The San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) is supporting migrant families as part of its new Migrant Education Academy, which started this month in San Marcos.
At the twice-weekly events, which support students from preschool to high school, parents and children learn simultaneously.
For the younger children and their parents, there are family biliteracy classes that they can take together. The older students take classes focused on science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics while their parents get lessons about parenting topics.
"I think the Migrant Education program helps parents a lot," one dad who participated in the academy said. "They have helped me to see how valuable education is."
The academies are twice a week for five weeks and will be available in several districts with high numbers of migrant families. After San Marcos, they will be offered in Escondido, Vista, Bonsall, and Vallecitos. In addition to the classes, the participants also get to enjoy a dinner while connecting with other local families.
The Migrant Education program for Region IX, which supports 56 school districts in San Diego and Orange counties, is administered through the San Diego County Office of Education. The program supports about 6,000 students ages 3 to 21.
"Migrant Education changes lives," said Nicol Martinez, senior director of Migrant Education. "We strive to ensure all students are successful physically, emotionally, and academically. "
Gerardo, a student at San Marcos Middle School, said the program has helped him focus more on school and improve his grades. He has been in the program for three years and hopes to remain involved even after graduating high school.
"When I grow up I want to be a helper in the program because I think I can help others, too," he said.
Migrant Education employees coordinate with school districts and community agencies to organize a wide variety of programs for students and parents, including the Migrant Education Academies, summer school programs, and efforts to bring dropouts back to school and connect families with resources.
"We want to make sure that everything we do to support students from migrant families is of the same caliber we would expect for our own children," said Carola Solano-Humerez, a coordinator with the program.