As I read the article, I realized that we are doing a very good job with our immigrant students. Much better than Gwinnett or any other school system. We have an International Student Center devoted to bringing new refugees up to speed in their studies, even when those students arrive having very little previous schooling.
A growing number of refugees have come to Georgia in recent years, with most settling in and around DeKalb County. By law, they deserve an education.
Their relative numbers are small: about 3 percent of the DeKalb County School System’s student body, according to school and state records. But the growth in percentage terms is not: DeKalb counted 2,627 refugee students in June, an increase of about 150 percent from the 2006-07 school year.
The students, many reared in camps, often come with little or no schooling. Many speak no English.
. . .
DeKalb teaches English to the refugees — who count more than 70 native tongues, from Amharic to Uzbek — and offers them tutoring. The hardest cases — those 13 and older with six or fewer years of schooling — typically spend two years at the International Student Center’s isolated campus on North Druid Hills Road before moving into neighborhood schools. There were 250 such students this year.
Other school systems, such as those in Fulton and Gwinnett counties, also have refugees. They don’t count them like DeKalb, but federal data give a rough head count: from June 2010 through May, DeKalb got 465 refugees ages 5 to 18, said Michael Singleton, the state refugee coordinator for the Georgia Department of Human Services. Fulton got 182, compared with four in Gwinnett and none in Cobb.
Kudos to Sandra Nunes and the leaders of our school system working so hard to assimilate our refugee students. I hope that you will add one more item to your "To-Do" list -- aid and support the International Community Charter School. Give them a home and some help. We're all in this together and it just seems symbiotic to work on this issue as a team. Some very delicate lives hang in the balance.