Harvesting a fruitful education
Migrant education program strong despite enrollment decline
"Our Families are the most sincere, honest, hardworking people..."
In 2000, the Mid-Hudson Migrant Education Outreach Program had an enrollment of more than 3,000 students.
Today, there are fewer than 800.
David Sokolove, program coordinator, said that in
response to lower enrollment
numbers, the program is able
to provide more tutoring hours
A 23 percent decline in the national farm net income, reported by the U.S.
Department of Agriculture, is
one of many factors contributing
The Kingston City School District, where tutor advocate Brenda Elliot works, had 20 migrant students enrolled this fall. Yet, most migrant families in rural and urban school districts typically comprise a small percentage.
Sokolove said there are
active families in Dutchess,
Ulster and Orange, but the rising
cost of real estate has
made profitable farming difficult
Margaret Gutierrez, program
director, said tutor advocates
work with students in
the classroom and at home
with the families. She said it
Migrant students need special attention to compensate for environmental changes. Students often experience cultural and language barriers, which can lead to them not developing a sense of belonging and connection to their school and community.
The program was established as a way to reach migrant families and is one of 11 state subcontracted and federally funded programs in New York.
Elliot, who has been with
the program for 27 years, said
her role is to develop and
maintain a rapport with the
children and families eligible
“Our families are the most
sincere, honest, hardworking
people that I have ever met,
and this has been consistent
throughout my years with the
program,” said Elliot. “Each
year I feel honored and privileged
She also develops relationships with community organizations as part of the program’s practice of linking families with the necessary health and social services such as the Hudson Valley Migrant Health program in New Paltz.
Parents can attend workshops on immigration, positive discipline and promoting native literacy through the program and the Bilingual/ESL Technical Assistance Center in New Paltz.
Fifty percent of migrant students graduate from high school, according to the National Association of State Directors of Migrant Education. For that reason, the program provides access to state-level programming such as leadership conferences, career exploration services, credit accrual programs and post-secondary education counseling.
An eligible student is
between the ages of 3 and 21,
has not received a high school
diploma and whose parent,
guardian, spouse or self is a
Tutors provide assistance for up to three years after a family moves into a district.
Last year, Elliot worked with an eighth grade student on two Social Studies projects that involved written papers and a tri-fold poster on the 1920s and World War II. The student finished the year with an award for “Most Improved Student in Social Studies.”
“This was a wonderful outcome, because he was recognized for his hard work and perseverance during the entire school year,” Elliot said.
November 6, 2006
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