TCOE Migrant Education Program launched first edition of The Migrant Voice

2022 first edition of the Migrant Voice is celebrated with the young journalists and their families at TCOE Planetarium and Science Center

DINUBA – Dinuba elementary school students in the Migrant Education Program were the first of five districts to see their articles published in The Migrant Voice.

Last week, the Migrant Education Region VIII Journalism Project – a project which teaches children in the migrant education program journalism skills – published the first of five new editions of The Migrant Voice. The first publication came from students at six elementary schools in Dinuba and students were able to celebrate at Tulare County Office of Education’s (TCOE) Planetarium and Science Center.

“Once their newspapers are published, [administrators] are going to be coordinating their culminating event…it’s more of an unveiling of the newspaper,” Shantall Porchia, program manager for TCOE’s Migrant Education Program and journalist project administrator for Dinuba said. “The idea with the journalism projects is to give each of the journalists extra copies so they can give to their families, and go back and show it off.”

Porchia was the administrator for Dinuba’s Journalism Project which included six different elementary schools and over 30 journalists. Each district that participates in the project is assigned an administrator who leads the project as a supplemental after-school program for children, currently third through eighth graders. At the end of the program, the teachers and administrators put together a culmination event for the unveiling of all the hard work the students have put into their newspaper. Porchia chose the TCOE Planetarium and Science Center as the place to have their unveiling, but she said this event could take place anywhere.

Porchia said she organized a study trip for the students and their families to come to the planetarium in a Dinuba Unified bus so they could all see the unveiling of their paper. Along with the teachers, the students get to see their work on paper for the first time with their parents. “That’s where [the students and teachers] get acknowledged, they get their certificates and they also have the opportunity to read their article in front of the group that is in attendance.”

According to Porchia, in 2016, The Migrant Voice began by only covering two school districts; it has now branched out to five. The other four districts are still in the process of completing their editions and should be completed by the end of the school year. 

The administrators of each district choose topics for each edition. This year Porchia took her group of journalists to the World Ag Expo in Feb. “They have to prepare in advance and take little notebooks with them and wear their press badges and they were the reporters,” Porchia said. “They’re gonna interview somebody, so they have to practice interviewing before that day.” 

Articles in this year’s first published issue, from Porchia’s class, highlighted several innovative new products as well as interviews with vendors from the expo. The publication included information on the Wheel Burro, a robotic harvest transport, Dual Chamber Cow Waterbeds and cow magnates. 

The Migrant Journalism Project was created as an English language development tool for children of migrant families. The idea is through the process of interviewing people, migrant students gain confidence in their abilities to research, speak, write and communicate their stories. 

Porchia said she can see many levels of improvement in her students from day one, to the culminating event. She said it can be complicated because each student is at a different level, but she sees improvements ranging from writing in complete sentences to being able to read what they have written and even how they speak.

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