August 29, 2016 – Bakersfield City School District migrant students spent most of their summer expanding their learning horizons through the many programs offered by BCSD’s Migrant Education Program, Region 21. For several weeks, students participated in the 21st Century Summer Academy where they spent the summer exploring the state of California through Science Technology Engineering Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) curriculum. Each grade had a part of California that they were learning about, such as Native Americans of the state, the California Gold Rush, the Mission system, and important events in the history of the state.
“This is my second year and I like the Migrant Program because we get to do a lot of fun stuff and learn at the same time,” said Daniel Cruz, Migrant Student. “This summer, I learned all about how and why volcanoes erupt.”
The summer learning incorporated things such as Robotics, computer programming and coding, reading projects, and visual and performing arts. The classes were delivered in partnership with the Binational Teachers Program, where three teachers from regions of Mexico traveled to Bakersfield to participate in the Migrant Summer Academy.
“Something that motivates me to be a binational teacher is to know the reality of migrant families in the United States and how students are interested in the educational system in this country,” said Susana Chavez Sosa, Binational Teacher.
The classes didn’t just focus on what students need to know now, but what they should be thinking about for their future, such as attending college. To expose the students to the experience, the Migrant Program partnered with California State University, Bakersfield to provide an on-campus orientation of what it would be like to attend a university. Aside from campus tours, and meet and greets with university personnel, students participated in physical activity classes in the CSUB Student Recreation Center.
“I am having a great experience. I am learning about the relationship between sports and education, nutrition and the importance of exercise, because is good for your body,” said Juan Nuñez, Migrant Student. “With exercise, we perform better at school and we learn more.”
The Migrant Program’s education doesn’t just focus on the students, but on the parents as well. The program offers topics that the students and parents should learn as a family. One of those topics was swimming and water safety, in which the Migrant Program partnered with Bakersfield College.
“The program has helped our family a lot,” said Janeth Lopez, mother of Migrant Student. “They not only offer classes for our kids, but also for us parents, on things that you wouldn’t expect that we would have the chance to learn about like water safety. We are very grateful for the Migrant Program.”
The Migrant Program’s Summer Learning Academy culminated with a resource fair, where projects were on display for families to see what the students had learned. There was also a special presentation with singing and dancing. Parents also attended the 13th Annual Regional Conference, which featured various keynote speakers, plays, presentations, and a farewell to the Binational Teachers.
“The conference offered workshops for parents to help them learn new skills to support their child’s educational needs,” said Janie Flores, BCSD Migrant Program Director. “Migrant Education is always about the child and their family.”
The Migrant Program just celebrated its 50th year of providing support to migrant families to avoid interruption in the education of students due to work relocation.