Summer school program for migrant students is growing

 Medford, Ore. —  In the Medford School District alone, more than 600 students are considered migrant, meaning they have moved at some point during their schooling because their families are looking for agricultural or seasonal work. Those moves can often cause gaps in a student’s learning, but one program is helping to close those, and it’s growing more every year.

School may be out for summer, but there’s still plenty of learning taking place inside Central High School. Dozens of students are taking part in a migrant summer school program within the district. It’s a service provided to students who have moved from another district, another state, or another country for their families work.

“A lot of our kids will be here for a year and then they will move back to their country of origin, and then come back out a year later so there are several gaps in their education,” Federal Programs & School Improvement Supervisor, Terri Dahl says.

This program, helps those students hone their math, reading, and language skills, with classes in science, health and nutrition too. Wednesday’s lesson in particular, has them exercising more than their brains as students make smoothies on a “blender bike”.

Students taking part say the added instruction time has been a big help in the classroom.

“The program helped me so much to where I didn’t need it,” incoming freshman, Jessica Quezada says, “I just continued going so I wouldn’t fall behind at school anymore.”

“It’s a great help to anyone who needs it,” soon-to-be sophomore, Evelyn Villa adds.

And agencies that participate, hope the program’s momentum only continues.

“When the light bulbs come on and they’re able to say wow I can do this, [there’s] nothing better,” coordinator, Michael Torguson says.

When the program started 6 years ago, only 5 students participated. Now, there are more than 300. The district says it’s been able to reach more families thanks to Parent Action Committee meetings with families who qualify.

In the last three years, the program has grown by more than 50%.  In 2015, it served 198 students.  In  2016, 221 students attended. This year, there are 320 students.

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