1. Talonos

    Talonos New Member

    Oct 19, 2019
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    What would a school do with a late enrolling high-school student?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Talonos, Oct 19, 2019.

    How would a high-school handle this situation:

    A student enrolls a month or so before her 18th birthday, mid January. She's an undocumented immigrant refugee with no social security card or birth certificate, and has had very little public schooling. She's perfectly fluent in English, but only reads and does math at a third grade level. She has no educational disabilities; she's just uneducated. She's excited and motivated to get an education.

    Her host family is extremely supportive and willing to work closely with the school, but are lost when it comes to educational goals. They want to "set her up to have the best life possible before she leaves high school," but they're unclear on the specifics of what that would look like or how how to get there, and are hoping the teachers have clearer direction. Additionally, her host family did not end up hosting this child through any official means; they have no paperwork for her or proof of guardianship, but seem genuinely interested in her well-being and have another academically successful biological child in the high-school.

    What would happen? Would her undocumented immigrant status be a problem? (Pyker vs. Doe suggests it shouldn't be, but what's the reality?) Would she get an IEP despite not having a disability besides lack of former education? How much would she interact with the other students? Would the host family get in trouble, or be in danger of having her taken away? Would CPS or other social workers get involved?

  2. SolZephyr

    SolZephyr Member Supporter

    Jun 4, 2018
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    While I've never had this situation occur, I have worked with multiple schools in multiple school districts, and while my answer may not be what you want to hear, here it is:

    It depends on the school/school district.

    While I don't think she would get an IEP, I can certainly see a more kind-hearted counselor/VP/Principle either fudging that or making some unofficial accommodation, though it's more likely that a teacher or two would just try to give her extra assistance (but without an IEP unlikely extra time on tests or such).

    If she's fluent in English, then how she interacts with other students would mostly depend on her character, assuming she's not in a part of the country that is heavily biased against immigrants. Her family's situation is likely similar, but that's the part I'm least confident in offering advice in. I don't think they'd get in any sort of trouble unless the locals are unfriendly to immigrants, but I have no experience in that so I'll leave it to someone else to give a more definitive answer.
  3. matwoolf

    matwoolf Banned Contributor

    Mar 21, 2012
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    So, roll up to a High School, and say I am seventeen years old, although lacking any supporting documentation of any dimension, most things should work out okay with the Principal and my educational requirements.

    Potentially an evil secretary might request evidence of residency? Maybe I am over-focussed on the 'undocumented' aspects. Could I walk from Guatemala and go to school in Texas? Really with my shit life in England, can I be a girl instead, and study Math at Florida?
  4. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

    Jul 29, 2013
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    I don't know, but I'd look to Texas for an idea. Houston is the most diverse city in the US. There are over 145 languages spoken in Houston and there are schools that seem to specialize in handling a wide variety of immigrant children. There is an episode of Parts Unknown with Anthony Bourdain where he's in Houston and visits one of the most diverse high schools in the city. This page also seems to have some articles at the bottom that may be helpful:

    I'd research what they do in Houston and then model from that. Your character's location will alter how prepared the school is for this situation.
    jannert likes this.
  5. Shenanigator

    Shenanigator Has the Vocabulary of a Well-Educated Sailor. Contributor

    Sep 17, 2017
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    I'd recommend asking someone who works in a school district in an agricultural area in California, because I'll bet similar scenarios, minus the host family, happen quite often. Try somewhere in the Imperial Valley, or around Fresno.

    Having attended California schools that were very diverse, the ESL students who came in after the semester began were always fast-tracked with extra bilingual help to try to catch them up. So I definitely think they'd try to fast-track her somehow. At one school I attended, the students started fast-tracking in very small, Spanish-only classrooms for several weeks using the same textbooks plus additional Spanish materials, then were gradually given more time in regular classrooms as their English improved. For the first several weeks they had little to no social life due to the extra hours of having to translate, plus the extra ESL curriculum, so it was a small, tight group of six to ten students.

    ETA: At a middle school I attended in a school district with less money, students were thrown right in and left to flounder, and they usually tried to hide in the back with those of us who hadn't done our homework. The bilingual students tried to help them. In one of my classes the girl who sat behind me spent the entire class time, every day, being a better and more attentive teacher than our actual teacher. It didn't seem like her first rodeo in that role.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2019
    jannert likes this.

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