Education program aims to help migrant families

GREATER LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – The Indiana Department of Education is expanding a program which will help the children of migrant workers not fall behind in school.

In West Lafayette, the Migrant Education Program will be offered by the Wabash Valley Education Center.

Migrant coordinator Samantha Will said the program is funded by a federal grant.

“Our job is to make sure that the kids who move around with their parents, instead of tassel corn or do the harvest, are not falling through the cracks of the education system,” said Will.

Will said in Indiana, many of the migrant workers are from Florida and Texas. This summer will be the first year for the improved six-week program. Will said the program will not cost the workers anything.

“It’s a federal grant, so everything from transportation, food, to services — everything is paid for,” said Will.

Class will be held at Sunnyside Intermediate School and begins on June 23. The program will be for kindergarten students through eighth grade. Classes will be Monday through Friday and students will work on their core curriculum in the morning. In the afternoon, students will do lighter activities like art and physical education.

“Anytime that we can utilize the school for the community, whether it’s 180 days for kids, fifth and sixth graders in Lafayette or a migrant program, I think it’s a win-win situation,” said Sunnyside Elementary School Principal Kevin Maxwell.

Will said the main goal is for the kids to stay with their parents while they travel for work and not fall behind in school. The credits will transfer when they return.

“We’re hoping that the kids have a good experience. That it’s fun for them, and that they learn something,” said Will.

Will said the Wabash Valley Education Center has hired many teachers around Greater Lafayette for the program.

The Migrant Education Program is statewide and there are a total of seven regional service centers.

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