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Summer school offered for migrant children

 

By Kristi Shields

Staff writer

6-18-2020

 

The South and North Sanpete School Districts are offering a one-month summer school program for migrant children, whose parents work in agriculture.

Aaron Peterson, director of special education and migrant education, said the South Sanpete School District (SSSD) is working with 35-45 students this summer. They are divided into two groups: one for students in Gunnison Valley area and one for students in Sterling, Manti and Ephraim areas. Students from Sterling, Manti and Ephraim are meeting at Ephraim Middle School three to four days per week, three hours per day.

This program is open to elementary level children as well as secondary.

“The impact [this program] has is it provides extra opportunity and support” for these children,” Peterson said.

SSSD officials said the summer school program would get more participation if they delivered it through the Zoom program.

“We’re trying to keep the [English] language development going” through the Zoom program, Peterson said.

The South Sanpete District receives roughly $60,000 per year from the U.S. Department of Education under the Education of Migratory Children program. The program costs $70,000 to $80,000 to run, so they subsidized $10,000 – $20,000 from its general fund.

Peterson also said over the past couple of years, Pitman Farms has recruited workers from Samoa to work in its turkey plant.

In the North Sanpete School Board meeting May 19, Nan Ault, incoming superintendent, said before summer started, there was discussion as to whether the district still needed a migrant program or not.

Ault said people who worked in the program in the past years were persistent about keeping it.

“You’re still going to have the same number of kids; kids are going to come,” they said. “Those families depend on the kids coming [for the migrant program].”

Chalyece Shelley, director of special education at NSSD, said the program is open to preschoolers through sixth graders. The program will run out of Moroni Elementary; it will be held from July 27-Aug. 12, for four days per week, spending two hours per day on reading and one hour on math.

Ault said the 75 students enrolled will be split between four classrooms to ensure their safety and meet the health guidelines set by the health department.

The district used to run two sessions per day, but since the state went to the yellow risk level, all the students are put in the morning session from 8 a.m.-11:45 a.m., Shelley said.

“We’re going to have kids spaced out,” Ault said. “Even on the bus, we’re going to make sure students have assigned seats and seats are sanitized after they leave.”

Shelley also specified that students cannot mix with other classes, and cannot play on the playground. In the past, students have gone on field trips during the summer; however, they can’t do that this year, but she said she’s sure teachers will have class parties to wrap up the summer.

“We’re calling this year our COVID response year, seeking to help the kids gain anything they may have lost while we were trying to teach them at home,” Shelley said.