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Hall County schools enroll refugee children

POSTED: August 12, 2014 1:27 a.m.

Eleven Central American refugee students have enrolled at Chicopee Woods Elementary, with another five expected to enroll soon.

Eloise Barron, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning for the Hall County School System, said at a Hall County Board of Education work session Monday in Gainesville the students are in addition to the estimated 25 to 30 possible refugee students already enrolled in Hall schools.

Barron said it is not clear whether all of the 25 to 30 students are refugees because refugee resettlement forms have not been provided for some of them. She said the additional 11 students at Chicopee Woods are known to be Central American refugees.

With the 11 new students plus the expected five, “This brings us up to around 50-ish,” Barron said.

“We want to be very cautious with numbers,” Superintendent Will Schofield said. “We really don’t know how many there are. We’ll know more as the week continues.”

Barron said the 11 students are from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. She said the district is working to assess the needs of the students.

“A few of them have very limited English and very limited Spanish. In other words, they’re having a very difficult time communicating,” Barron said. She said some have also had limited schooling.

It is not yet clear how the education of the students will be organized.

“We need to see what their needs are, what their background is,” Schofield said. “Then we need to decide if it makes sense to do some clustering.”

“They’re here,” said Nath Morris, school board chairman, “We want to educate them, and we also don’t want to disrupt all the other things that we’re doing.”

Barron said the district will try to assess where the students are academically, then determine how to best meet their needs.


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