Hurricane Katrina resulted in the displacement of approximately 372,000 students. Many schools and districts across the country are opening their doors to these students and helping restore a sense of normalcy in their lives. To assist families and schools in this time of need, the Department of Education is proposing up to $2.6 billion in funding for elementary, secondary and post secondary relief. Today’s Extra Credit is part of a series highlighting some of the schools that are welcoming displaced students with open arms.
"Seven-year-old Kelly Bush got cheers from her classmates as she entered her new third-grade class at McEver Elementary School Wednesday. One student at the West Hall school had made her a card with a heart on it and the message, ‘Welcome, Kelly.’ ‘It felt nice and good,’ she said of the reception.
"Bush and her two sisters, 16-year-old Brinique and 12-year-old Brionne, have begun their journey back to normalcy, after two weeks of their family scrambling away from Hurricane Katrina and trying to find a place to call home. ‘It's been tough just waiting for things to kind of slow down,’ said the children's father, Kenneth. - Gainesville Times (GA) (9-16-05)
"More than 30 students, all Hurricane Katrina evacuees, sat picnic-style on the floor of Rouse Elementary's media room eating pizza, meeting new friends and thinking about what brought them together. ‘My house is full of water,’ 8-year-old Hailey Bethancourt said earlier this week about her home in Slidell, La. ‘But I'm ready to go back home.’
"The small room was buzzing with chatter as the children, in kindergarten through second grade, shared evacuation stories. … Schools throughout the Rankin County district officially opened their doors to evacuated students Monday, although some attended classes late last week. On Tuesday, the district reported 396 evacuees enrolled. More were expected to enroll throughout the week, spokeswoman Marisa Oliveri said."
"The Pearl school district had 81 evacuee students Monday, Superintendent Stanley Miller said. Students began attending Pearl schools Friday. Pearl Junior High counselor Tammy Files said Monday that 20 displaced students were attending the school. She said the school district will help provide supplies, and students are being signed up to receive free lunches." - The Clarion-Ledger (MS) (9-17-05)
"Eight days ago, a rescue helicopter plucked 6-year-old Shavante McKenndall from the roof of a New Orleans' Days Inn where she survived the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, holed up in a room for days with her mother and grandparents. Her grandfather had ripped and tied bedsheets together to lower a small trash can from the motel window to the rising floodwaters, just so the family would have water to flush the toilet.
"She has lost nearly every material possession: her clothes, her toys, her home. But Thursday, a familiar greeting from a stranger brought a smile to her face and restored a sense of belonging she hadn't felt since she left Louisiana.
"‘Parlez-vous Francais?’ teacher Elena Flores asked as Shavante peeked into her new classroom at Hull Elementary School. Shavante's grandfather, Don Sykes Sr., nearly cackled with delight at hearing the expression. Speaking in French, he urged his granddaughter to respond that she spoke a little bit of the language.
"Shavante toured the school with dozens of other hurricane evacuees and their families. The Northside School District campus is expecting at least 66 new students currently staying at shelters at the old Levi Strauss facility and Lackland Baptist Church to begin school this morning." - San Antonio Express-News(9-9-05)
For more information about the Department of Education’s funding proposal for assisting families and schools affected by the hurricane and for information on how you can help schools in need, please visit: http://hurricanehelpforschools.gov/index.html.
About Extra Credit
NCLB Extra Credit is a regular look at the No Child Left Behind Act, President Bush's landmark education reform initiative passed with bipartisan support in Congress.
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