ESU 13 Migrant Education News

February 2015 Newsletter for Parents & Schools

Out of School Youth Returns to Bridgeport High School with renewed focus

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Jose's story

This January, Jose Castaño, who is 18 years old, returned to school. For Jose, it wasn't just another return from Christmas break. It was a decision to return to school after leaving school. Jose finished last year as a junior at Bridgeport High School. He had turned 18, and felt that he had worked hard both at school and at his summer job. He wanted to see more of the world, and see what life outside of school was like. He traveled to Mexico to see family, and enjoyed his time there. After a while, he starting thinking of school. He realized how lucky he had been in the United States, and at Bridgeport High School. He started to think about his future. He decided to come back home to see his parents in Bridgeport and work for a little while. As soon as he returned, he went to work for a local farmer. Hard work has always been part of Jose's character. He has worked after school and every summer for farms and ranches. but this time, work took the place of education. Jose's migrant education recruiter, Rosie called or texted periodically to see how he was doing. In December, Rosie and Kiowa, the migrant program director, met with Jose to talk about his future. They connected via skype with two out of school youth in Ogallala whom the migrant program had helped send to the High School Equivilency program (HEP). One of those youth had gotten his GED, through the HEP program, and the other is still working on it. They talked with Jose about how the opportunity to study their GED has improved their lives. Jose, his mother, Rosie, and Kiowa discussed the options: attending the HEP program, working on a GED locally, re-enrolling in high school, work, college, the future. Jose thought deeply. A few days later, Kiowa and Jose met with Mr. Asche and Mrs.Baxter at Bridgeport High School, and also visited Mr. Schlothauer at the Valley Alternative Learning School. (VALTS) to look at all the options before making a decision.

Jose carefully considered each option, and decided that he wanted the challenge of returning to Bridgeport High to graduate with his class. In order to do this, he is taking a full load of classes, plus online credit recovery through A+. Mr. Asche provided a laptop with internet access so Jose can work on his credit recovery both at school and at home. Mrs. Baxter reports that Jose is completing his A+ assignments "like a trooper every day." Jose and Mrs. Baxter are also working on college planning. Jose told us that Mrs. Baxter is a wonderful school counselor who is encouraging him each step of the way. Jose's decision to return to school has changed his future. He is thriving in school and his future looks very bright.

Here are some questions and answers from Jose on life as a newly recovered high school student:

Q: How is school going?

A: Pretty good. I've been doing all my work and getting good grades. Starting back in the middle of the year, I missed some things, which is kind of sad but I'm working hard and determined to graduate.

Q: What's the most rewarding part of returning to school?

A: I'm appreciating school more, and my teachers, and how important school is.

Q: What's the most challenging part?

A: Getting used to all the work again. It's been a long time. Things are not easy when you come back because you've forgotten a lot of things and aren't used to it.

Q: How do you feel about your decision to return to school?

A: Glad. I'm 100% sure I made the right decision. I saw my diploma today. Mrs. Baxter shows it to me quite often and says that if I finish, it will be mine.

Q: How do you feel about your future?

A: I'm really undecided. I'm having a hard time figuring out what I want to do. Time is running out. I want to do a lot of things in my life. I don't want to be a failure. I want to be somebody, to make something of my life.

Q: What advice would you give to other students who have dropped out of high school?

A: I would tell them to think about their family and the people around them. Try to be someone in life. Don’t just get a minimum wage job when you could be successful and rich and have everything you want. There are a lot of opportunities out there, and you just have to take them. Later on it’ll be too late. What’s the point of having a job you don’t like for the rest of your life, and moving from job to job? Study what you like and work on that to become the best.

New tutor for Cody-Kilgore

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Susan Johnson assists students

Migrant students in Cody-Kilgore now have an after school tutor! Susan Johnson works with students on reading and math. Students practice reading aloud, completing homework, and learning educational concepts via Moby Max with Mrs. Johnson's support. Mrs. Johson is a veteran teacher who has taught in South Dakota and also currently serves as a substitute teacher for the Cody-Kilgore school district. We welcome Mrs. Johnson to the team!

Helping New Students Fit In

The ESU 13 Migrant Education Program's Needs Assessment Committee met January 14. Members of the group were interested in learning how to help students who move into a new school. Kiowa Rogers, the Migrant Program director, researched and shared some inforamtion and helpful tips with the group.

Did you know:

15-20% of school aged children have moved in the previous year

1 out of 6 students have attended 3 or more schools by the end of 3rd grade

Catching up academically from a school transfer can take 4-6 months

Highly mobile students are only 50% as likely to graduate as students who don't move

How to help:

Have welcome and goodbye parties for new students and students who are moving

Weekly newcomer meetings with new students and school counselor

School check-ups with new students and parents at 2, 4, and 6 weeks after moving in

Family support teams - new parents and parents who've lived here a long time

After school programs - (ESU 13 MEP provides several of these!)

Take a picture with the new student and his/her new class

Learning packets with what the class has been working on to catch new kids up

Welcome books and goodbye books for students moving in/out with autographs

Moby Max Online Learning

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First Semester Progress report

Our first semester progress report shows that students who work consistently on our online learning program, Moby Max, our tutoring sites, or at home are making good gains! Our most amazing student success comes from Bayard, where one student progressed through an entire year's math content! Her teacher tells us that the extra practice after school has made all the difference. This year, we are required to show the Nebraska Department of Education and the Office of Migrant Education in Washington, D.C. that students who participate in reading or math programs have made at least 20% growth. We are on our way to meeting that 20% but need our students to work hard this next semester to meet it. Parents and kids, you can do it! We are here to help! Here are our scores so far:

Math: 11% average growth (31 students)

Fact Master: 18% average growth (24 students)

Language: 15% average growth

You may see some of the Moby Max screens disappear. This is because they are subjects which most students have not used or have had a hard time succeeding in. If we focus on fewer subjects and spend more time on them, we'll all succeed! A big thank you to our tutors and our students who work hard each day!

ESU 13 Migrant Education Program

The ESU 13 Migrant Education Program is a Title 1, Part C program under the Nebraska Department of Education. The mission of the Migrant Education Program is to ensure that migrant children fully benefit from the same free public education provided to other children. To achieve this, the MEP supports educational programs for migrant children to help reduce the educational disruptions and other problems that result from repeated moves.