Migrant Education Program
Preliminary Guidance for Title I, Part C
Public Law 103-382

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A Focus on Teaching and Learning

Migrant educators have been pioneers in a broad range of innovative programming, particularly in developing strong advocacy and outreach programs to meet the special needs of migrant children. They, like others in the education community, have nearly eli minated remedial "pull- out" programs, choosing instead to serve migrant students through enriched, extended-time activities that offer opportunities for migrant students to be actively engaged in challenging learning experiences. Migrant educators are continuing to explore add itional opportunities for innovation provided under the ESEA, such as schoolwide programs.

Moreover, migrant educators have long recognized that attention to academics alone cannot ensure that children will achieve to high standards, especially when the health and other needs of children that affect learning remain unmet. The reauthorized ESEA reinforces the important work of many in the migrant education community by suggesting that all resources be leveraged to support effective teaching and learning and help all students achi eve to high standards. Teaching and learning is promoted for migrant students through continuing to coordinate services to better meet their health and social needs so that they may participate effectively in school.

Services Needed to Help Migrant Children Achieve to High Standards

Local education agencies receiving subgrants have considerable flexibility in determining how best to use funds to help migrant children succeed in school. MEP funds are generally used for: educational services--activities for preschool-age chil dren and instruction in elementary and secondary schools, especially tutoring and before- and after-school programs; professional development--training programs for school personnel to enhance their ability to understand and appropriately respond to the needs of migrant children; and comprehensive services--advocacy, outreach, and coordination among migrant educators, parents, regular educators, other schools, and health and social service providers.

The educational disruption experienced by migrant children who move between and within states should be taken into account in designing programs for migrant students. As migrant educators in Oregon point out in a position paper entitled Education Ref orm and Its Effect on Migrant Education, "[m]igrant students pass through many school systems, which often have disparate requirements and graduation standards. Districts need to be aware of what migrant students have already accomplished, to spare them needless repetition, and ensure that despite moves and changes, their cumulative educational experiences lead toward successful outcomes." Providing migrant students with coherent educational experiences in an era of s tandards-based educational reform linked to state-defined needs and contexts will require considerable coordination, planning, and innovation on the part of migrant educators.

In implementing their programs, LEAs that operate MEP projects:

  • Provide services to each migrant student that are comparable to services offered to other students in the district and that are needed to help migrant students achieve to high academic standards (Sections 1114, 1115, and 1120(A), which apply by reference (see Section 1304(c)(2)); and

  • Adopt policies and practices to ensure that migrant children and youth are involved in the regular school program (Section 1120A(b) and (c), which applies by reference (see Section 1304(c)(2))).

In addition, under the reauthorized ESEA (Section 1304(c)(6)), states must provide assurances that, to the extent feasible, migrant education programs and projects will provide for:

  • Advocacy and outreach activities for migrant children and families to help them gain access to other education, health, nutrition, and social services;

  • Professional development programs, including mentoring, for teachers and other program personnel;

  • Family literacy programs, including those developed under Even Start;

  • The integration of information technology into educational and related programs; and

  • Programs to facilitate the transition of secondary school students to postsecondary education or employment.

Serving LEP Students in MEP and Title I, Part A Programs

Title I, Part A and Part C (the MEP) provide that LEP students are eligible for Title I and MEP services on the same basis as other children selected to receive services, whether or not such LEP children already receive bilingual or ESL services through f ederally funded, state funded, or locally funded bilingual or ESL programs. In schools operating schoolwide programs (see following section), where the goal is to upgrade the instructional program in the entire school, all children, including LEP students, are intended to benefit from the program and the needs of all students are to be taken into account in the program design. In Title I targeted assistance schools and schools or LEAs operating a migrant education project, LEP students are to be selected for services on the same basis as other children--on the basis of multiple, education- related, objective criteria for determining which children are failing or most at risk of failing to meet the state's student performance standards. No longer must a local education agency demonstrate that the needs of LEP students stem from educational deprivati on and not solely from their limited English proficiency.

Title I and MEP funds may not be used to provide services that are required to be made available to LEP students by other laws (e.g., through interpretations of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, the Equal Educational Opportunities Act, and state bilingual education laws). However, Title I and MEP funds may be used to coordinate and supplement those services, as well as provide other direct services to LEP students. Title I and MEP funds may be used to pay the salaries of instructional staff to work with students having academic difficulti es, including LEP students. These staff would work closely with the ESL/bilingual teachers and regular classroom teachers.

Examples of Innovative Strategies for Providing Services

  • Grafton Public Schools' Migrant Program includes a summer program for migratory students that uses students' first language to improve learning and achievement. Teachers and parents meet frequently as part of the program, with parents providing Spani sh instruction to the teachers. As teachers have become more fluent in Spanish, student achievement has improved, and all participants have expressed satisfaction with the program. Contact: Dean Ralfton, Director; Migrant Education; Grafton Public Schools; 725 Griggs Avenue; Grafton, North Dakota 58237; (701) 352-1930.

  • "Whole Language for Whole Families," a program being piloted by Idaho's New Plymouth Migrant Education Program, offers ESL instruction to migrant parents and students and provides migrant parents with strategies for assisting their children in reading and other school assignments. The adults receive instruction in large groups, small instructional groups and individually as needed. They also participate in a cooperative learning program with 8-9 year old students to learn how to tutor their children in a risk-free environment. Other related programs have been developed as a result of the success of this program. Contact: Linda Hall; Local Project Director OR Viola White, Home-School Coordinator; P.O. Box 50; Plymouth, Idaho 8365 5; (208) 278-5035.

  • California's Mini-Corps Program provides a corps of student teachers from rural/migrant backgrounds to work directly with migrant students in classrooms, and to serve as a links between the migrant community and the school. The migrant students ben efit from the tutorial services and from having migrant student teachers as role models in their classrooms. Another result of the program is that over 5,000 bilingual teachers, most of whom are former migrants and sensitive to the needs of migrant st udents, have been trained and placed in the California school system. Contact: Maria Avila; California Mini-Corps; 510 Bercut Drive; Suite Q; Sacramento, California 95814; (916) 446-4603.

  • Florida's Summer Institutes, which are sponsored jointly by the Migrant Education Program and the JTPA Section 402 Program, meet a wide range of needs among the secondary migrant student population. The six-week residential program is housed on colle ge campuses throughout the State. The program has five strands: 1) Middle School; 2) Upgrade; 3) High School; 4) Leadership; and 5) Dropout Retrieval. The middle school strand offers junior high students who are two or more years behind grade level, the opportunity to advance one grade level. High school students earn credits and make up clock hours toward graduation. Contact: Louis T. Marsh, State Director, Florida Department of Education; 652 Florida Education Cente r; Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0400; (904) 487-3520.

  • The Colorado MEP and Young Audiences, Inc. have adapted aspects of the Artists-in-Residence program to create a unique "Migrant Rural Arts Initiative." Four bilingual artists--a visual artist, a theater artist, a musician, and a choreographer--work w ith sixteen teachers and their migrant students throughout the summer migrant program in Colorado's San Luis Valley. The artists hold an initial institute for teachers, meet with teachers individually, and work in classrooms alongside teachers to help th em integrate the arts into instruction. The artists also spend time working on their own creative endeavors while children watch and ask questions about the artistic process, an experience that reinforces the value of students' cultural and ethnic identities. Contact: Patty Ortiz, Young Artists, Inc.; 1 415 Larimer Street, #304; Denver, Colorado 80202; (303) 825-3465.


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Last Modified: 05/15/2009