Closing reading gaps for migrant students is a particular concern for districts where hispanic workers toil at agricultural jobs, moving with the seasons following the work.
Jose and Maria Garcia knew that their daughter faced a challenge when she enrolled in kindergarten. They did not speak a word of English, and neither did she.
They had come to Holland, Michigan, from Mexico, and were determined that she would get the best education possible so that her life would be better than theirs. At the beginning, they had no idea which school their daughter, Yessica, would attend. Luckily for them Lakeshore Elementary, a school with a record of helping children overcome barriers of language and poverty.
Yessica graduated 13 years later from West Ottawa High School near the top of her class. She has recently completed her first year at Western Michigan University and has a scholarship to cover her tuition.
“I never had a bad teacher,” Yessica said of her education. “Nobody ever told me I couldn’t do it. They challenged us. They would push us to the next level. They would say, ‘If you can read this, then now you can read a chapter book.’”