A state assessment of Great Bend USD 428’s Migrant Education Program showed the district “succeeded and exceeded in most areas,” Director of Teaching and Learning Tricia Reiser said.
The Kansas State Department of Education oversees the Kansas Migrant Education Program (MEP). The program is intended to ensure that the special educational needs of migrant children are addressed and that students graduate with a high school diploma or complete a GED that prepares them for responsible citizenship, further learning and productive employment.
Who is eligible?
“The Migrant program is a Federal program that falls under Title I Part C,” Reiser said. “Migrant families are identified as those who move regularly due to the location of the agriculture work that they do. This movement presents challenges for their children (students) who move from school to school.”
Great Bend has identified 77 migrant students who are receiving services, Reiser said. The district has three employees who serve as Title I Part C advocates; Shacha Sandoval serves the elementary schools, Sara Castruita is at Great Bend Middle School and Gui Burley is at Great Bend High School.
Succeeding and exceeding
MEP State Director Doug Boline confirmed Reiser’s report of high marks for USD 428.
“We visit all of our migrant projects twice a year to determine their Quality of Strategy Implementation (QSI) to support our state program objectives. Our four areas of emphasis are: School Readiness, English Language Arts & Math performance, Graduation, and Non-instructional Support Services,” Boline said.
For each strategy in an area of emphasis, the QSI could be rated “not evident,” “aware,” “developing,” “succeeding” or “exceeding.”
“Succeeding” typically means the instruction or services provided was sufficient, and so was the participation and the record keeping. A district is considered to be “exceeding” in areas where it provided extensive services to migratory children, had extensive coordination with community programs, and provided extensive record keeping.
Things that helped Great Bend hit the mark in each area included:
• School Readiness — Coordination with local agencies such as community health clinics and food banks, district pre-K programs, Dolly Parton Imagination Library, Parents As Teachers program, home visits and KanCare. The district provides preschool checklists, meetings with parents and family engagement events.
• English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics — The district provides advisory classes, attendance checks, before/after-school programs, bilingual books, computerized instruction, family reading nights, in-class interventions, summer services and translations.
• Graduation - Services to Out-of-School Youth (OSY). The district exceeded in some areas, since it offers career advisement, college/career ready advisory, ESL (English as a Second Language) core foundation classes and summer school. Students can receive ACT/SAT prep, take Advanced Placement courses and career courses, visit Barton Community College or go to job shadowing.
• Non-instructional Support Services — The district QSI was “exceeding” in all strategies under this category, thanks to programs such as family math night and career advisement night. It was also a plus that the district has nutrition programs that offer meals and snacks, fruit and vegetables, and a summer meal plan. Staff make home visits and offer parent training.
Room to improve
The only strategy that was rated as “developing,” rather than “succeeding or exceeding,” was in the area of Graduation - Services to OSY. The district needs to work on promoting migratory student participation in learning opportunities such as the Kansas Academy of Mathematics and Science (KAMS), leadership institutes and Hispanic American Leadership Organization (HALO) camps. The challenge the district faces with this is that students choose not to attend the camps if they conflict with driver’s education and a chance to get their driver’s license, or with summer jobs. “Mostly the kids need to work,” the district reported.
“I think we do a pretty good job with coordinating and/or providing parent education events for our K-12 students because we host monthly Title I Part C (Migrant) parent meetings,” Reiser said. “ At these meetings, we share how parents can be involved with their students’ school, about programs in our schools that promote student achievement, and other timely information that parents need to know about that can help strengthen the parent-school connection.”
Asked about areas when the district can improve, Reiser said, “We’d like to do a better job of coordinating and/or providing parent education events that promote school readiness for children, birth to age 5."
School officials are also having discussions about starting a Latino Leadership Program in the future.
Last October, the school board approved the Local Consolidated Plan allocation for state and federal programs. The allocation for Title I C Migratory Programs was $138,600. This was down from previous years due to fewer migrant students, administrators reported.
With the reauthorization of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which replaced No Child Left Behind, schools are being asked to pay closer attention to the achievement of their migrant students, Reiser noted. “Our three liaisons work to support our students and teachers in making adequate success with their academic achievement. They communicate/coordinate efforts between the students, parents, teachers to help our students. We want to make sure that we’re providing the help that our students need because of the challenges that they face,” she said. “We work to support our homeless students in the same way,” she added.