Indiana Migrant Education Program

They move around a lot.
They’re moving from farm to farm, depending on the harvest, and they may
not be able to carry the luxuries of life that a lot of us get to have. The multiple moves that these families
make every year have a significant impact on the educational development of
these children. They’re constantly on the go so that they’re in and out of
different schools and they don’t get that constant that a lot of students get
to benefit from. It really breaks up their education. I stay in Florida for
the longest. I stay there for six months because strawberry season starts there
and we go to North Carolina for blueberries and after blueberry season
is over then we come back here and then there’s our last journey before we go
back home. They have interrupted schooling. So when you are moving from
one school to another you lose a lot. When students learning is interrupted
through moves, even though a lot of the states are teaching from the
same group of standards, it’s still difficult for a child to go from one
unit about addition and subtraction and then moving to a new school where
they’re talking about something completely different. So they have gaps
in their education where they are learning one topic at one school and
then maybe at the next school doesn’t even get touched on because it was
already taught. Florida has different classes so sometimes I have to take
classes here that I can’t really take in Florida because they don’t have
them. We get final exams and sometimes the final exams covered something we
haven’t learned because we just been out of state so it impacts your grade
negatively. One young man this year actually had to take a whole month of
February off. That month hurt him academically and I think also socially
too. I think he missed out on some groups of friends as a freshman in high school.
It was pretty tough for him. It really impacts not only the student
academically, but socially. As a teacher I see it all the time. When a new student
comes in it’s like a social disconnect with the rest of the class. So some of
these children are having that social disconnect multiple times a year.
This is where the Indiana Department of Education migrant program comes in. The
program offers learning opportunities throughout the school year and during
the summer months so these children have the opportunity to continue learning in
a safe environment to help fill those gaps in their education. The Indiana migrant education program
provides services through regional centers across the state.
The reason the regional model works so well is because we have a network of
centers that are working towards the same goal with the same information.
We’re able to collect data. Make Decisions. We’re able to strengthen our
program so that if you’re in one place in Indiana and you move to a different
one you’re going to still have a streamline support of services
throughout the state no matter where you Are. Really about identifying students.
Making sure that we serve them so that they have all of the gaps in their
education filled. That they have all the obstacles in front of them removed so
that they can be successful. Finding and identifying migrant students can be very
challenging. And that’s why we have multiple recruiters across the state. The
recruiter is actually the most important component of the migrant program.
If there is no recruiters there are no kids to serve so that’s the first piece
of this whole puzzle. They don’t normally go out to the into the community and
start looking for the services that they need. So it’s the migrant recruiter who
is the first staff, the Ambassador, that is going out to reach out to the family.
So it’s their job to find them, to serve Them, and it doesn’t start unless that
migrant recruiter goes out there. Alyx, our recruiter, is vitally important. He is
our hands-on out in the field. As soon as he finds out they’re in the area he goes
out and makes a contact with them and then gets them signed up. Without
recruiters we don’t have a program. Without recruiters our students don’t
get served. So now we must focus on meeting the
needs of these identified children. These students are often at a disadvantage in
the world of technology. So our program invested in new exciting
technology and found 20 teachers across the state to help develop lessons using
this technology. It’s kind of an interesting experience because they they
gave us all this technology and said we’re gonna find a way to use this
technology in the classroom. So once we got going into the project it really
started blowing up. The problem that we found was we had tons of lessons now and
none of them were building upon each other because the math people would take
it a certain way and the language arts people would take it a certain way. So we said we’re gonna have to think
cross-curricularly. So math people get the language arts person and you guys
gonna figure out how to take your two lessons and combine them. Once they
started doing that they really started bridging the gap as to what we were
looking for from these lessons. I personally think that technology
amplifies a student’s learning Environment. Technology has really grown
since I was a migrant worker. To this, to this day, well, I see kids flying drones,
with Ollies, fitbits, when I never ever experienced that as a kid. Seeing these
kids here experiencing those with all that technology have in their hands, at
their fingertips, is opening a big future for them. The migrant program provides assistance
to students and families in a variety of different locations to maximize access.
This includes offering classes at or near work sites as well as home-based
tutoring programs. So I’m working with an education center
in West Lafayette and I have different students I go
around and see. So Cayetano was one of the easier students that I work with. I
pretty much just have to check on him. Make sure he’s ok. But I come out once a
week, chat with him, see how he’s doing in his class. Ask if he needs anything. But he just works really hard. It’s just
super diligent. It’s really admirable. We also deploy a mobile education center
that travels to high-need remote areas of the state. The center can also be used
long past normal business hours for traditional school buildings. There’s a
desire to learn but it’s the time. I mean whenever we start class at 7 o’clock at
night some of them aren’t in from the fields yet. You know, maybe eight o’clock before they come in from their job. We’re packing backpacks to get ready to
register our kids at the Red Gold Camp for school. So we want them to start
with a full backpack that’s all set up already with their school supply list. I think the biggest thing is relief that
for the parents that they don’t have to run out to Walmart to purchase the
supplies. They know that we’re giving them exactly what their children will
need. Every parent that I talk to wants the best for their children. And I ask
them, Well, why are you here? A better opportunity for my children.

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