Dalton Public Schools Prepare For New School Year With Unaccompanied Minors

DALTON, GA,(WDEF)-Buses of children and protests across the nation as more and more unaccompanied minors come to the US.
     While Dalton has not seen one single surge in enrollment, the new school year will see 37 students taking part in a Newcomer Academy.

Caroline Woodason,Content and Engagement, Dalton Public Schools,"They cross the border they go to the detention centers, they get all their immunizations, their paperwork, then they find a family member in the states most of ours have family members or guardians that are here in Dalton that have said, they will take care of these children"

But the academy faces some very unique challenges.

Caroline Woodason, Content and Engagement at Dalton Public Schools,"Often don’t speak Spanish as a first language, it’s a Mayan dialect either mam or Q’anjobal and so the typical we have a lot of staff members who speak Spanish but it doesn’t always help"

The Newcomer Academy will have to address teaching children and young adults who may have never been in a classroom before and struggle with shapes, colors and numbers.

Teachers  at Dalton Public Schools say they are ready for the challenge of teaching unaccompanied minors and say its something they have been planning for, for more than two decades.

Ric Murray, Teacher at Newcomer Academy,"Over the last 19 years we have flags flying in our building, the flags don’t just represent countries of the world, its where our kids in Dalton were born, we had over 100 flags"

Murray has taught in the developing world and says when children are parachuted into an alien culture they are often scared and alone and homework and test scores are not a major priority.

"The children have come in unaccompanied the problems that that presents we think are going to be things like how quickly will it take them to trust us, that we are going to be the good guys"

The course will focus on reading, writing, math, science and the subject of American Experience.

Dalton Public Schools say that one their biggest difficulties will be testing at state and federal levels as not all children especially those with no prior formal education  will be ready to graduate after 4 years.

Categories: Local News

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