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Special and Diverse Population: Migrant Students
Felicia A. Torres
Special and Diverse Population: Migrant Students 2
“We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for
our community…Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs
of others, for their sakes and for our own.” (Chavez)
Cesar Chavez led the movement of National Farm Workers Association that eventually led
to identifying and recognizing the identification and needs of education among migrant
students. They are at children at risk of dropping out of school due to high mobility and
have a higher probability of failing academically.
According to the article Migrant Students Who Leave School Early, The Migrant Attrition
Project conducted a study for the U.S. Department of Education that showed a 45 percent
national dropout rate. (Migrant Attrition Project, 1987)(Salerno, 1991) The nations current
drop out rates range between forty-five and sixty-five percent currently according to
author Lundy Ponce. (NCES, 2001) (Lundy-Ponce) With these alarming numbers it is cause
Particularly, migrant families seek work in the agricultural and or fishing industries
causing them to become extremely mobile. Due to their constant movement it can
interruptions in their education and possibly cause gaps, difficulties with the transfer of
school records, cultural and or language barriers. This impediments may inhibit them
reaching out to the communities they reside in. In seeking work parents too have
difficulties finding babysitters or resources to help them with their transition and often-
older siblings stay home to take care of the younger siblings until they are enrolled in
school. These are just some adversities migrant students and their families face on a day-
Special and Diverse Population: Migrant Students 3
Identification and Recruitment
Through more recent laws such as, No Child Left behind Act, NCLB students are entitled to
a free an appropriate education known as FAPE more emphasis has been placed on the
identification of students at risk according to documents provided in leading a diverse
population coursework. (Fasulo, 2015)takes a proactive approach in training migrant
recruiters to actively seek out eligible migrant families. They communicate with school
districts, qualifying businesses, and community services to aide in the identification of
migrant families; identification is done through an interview process. Children of parents
that have worked, currently work, or actively seeking migratory work could possibly
qualify for services. This is determined by an interview that has established precedence
and verification of qualifying work. The work may include work such as; farming, handling
livestock, planting, harvesting, packing or sorting of fruits or vegetables, dairy farming, or
fishing are considered qualifying work. They may qualify if they move from one qualifying
job to another across clear boundaries outlined by the state. Migrant families could
possibly receive services for up to thirty-six-months depending upon the certificate of
eligibility form, outlining the beginning qualification date. Students are identified and This
position is important so that migrant students are located and receiving support and
services to help keep them in school.
Therefore it becomes important to establish an infrastructure that helps provide as many
supports for migrant parents and migrant students as possible. Kansas Migrant Education
provides guidelines and programs that include parent involvement and program initiatives
to keep migrant students in school. Within the Kansas City Kansas public schools there are
Special and Diverse Population: Migrant Students 4
some local supports available. According to Alejandro Cabrera the migrant service
advocate, assistance is provided through the Kansas City Kansas public school system for
migrant students and families. At least forty-three migrant students are currently identified
in the school district. (Cabrera, 2014) Grant funding has allowed for the implementation of
programs that support migrant student and multiple programs.
One type of support includes migrant service advocates that help families communicate
and connect with community resources, establishing communication among schools, and
services social services available for eligible families. According to Lentz the author of
Transformational Leadership in Special Education, explains how there is a direct correlation
between how much parental involvement impacts student achievement. Lentz means to
illustrate that by having families involved with their child’s education it positively impacts
them. (Lentz, 2012) This infrastructure is an integral part in developing positive
relationships among families and schools and establishes open communication.
Another support in place is the Migrant Parent Advisory Council established to help
educate parents on how to advocate for their children too. Sessions on parenting
techniques, emphasizing academics, and social service needs are provided. This may
include building literacy education and parenting techniques too. In addition to the
preceding opportunities supplemental tutoring and summer school is available for
students to help achieve in making academic gains.
Plan of Action
Some challenges faced by district leaders is the need to continually educate all
stakeholders in providing professional development and the consistent support migrant
students need to be successful in achieving higher educational opportunities.
Special and Diverse Population: Migrant Students 5
Therefore some strategies for success that we can incorporate in the district are outlined
in, Migrant Students: What We Need to Know to Help Them Succeed, by Lundy Ponce
include: welcoming students and families, encourage academic success, increase
collaboration and professional development, and encourage future educational
participation. (Lundy-Ponce) Some professional development may include the use of
sheltered instructional observation protocol a research-based practice incorporated by
many districts where explicit instruction is needed.(Fasulo, 2015) Another practice that
students will benefit from is the incorporation of professional learning communities that
help target, monitor, and support the students at risk in achieving learning targets.
Through PLC’s staff are able to collaborate and adjust to the specific needs of the struggling
learners. These are some foundational steps that will help assure the long-term goal of
getting migrant students to graduate high school and hopefully move onto college.
Fundamentally as a future district leader it is important to be proactive and make sure
migrant students are advocated for. The structures and supports in place help close the
achievement gap. By providing every opportunity available students will achieving
academic success. The district must continually advocate, educate stakeholders, and
support the diverse situations of all learners.
Special and Diverse Population: Migrant Students 6
Cabrero, A. (Migrant Service Advocate) (2014, January 1). Migrant Education. District
Professional Development. Lecture conducted from Student Services Department
Kansas City Kansas Public Schools, Kansas City.
Cesar Chavez quotes. (n.d.). Retrieved April 9, 2015, from
Fasulo, Ed.D., L. B. (Ed.D) (2015, January 1). Leading Special and Diverse Populations. DED
9002 . Lecture conducted from Lanie Bertels Fasulo, Ed.D., Overland Park, KS.
Kansas Migrant Education Program. (n.d.). Retrieved April 7, 2015, from
Lentz, K. (2012). Transformational leadership in special education: Leading the IEP team.
Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Education.
Lundy-Ponce, G. (n.d.). Migrant Students: What We Need to Know to Help Them Succeed.
Retrieved April 7, 2015, from http://www.adlit.org/article/36286/#about
Pankake, A. (2012). The administration & supervision of special programs in education (3rd
ed.). Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Pub.