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English Learner Education

Resources for Supporting Immigrant and Refugee Students

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1 This list of resources was compiled by DESE for information and convenience of districts and does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by DESE of any specific organization. DESE is not responsible for and does not guarantee the accuracy of information on other sites accessible through links herein.

Resources for Welcoming and Supporting Refugees1:

  1. MA State Family Engagement Center (MASFEC): Welcoming Your Afghan Students: MASFEC's list of resources for educators with newcomers from Afghanistan joining their schools and classes.
  2. The Invasion of Ukraine: Resources for Educators and Families: from Colorín Colorado.
  3. Preparing to welcome Ukrainian refugees in the commonwealth: Listen to the March 9, 2022 WBUR interview with Elizabeth Sweet, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA), and Marwa Alnaal Director of Government Affairs at the Ascentria Care Alliance.
  4. Help Welcome Ukrainians, Ascentria Care Alliance
  5. Keeping the Promise Website
  6. BRYCS (Bridging Refugee Youth and Children's Services), a long-time federal partner, has a variety of resources, including those specifically designed for schools.
  7. Immigrant Connections offers this comprehensive list of Resources to Orient Afghans to K-12 Education in the U.S. including resources in Dari and Pashto.
  8. The International Institute of New England (IINE) and Dr. Rachel Lehr present: IINE Afghan Cultural Orientation Webinar -- November 2021. This 2-hour training, held on Zoom, explores the geography, languages, and culture of Afghanistan.
  9. The U.S. Department of Education has curated a collection of educational, student and family engagement, and general cultural and linguistic documents to help school districts and other organizations support Afghan refugees.
  10. Colorín Colorado has articles and links to many resources at: How Schools Can Partner with Afghan Refugee Families
  11. Ascentria Care Alliance has a Cultural Mentorship program page with resources under Afghan Cultural Training
  12. Family Engagement Resources from WIDA, now translated in Dari and Pashto — two common languages spoken in Afghanistan. The newly translated print resources, which are housed on the WIDA Family Engagement webpage under Explain ELL Status and Language Testing and Promote and Support Family Engagement, help explain topics like: determining EL status and language testing and providing families with strategies to support children's language development. These tools are available in a variety of other languages as well.

General Resources for Supporting Immigrant and Refugee Students:

  1. Protecting the Futures of Refugee Children: Sarah Dryden-Peterson on how governments and education systems around the world can create safe, welcoming spaces for displaced students
  2. Belonging, by Jessica Lander: When it comes to educating refugee students, it's not enough to just teach them. Schools also need to help them feel welcome — and supported.
  3. Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants (ORI)
  4. Educational Services for Immigrant Children and Those Recently Arrived to the United States (USDOE resources for unaccompanied children)
  5. Educational Resources for Immigrants, Refugees, Asylees and other New Americans
  6. Office of Refugee Resettlement (An Office of the Administration for Children & Families)
  7. US Department of Education Newcomer Toolkit (Office of English Language Acquisition)
  8. Starting School in the United States: A Guide for Newcomer Students' Families (REL Northwest, July 2020 — available in four languages)
  9. Welcoming, Registering, and Supporting Newcomer Students: A Toolkit for Educators of Immigrant and Refugee Students in Secondary Schools (REL Northwest, February 2021)
  10. Confronting Discrimination Based on National and Immigration Status
  11. Executive Order On Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government
  12. Information on the Rights of All Children to Enroll in School: Questions and Answers for States, School Districts and Parents

Other Resources:

Project Bread's FoodSource Hotline is a statewide (toll-free) information and resource hotline designed to connect people in Massachusetts with a variety of food resources including SNAP and options in their local community. Food assistance available in 180 languages. Call 1-800-645-8333 Mondays–Fridays from 8:00 am–7:00 pm and Saturdays from 10:00 am–2:00 pm.

Women, Infants, & Children Nutrition Program The Massachusetts WIC Program welcomes all families including refugees and immigrants. WIC is not included in the federal government's public charge rule and does not ask about immigration and refugee status.

WIC's goal is to help keep pregnant and breastfeeding women and kids under 5 healthy. WIC is for all kinds of families: married and single parents, working or not working. Parents, grandparents, foster parents or other legal guardians of a child under 5, can apply for WIC for your child.

WIC services and written materials are provided in multiple languages; staff at the local programs reflect the diversity of the population served. WIC staff have access to translators to provide appropriate customer service.

Check out WIC's eligibility page to see how families can apply online for WIC services. Parents, grandparents and foster parents may apply for children under the age of five years who are in their care.

Call WIC at 1-800-942-1007 Monday through Friday 9am – 5pm.

For more information, visit Women, Infants, & Children Nutrition Program.

Last Updated: February 21, 2024

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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
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