Migrant education makes sure children aren’t left behind when farmworker parents move for work
TULARE COUNTY – Hundreds of K-11 students from Tulare and Kings counties attended the migrant education summer program last month to bolster their English language arts and mathematics skills. The program was offered both via distance learning and in person at a small number of school sites.
One of the tools used to engage students in language arts and math was the program’s summer STEM activities. Through this program, students entered the world of engineering with projects that replicate work done by a variety of engineers. The program provided grade-specific science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) lessons developed by Engineering Is Elementary (EIE) through the Museum of Science, Boston.
Students in kindergarten through grade 2 learned about the work of structural and civil engineers by designing bridges, while students in grades 3 to 5 developed circuits. Middle and high school students learned about the work of architects and contractors through the design of insulated, energy-efficient houses.
At Palo Verde Union School in Tulare, several students worked to design bridges out of ordinary materials—Legos, clothespins and Popsicle sticks, and a deck of cards. Teacher Angie Beason challenged the students to build a bridge strong enough to support a heavy ceramic turtle. Through a series of designs and redesigns, each student eventually built a structure strong enough to support the turtle. Migrant area administrator Gloria Dávalos explained that with each lesson, students read expository texts about their STEM studies and wrote about their experiences. “This helps builds their language arts skills to be on-track for the next school year while fulfilling the 20 hours of writing required through the state service delivery plan,” Dávalos said. Migratory students also received 20 hours of mathematics instruction.
For students learning at home, teachers engaged them in language arts and math lessons using hands-on applications including Kahoot, various Google apps, and Nearpod. Pre-K students learned school readiness lessons while high school students were offered consumer mathematics with financial and computational lessons that have real-life applications.
Tony Velásquez, migrant education administrator for Region VIII, reported that migrant staff will gather and analyze data from students who participated in the summer programs to determine all measurable outcomes. Migrant education is a national federally-funded program that provides services to children and youth ages 3 to 21, whose education has been interrupted in the past three years because of the need for migrant parents to relocate to other areas in order to find agricultural or seasonal work. Region VIII serves approximately 13,500 migrant students and their families in 54 school districts throughout Tulare and Kings counties. Our goal is to work in cooperation with individual school districts to supplement the district’s educational program and to promote each migrant student’s academic achievement through advocacy, coordination and collaboration. For information on the summer program, contact Tony Velásquez at [email protected].