USD 259 receives funds to help refugee students

Students in USD 259 classroom (File KSNW)

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – There are more than 230 refugee students that attend Wichita Public Schools.

Last week, officials with USD 259 have received nearly $687,000 to help support refugee students that were enrolling in our schools for this coming school year.

The students come from the Congo, Afghanistan, Burma, Ethiopia and other countries around the world, but many need extra assistance in the classroom socially and academically. To be able to assist them properly, USD 259 applied for money through the extraordinary needs fund.

Last school year, they received just over $366,000 to help the students, but the number of students coming into the system grew, as did the need for resources to help keep the students on track. This year, they asked for a continuation of those funds as well as an additional $319,000 for the 83 new students who enrolled since November 2015.

The extra funds go to instructional support (such as class within a class, small and individual groups and other methods to help students with academics), emotional support to help students learn social and classroom expectations, as well as offering trauma training with paraprofessionals and trained counselors. The money will also help add a specialized curriculum which will be used to develop a pilot math program for this coming school year as well as intensive language support.

While officials with the school district point out that refugee students make up only a small portion of the student population, because of the extra needs, the district wants to go above and beyond to ensure these students succeed and become contributing members of their new homes.

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