students during their time in New Richmond. Wood was required to attend training sessions for the migrant summer program prior to teaching the classes.
New Richmond’s program is open to students in grades K-12 and teaches units that incorporate reading and math, along with strategies to help students develop academic language and vocabulary.
The curriculum, which is based around Texas’ math achievement and success through engagement in resources for migrant students (MASTERS) program, was designed to help provide a seamless transition for the kids, Ferguson said. According to the MASTERS website, the program is used primarily in Texas, along with the states in which migrant workers travel, including Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Missouri, Montana, New York, Washington and Wisconsin. The program is also used as a tool for New Richmond teachers to better understand where the students are with their learning, Ferguson said.
“These are students who have been in our district every year, but any time you switch from school to school there’s always the transition period. And those transition periods always take time,” Ferguson said.
The summer program is only open to the migrant students.
“It’s unfortunate because we have other English language learners who could benefit from this program,” Ferguson said. “But since we got the grant from DPI, we have to follow their specifications and they specify migrant students.”
Ferguson said while she wishes she could offer this program to all students who need it, she’s happy that she can offer it to some.
“It’s been a lot of work, but it’s all worth it if we can reach just one student with this,” she said. “We really hope this will be helpful for the kids.”