A number of migrant students are still being referred to the Maine Department of Education recruiters to be qualified for the Migrant Education Program, and the many students who have already been qualified are seeing their first quarter grade reports. Parents have been interviewed and school assessments gathered for each student so that work plans and academic goals can be set. It is an ongoing process of discovery—the same questions may have different answers for each student. Which is the best path towards a high school diploma or GED? How far along that path are these students? And most importantly, how can the Migrant Education Program help them to achieve their goals?
Migrant students attend, for the most part, the two Tribal elementary schools located in the Eastern Region of Washington County. Indian Township School at Peter Dana Point in Princeton, and Beatrice Rafferty School at Pleasant Point in Perry have both lost the funding that supported their after-school programs. The Migrant Education Program is striving to provide tutors for those qualified migrant students most in need of academic support, and looking to provide other services to enrich their school experience. Plans are in the works to take the migrant students to visit the Maine Legislature when it returns to session in January. They hope to tour the State House, meet their legislators and also visit the Maine State Museum.
Tribal schools are also the current topic of discussion in the Maine Community Foundation Education Attainment Work Group. The questions raised and considered when looking at the microcosm of Native American students (and, by extension, migrant students) are proving an invaluable method of examining preconceptions about evaluating student achievement, understanding community expectations, and measuring social support for educating all students. Mano en Mano | Hand in Hand has been an active participant in these discussions and hopes to offer concrete proposals to enhance the educational experience of migrant students and their peers in Washington County.