I recently visited with my friends in the Migrant Department at the Northwest Educational Service District 189 (NWESD) who are often on the road visiting schools, and closely rival my miles traveled throughout the region. The NWESD hosts the regional Migrant Education office for all of Western Washington. I had a chance to sit down with them over coffee and pan dulce. We continued to explore the nationally recognized Seven Areas of Concern and paid particular attention to efforts that focus on addressing the non-academic needs of Migrant children, youth and families. Below are a few highlights of our conversation.
- The latest non-academic initiative launched by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) in 2017 identified two areas of priority: Re-engaging Migrant Out-of-School Youth; youth between the ages of 16-21 who are no longer attending a K-12 Program or are not enrolled in school because they are “here to work.” And bridging access to health services for Migrant children, youth and families.
- Backpack and Hygiene Kit Program: Through home visits to Migrant Out-of-School Youth (OSY), dozens of backpacks and hygiene kits (provided by NWESD Red Nose Day 2018) have been delivered to Migrant youth who are in the process of re-engaging in school. Every time the NWESD delivers these services, there is a personal connection with a member of the Migrant Staff who additionally assesses the student’s goals and follows up with resources and information. The NWESD staff have personally delivered 41 hygiene kits and at least 39 backpacks during this on-the-ground outreach. The hygiene kits and backpacks are an excellent way to break the ice and deliver a meaningful service while opening the conversation to the idea of re-engagement.
- MP3 Player Pilot Project: This project was led by OSPI and the Migrant Student Data Recruitment Services office (MSDRS) during the summer of 2018 in an effort to provide a service to the increasing number of Migrant Out-of-School Youth who are “Here to Work.” Many times these Migrant Youth have the desire to enroll in English classes or a GED Program but due to structural barriers, they are unable to access these resources outside of their extensive work schedule. NWESD engaged in widespread on-the-ground outreach to these young people and provided MP3 players with Level 1 audio lessons as well as two workbooks aimed at guiding OSY in their learning. (Workbook #1- English Lesson/Guia Bilingue Ingles-Espanol & Workbook #2- Health Information/Guia de Salud- Espanol ). Throughout the summer and fall of 2018, NWESD staff have personally delivered an MP3 player to 32 Migrant Out-of-School Youth in Western Washington!
- Mexico and Guatemala Bi-National Health Fairs 2018: The governments of Mexico and Guatemala have regional offices located in Seattle, Washington. Both governments offer important services to nationals who wish to process official paperwork abroad. Among the services offered are opportunities to obtain certified birth certificates, passports, identification cards and other types of legal support. These services are important as some of the Migrant Out-of-School Youth seek to engage in other procedures such by enrolling in school, obtaining a driver’s license or enrolling in a post-secondary program. NWESD did on the ground outreach at two Bi-National Health Fairs sponsored by these two governments in Seattle during the month of October 2018.
- Summer School Dental Screening Pilot Project: The Migrant Education Program has identified bridging access to oral health services and education as a priority for Migrant youth in Western Washington based in part by research released by the National Center for Farmworker Health; citing that 29% of Mexican American children aged 2-5 had untreated dental cavities, compared to 14% of non-Hispanic White children. A local Washington State Organization, The Community Health Worker Coalition for Migrants and Refugees, recently shared their findings in a “New Study: Oral Health is One of Mobile Workers’ Greatest Unmet Needs”, reaffirming this information in the area of oral health education. When children move with their parents during the summer following the harvest seasons, this may cause an interruption in their dental health care. This is why the NWESD piloted a project in coordination with the 2018 Migrant Summer School Staff and local Community Health Care Providers. After four outreach events in the Bellingham, Burlington-Edison, Sedro-Woolley and Mount Vernon School Districts, 116 Migrant Students received a dental screening, including personalized dental hygiene instruction and a dental hygiene kit.
- Sea Mar CHC Health Fairs: The Sea Mar Migrant Promotores Program conducts extensive outreach to farmworkers in the camps throughout the entire year. During the summer of 2018, NWESD was able to collaborate with Sea Mar in outreach to the Sunrise Camp in Ferndale School District, Curt’s Camp in Lynden School District and Hayton Farms in the Mount Vernon School District. NWESD delivered information regarding the Migrant Education Health Program to farmworkers, many of whom were here from California, Texas and Eastern Washington. NWESD also collaborated up with SeaMar Community Health Center during National Health Center Week 2018 with on-site outreach at the Monroe SeaMar Clinic and Everett SeaMar Clinic.
- Streamlining SeaMar & Migrant Education Collaboration SeaMar Community Health Centers, Northwest Pediatrics and Unity Care Northwest contract with the Migrant Program in Western Washington. In the fall of 2018, Regional Clinic Managers were invited to meet with Migrant Program staff face-to-face for the first time. The purpose of this regional convening was to build relationships and strengthens the partnership between Migrant staff and community groups. Among the topics discussed was a plan for future on-site Migrant health physicals. NWESD plans to invite dental supervisors to the spring 2019 Regional Convening in an effort to increase access to dental screenings during the 2019 Migrant Summer School Programming.