A Message to Teachers from STARS (Surrey Teachers Advocating for Refugee Students Ad Hoc Committee)

We’re building a picture of how our district is meeting the needs of refugee students and we need your help.

To support our work with refugee students across the Surrey School District, we are looking for stories of teachers’ experiences working with refugee students. This will help us understand what resources are currently in place in schools that support both teachers and students, and what we can do to suggest improvements to the district’s work this area.

An example story is provided below:
Harkaran is a grade 10 student in a large family, originally from the horn of Africa. His home country experienced civil war, which permanently destabilized infrastructures and services causing him to lose access to many basic needs including education, food security, and personal security during a crucial developmental period. He and his family arrived in Canada seven years ago and received placement and support through the Welcome Centre. When he arrived, he had no English and was not literate in his native language, a circumstance shared by all members of his family.

Since arriving in Canada, Harkaran can now read at a Grade Two level, has fluent oral expressive English and is progressing through the Math A&W stream. However, Harkaran formally aged out of ELL support 2 years ago and teachers have made the decision to continue to provide him with three blocks of direct service (LST and ELL) per semester, after repeated attempts at inclusion were unsuccessful and resulted in Harkaran not attending. In previous years, teachers in inclusion environments were able to provide an NM and allow Harkaran to “audit” the course – changes to reporting standards in the new curriculum now make this impossible.

Your insights are invaluable to helping us succeed! 
What we need:
1) A story of one of your students who is a refugee. This could be 1-2 paragraphs or even point form! How were they helped by the resources currently available at your school? What gaps in supports, if any, where there in helping your student succeed?

2) With a view of how our district meets the needs of refugee students, do you believe your student was properly supported?

3) In a short paragraph, describe the supports from which both teachers and students would benefit.

Don’t hesitate to connect should you have any questions. Your help is very much appreciated! Please email Marc Andres or Irene Tang.

Many thanks,
Marc Andres,
Chair of Surrey Teachers Advocating for Refugee Students (STARS) Ad Hoc Committee

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