Paducah Sun, June 9, 2012
WKCTC hosts migrant student camp
by REBECCA FELDHAUS
Migrant students went to camp this week thanks to collaboration between a local college and the migrant education program.
Kevin O’Neill welcomed 60 students, kindergarten to 12th grader, to West Kentucky Community & Technical College on Monday. O’Neill, coordinator of continuing education and community services for Workforce Solutions, said he enjoyed the opportunity to offer migrant camps at WKCTC for the first time.
Additional summer education courses are required for migrant students, O’Neill said. The federal migrant education program provides funding for summer enrichment, but it’s up to local school district personnel to make it work.
“Children slide back over the summer, then there’s remediation they have to get,” O’Neill said Friday. “They use this as a means to try to keep (students) current as much as possible.”
Gaby Acree, a migrant advocate for Mayfield Independent Schools, said the connection with WKCTC has made her job much easier. Her students will complete 100 hours of enrichment this summer to keep them up to speed before school resumes in the fall.
Acree and her colleagues provide students books and educational materials throughout the summer. They visit homes to ensure the students are reading the books and understanding the lessons, Acree said. Migrant students take tests at the beginning and end of the summer to determine how their skills have changed.
Everything is documented by district personnel and reported to a federal liaison, Acree said.
Most of the migrant population in western Kentucky is Hispanic, Acree said, but the program covers anyone who has to migrate for work, generally in the agricultural field. The camp provides the opportunity for students to meet people, work on their English language skills and learn concepts they may have missed during the regular school year.
Vicki Bell taught the art camp for high school students. In addition to science lessons for kindergarten through second-graders and writing standards for third- through fifth-graders, the high school students completed learning objectives that fulfill curriculum requirements.
Many of Bell’s students didn’t know the basic elements of art, including shapes, lines and colors.
She referenced artists of Mexico and the social issues they often depicted in artwork. Bell said students learned life lessons as well.
“I think this is going to let them think about the propaganda behind advertising or any kind of media, and to be very reflective about it, to think about it and apply it to their lives every day,” Bell said.
O’Neill hopes to expand the migrant student program next year and invite non-migrant students to participate as well.