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 Students from Migrant Families Get Summer Support

Students of migrant workers were able to get some extra instructional time this summer while participating in hands-on science lessons as part of the San Diego County Office of Education’s (SDCOE) Migrant Education Academy in Vista.

The four weeks of lessons there were a collaboration between SDCOE’s Migrant Education program and the Vista Unified School District. SDCOE coordinates the academies and the school district provides the classroom space.

In Vista, about 800 migrant students will be served this summer through various venues, including summer academies at three different campuses. The lessons were focused on science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics, also known as STEAM.

“They start seeing themselves as future engineers, future scientists, future mathematicians,” said Carola Solano-Humerez, lead teacher at the Migrant Education Summer Academy at Bobier Elementary School in Vista.

The extra instructional time is especially important for students from migrant families, since frequent moves can mean they have less time to focus on education over the summer break, said Dolores Valdes, a migrant education program specialist with SDCOE.

“As they’re moving around a lot, the summer loss is more intense,” she said.

The students’ academic abilities are assessed before and after the academy to determine how much growth they’ve made.

Students in Vista who couldn’t attend the academy also had the opportunity over the summer to participate in other Migrant Education events, such as trips to the San Diego Zoo or Safari Park.

The lessons aren’t only for children either. In collaboration with SDCOE’s Integrated Technology Services division and the San Diego Public Library, migrant parents also benefited from English and Google classes.

The SDCOE Migrant Education unit supports 5,500 students in 53 school districts in San Diego and Orange counties. The summer academy in Vista is just one of many throughout the two counties.

“Not only do we prevent the slide, but we give them that bump for the upcoming year,” Solano-Humerez said.

Migrant Education is a federally funded national program designed to provide migrant students with the support needed to alleviate the problems generated by mobility. The services help develop readiness skills for young children entering kindergarten. They help students from preschool through 12th grade succeed in class and graduate from high school with a variety of different services and supports.

Additional summer opportunities for students from migrant families include middle school transition sessions, a science assembly at Cal State San Marcos, and art enrichment classes.