By Rick Monroe
Special to Village News 

FUESD reaches out to migrant students


Last updated 5/26/2021 at 2:05pm


Village News/Courtesy photo

Students in FUESD's Migrant Education program are in grades TK to 8 whose parents are mostly migrant farm workers.

Only one school district in San Diego County has more students enrolled in the state's Migrant Education Program than the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District. The district has 687 students in grades TK to 8, according to Dr. Lea Curcio, director of Curriculum & Instruction for the district.

Curcio presented the information to trustees of the district at its May 3 meeting.

"These are students in grades TK to 8 whose parents are mostly migrant farm workers who move to Imperial County or Central California for seasonal work," she explained last week during a phone interview.

The program for students is held after the regular school day, sometimes even in the evening, for students from three elementary schools: Maie Ellis, La Paloma and Fallbrook STEM Academy, as well as Potter Jr. High. High School.

"We are very committed to the whole child," Curcio said. "We also promote responsibility to each other and fostering leadership."

The program also involves meeting with the parents.

Funding for the program comes from the state, but the district has established goals and those need to be measured, the director said, adding that each family and each student needs assessment.

The migrant education program is based at the district office. There are many options for students, depending first on the school attended. However, the extra instruction could be held at a school closer to home or at a sibling's school. Students are bussed if they qualify for transportation. When there are parent meetings, sometimes a student session might be held at the same time.

Teaching online has been a challenge, Dr. Curcio noted. The district has been able not only to supply a laptop computer, but sometimes a hotspot or internet service.

Qualified students are children of migrant workers who have moved for the purpose of doing migratory work in the last three years.

The report to board members said the support for students and families includes:

• Academic support and services focused on accelerated learning until students can achieve proficiency in language arts, English language development, and mathematics while still celebrating their culture and developing self-pride.

• Involving migrant families in the decision-making process, offering parent education workshops to teach them how to support the success of their students, and provide services to families such as mental health, and referral for medical services.

Classes are offered in district schools to improve reading and writing, math and writing, as well as social studies/art in the evenings.

Students at Potter Jr. High are also taught study techniques and preparing for high school, as well as leadership skills.

Speech and debate skills are shown to students in grades 3-6. All students are also given academic small group tutoring.

Parenting classes are offered in classes such as how to talk to children, discipline and reinforcement at home, how to deal with difficult conversations or topics, and big decisions in life. Ten evening sessions are taught during the school year by contract agencies or individuals.

Migrant students also have their own summer school program in June. There is also a school readiness event in August and back-to-school supplies are included.

In 2019, 53% of migrant students achieved Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments for English language arts/literacy. Also in 2019, 16% of English Learner Migrant Students achieved proficiency in acquiring English on the ELPAC.


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