Massachusetts Schools Enroll 2,000 Migrant Children as Peabody Adds 40 Students

Massachusetts public schools enroll approximately 2,000 migrant children, prompting communities to establish emergency shelters and provide comprehensive support. Peabody's school system adds 40 new students, hiring additional staff and partnering with local organizations to provide holistic support.

author-image
Bijay Laxmi
New Update
Massachusetts Schools Enroll 2,000 Migrant Children as Peabody Adds 40 Students

Massachusetts Schools Enroll 2,000 Migrant Children as Peabody Adds 40 Students

Massachusetts public schools are grappling with a surge of approximately 2,000 migrant children enrolling across the state, as communities establish emergency shelters to house migrant families. Peabody, one of 74 Massachusetts cities and towns with new migrant shelters, has seen a particularly significant impact, adding 40 new students to its school system.

Why this matters: The influx of migrant children into Massachusetts schools highlights the need for communities to come together to provide comprehensive support, including education, social services, and housing, to ensure these children receive the resources they need to thrive. As the state continues to face a crisis in housing homeless and migrant families, the success of initiatives like Peabody's will have a significant impact on the lives of these children and the broadercommunity.

Peabody Superintendent Josh Vadala described the situation as a major challenge, stating, "It's been a challenge. I would definitely say it's been a challenge." The influx began in September with 20 new students and grew to 40 by January, prompting the school system to add an extra kindergarten class mid-year and hire additional staff, including teachers, paraprofessionals, and counselors.

However, Vadala emphasized that supporting these students extends beyond the classroom. "The reason it's been successful is because how the whole city came together," he explained. "This is not just a school problem, this is not just a community problem or government problem, this is where everyone needs to come together and support one another."

Peabody schools have partnered with local organizations to provide comprehensive support, including before and after school programs, tutoring, and cultural field trips. They also hired a multilingual liaison who was previously a professor in his home country and is staying at one of the shelters. Vadala stressed the importance of a holistic approach, saying, "It can't be just focused on the school and the academics. It's got to be focused on the family, focused on the out of school time."

The superintendent acknowledged that the schools have a responsibility to educate all students, regardless of their background or how they arrived in the community. "We didn't decide who comes to our schools and who lives in our community, but they're here and we have a responsibility to make a response," Vadala stated. He also emphasized that supporting migrant students should not come at the expense of existing students, adding, "The goal is that everyone gets more."

As Massachusetts continues to face a crisis in housing homeless and migrant families, with the state government designating additional temporary shelters, Peabody's approach serves as a model for how schools and communities can come together to support migrant children and families. With 2,000 migrant students now enrolled in Massachusetts schools, the collaborative efforts of educators, local organizations, and government agencies will be crucial in ensuring these children receive the support and resources they need to thrive.

Key Takeaways

  • Massachusetts schools see 2,000 migrant children enroll, with Peabody adding 40 new students.
  • Peabody schools add extra kindergarten class, hire staff, and partner with local organizations for support.
  • Superintendent emphasizes need for holistic approach, including before/after school programs and cultural field trips.
  • Schools have a responsibility to educate all students, regardless of background, and support should not come at expense of existing students.
  • Peabody's approach serves as a model for supporting migrant children and families in Massachusetts.