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NEBO DISTRICT PROGRAM HELPS IMPROVE THE ODDS FOR CHILDREN OF MIGRANTS

SHARE NEBO DISTRICT PROGRAM HELPS IMPROVE THE ODDS FOR CHILDREN OF MIGRANTS

Many children of migrant workers either do poorly in school or drop out altogether. A long-running program in the Nebo School District helps turn the odds in the children's favor.

The migrant education program began 28 years ago for elementary school children, then expanded to junior high and high school in 1969, said Lynn Jones, who oversees the latter part of the program.The program runs for 30 days, starting in June and going into July, said Dean Rowley, district director for the migrant program. The program covers preschoolers through 12th graders.

The guidelines are fairly simple. Students' parents must be employed in some facet of agriculture, said Dave Larsen, building coordinator for the junior high program. Also, after five years in the district, students are no longer eligible for the migrant program.

The main focus of the program is to help students with work they missed during the school year or to help them make up delinquent credit. Some students miss a month or so of school to follow the crops and work, Rowley said. Others just need a little extra help to get up to speed.

All teachers in the program speak English and Spanish, because most of the students come from Mexico. While in the course, students can hone their skills in sewing, cooking, English, computers and even driving, Rowley said.

Teachers assess the students' work at the end of the 30 days and send their transcripts to the schools where the children normally attend. If the school is unknown, the records are sent to a large record-keeping center in the East, Rowley said.

Larsen said the program is successful because children who would otherwise give up on education stay in the system.

Jeff and Danny Munoz, both teenagers, agreed.

"I've learned how to work with other people," Jeff Munoz said.

Danny said his biggest lesson from the program is learning responsibility. Getting up each morning and going to class is new for him and has taught him responsibility in other areas, he said.

There is also a night class once a week for anyone up to the age of 22, Jones said, but he admitted, "I've never turned anyone away who wanted to come and learn."

Forty students are enrolled in the high school course and about 55 are in the elementary one, Larsen said.