Support for Students in Immigrant Families

Carolyn Sattin-Bajaj | University of California-Santa Barbara
Adam Strom | Re-Imagining Migration
Veronica Boix Mansilla | Harvard University

Breaking Down the Issue

  • Immigrant-origin children are the fastest growing segment of the school-age population in the U.S.
  • Immigrant communities have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 in terms of loss of employment, representation among frontline and essential workers, and rates of illness.
  • Immigrant-origin students tend to have lower access to at-home resources that might support their learning during the pandemic.

Strategies to Consider

  • Culturally-relevant communications with students and families in multiple languages and formats may increase family and caregiver involvement, improve home-school connections, and improve student engagement.
  • Immigrant-origin students who receive extracurricular programmatic supports to complete at-home learning activities and assignments show greater academic progress.
  • Schools that provide information and guidance about immigrants’ legal and educational rights and available services can be instrumental in supporting immigrant students’ school engagement and success.
  • Schools that embrace and incorporate the diversity of languages, identities, cultures, and family practices represented in their communities benefit from increased engagement and cross-cultural learning.
  • For immigrant-origin students to thrive, districts must know about and take seriously anti immigrant hate and address student trauma.

Strategies to Avoid

  • New modes of schooling create new concerns and exacerbate existing challenges around privacy and immigration status.
  • Failure to acknowledge and attend to the basic and socioemotional needs of children in immigrant families who may be experiencing additional stressors related to immigration experiences or undocumented status misses a critical aspect of ensuring students’ wellbeing and readiness to learn.