Schools prepare for immigrant children in GA - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Schools prepare for immigrant children in GA

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

It's still unclear where more than 1,000 immigrant children are living in Georgia after crossing the Mexican border. Over the last six months, the Office of Refuge and Resettlement announced they sent these children to live with families or sponsors in Georgia, but we don't know exactly where they are.

School systems in Georgia are wondering if these children will be enrolling in school.

Officials at the Board of Education said they don't know if they'll be getting any of these immigrant children, but by law all public schools in Georgia are required to have specially trained teachers to help immigrant children.

"We assess if the child has any language needs with an English proficiency test and we get that child settled in the classroom," Georgiana Darsey with the Federal Programs Director for Bulloch County Schools said.

Public school systems like Bulloch County are always prepared for new immigrant students. It's federal law for schools to have plans in place to accommodate their specific needs.

Bulloch County has eight what they call "ESOL" teachers, which is English for Speakers of Other Languages. The teachers will create specific learning plans depending on the child's needs.

"So they can get more individualized attention for their very focused language time," Darsey said.

The federal government awards money to counties that see an increase in their immigrant population. Bulloch County schools have about 79 immigrant students, should they get more this year, Darsey said they'll get more money.

"Those are used for the classroom teachers to purchase resources to help those students become a cultured to our country and area," she said.

Officials said they may not know until the first day of school if they are receiving any more immigrant children, but it they do, they said they're ready.

"It's our job to make them feel comfortable and to reassure them that they are in a safe environment and that we have their best interest at heart," Darsey said.

Copyright 2014 WTOC. All rights reserved. 

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