August 1, 2013

Migrant Summer School Brings in Mexican Teachers for Culture Lessons


Hillsboro Migrant Summer School brings in Mexican teachers for culture lessons
by Andrea Castillo
July 23, 2013

The moment elementary teacher Irene Osorio Pacheco played a slideshow of her home state of Morelos, Mexico for her class of kindergartners, their perceptions of the country instantly changed.

"Wow, that's Mexico?" she recalled them saying in reaction to the photos.

Osorio Pacheco was one of three elementary teachers from Mexico brought to the Hillsboro School District in June under a federal migrant education program. The teachers integrated lessons of culture into the Migrant Summer School's regular curriculum focus of reading, writing and math.

The Bi-national Migrant Education Teacher Exchange Program is part of an initiative that started in 1976 to help migrant students in California. The departments of education in Mexico and the United States have since partnered to improve schooling for children who travel frequently between the two countries.

The program works like this: Migrant-heavy school districts are given federal funding each year to improve education for those students. School districts can use part of that money to request Mexican teachers for a limited time to help meet specific needs. For example, a teacher who speaks Mixtec — an indigenous language spoken in the state of Oaxaca — could provide support for students who arrive in the United States knowing little Spanish or English.

Expenses to prepare exchange teachers are covered by the Mexican government, including the selection process, orientation in Mexico and round-trip airfare.

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