​English Learner Advocates for the Migrant and Bilingual Program work with the Director of Student Programs for New to the U.S. Students and Families Grant.

The Migrant and Bilingual Program in the Wahluke School District has two English Learner Advocates who work with students in grade bands K-6 and 7-12. Last fall, the Wahluke School District was informed that our Migrant and Bilingual Program qualified to apply for an Immigrant Competitive Grant. Through the Office of Superintendent of Public Education of Washington (OSPI). WSD qualified for this grant due to our high number of new to the U.S. students. 

English Learner Advocates Julio Maldonado and Alan Caro worked with Bethany Martinez, the Director of Student Programs, to submit the grant proposal. The proposal highlighted family literacy, parent outreach, and training activities designed to assist parents in becoming active participants in immigrant children and youth education. Building skillset teachers, paraeducators, and E.L. advocates to work directly with new to the U.S. children and youth. They will connect students with mentors to help them transition to school in the U.S. and their future goals. They also will be creating a peer tutors system to provide academic support for students connecting them to a network of peers within their building.

On February 3rd, OSPI notified the Migrant and Bilingual program that WSD received the grant and was awarded $20,000 to support our students and their families. There were two grants awarded out of six districts that were able to apply. Our grant was $20,000 because OSPI identified our district as having 50-199 new to the U.S. students. Our students are primarily arriving from Mexico and Guatemala, speaking Spanish, Q'onjob'al, and Mam.

OSPI defines these students as – "individuals who:

  • Are ages 3 through 21 years of age. 
  • Were not born in any State*; and 
  • Have not been attending one or more schools in any one or more States for more than 3 full academic years.**
    • *Students born in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico cannot be included in the immigrant count.
    • *Students born to U.S. military outside of the U.S. can be identified as immigrants if they meet the definition of "immigrant children and youth," as defined in section 3301(6) of Title III.
    • **A full academic year is ten months. An immigrant student has been enrolled in U.S. schools in one or more States for not more than 30 months." (you could probably remove this part)

The grant will run through the end of August 2021 and the Migrant and Bilingual Program has begun the work. They recently meet with Guatemalan Consulate to learn more about the situation recently migrated families are coming from, the educational system in Guatemala, language supports, and to create a partnership that both programs are excited to develop. 

They will be reaching out to the Mexican Consulate hopefully create that same partnership. E.L Advocates Alan and Julio have also started planning family nights, which will be virtual at first, to follow COVID-19 protocols and hope for in-person meetings in the summer. Alan and Julio are graduates of the Wahluke High School and have worked in the district for several years. 

WSD would like to thank our E.L Advocates and the Migrant and Bilingual Program for their work and dedication to applying and receiving this grant and building strong relationships with WSD Migrant and Bilingual families. WSD's mission is to inspire and empower learners for all opportunities in life. Migrant and Bilingual families make up 51% of student population and English Language Learners make up 49% of student population in our district. It is essential and vital that we have programs and staff doing fantastic work to continue providing educational resources to our staff for all students to succeed. 

For more information about the English Learner Advocates and Migrant and Bilingual Program, please visit our website.