The Massachusetts Migrant Education Program Partners with School Districts

Home E CES Stories E The Massachusetts Migrant Education Program Partners with School Districts
Article Author: Kathy Levesque
Publication Name: Collaborative for Educational Services
Article Date: 12/5/2022
Article URL:

The Massachusetts Migrant Education Program (MMEP) has developed strong partnerships and collaborations with school districts that have larger migratory student populations in the Commonwealth. These joint efforts benefit the migratory students and families, and MMEP works to strengthen these models and use them to replicate and/or modify with other districts to best support all migratory youth in Massachusetts.

MMEP staff work to support migratory children and youth to achieve their very best academically by identifying and addressing strengths as well as barriers that they may have.  These include overcoming educational disruptions, cultural and language barriers, social isolation, various health-related problems, and other factors that may inhibit their ability to succeed in school. The statewide program, federally funded through Title 1 as part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, has long worked to establish and foster relationships with schools, community agencies, organizations and agribusinesses to identify eligible children and youth, coordinate services, share information, and plan events and programming for migratory students/youth, in order to ensure the most effective and efficient delivery of education and support services. 

Partnerships are crucial to both identifying and making connections and access to needed services for migratory students and their families across the Commonwealth. Program staff have worked closely with a number of school districts in Massachusetts to develop new and innovative ways to support and extend their efforts. 

Springfield Public Schools (SPS) partners with MMEP in multiple ways to address barriers that have historically prevented migratory students from participating in SPS district programming.  

  • The SPS Student Assignment Services Center, which houses the enrollment team and student support services, has leveraged additional funding through their McKinney-Vento grant to create a combined position for key staff to support students experiencing unstable housing/homelessness and migratory students. These positions have provided specific staff contacts for both migratory students/families and MMEP staff, resulting in improved communication and support. 
  • SPS has on average 50-75 high school students, the majority who are considered SLIFE and many who are unaccompanied. Due to their lifestyle, many are facing credit deficits and would benefit from credit recovery programming.  In order to support credit recovery for migratory high school students who work on farms during the summer months and whose work schedules prevent them from participating in the credit recovery and English Language instruction summer schools, MMEP and SPS worked together to offer credit recovery programming in the evening.  MMEP provided transportation, food, the physical space and student coordination while SPS provided the curriculum and teachers. 
  • SPS offers a Ready for Kindergarten program as a site-based workshop model, but the model and times the program is offered does not accommodate migratory parent’s work schedules. SPS staff provided training and support to a MMEP early childhood instructor and purchased the activity kits used. MMEP then coordinated individual home-based visits and provided the instructors to the families at times that they were available. 
  • Historically, migratory students have had difficulty attending district summer programming. Issues are usually around families needing full day programming and transportation, as almost all adults are working in the fields and leave their homes very early in the morning and return in the later evening. There are also issues with students enrolling in school in late spring and not being counted/considered for summer programming, as well as not having programming for preschoolers and kindergarteners.  This past summer, SPS and MMEP collaborated to address these issues and worked together to provide full-day programming, along with coordinated transportation and family communication. This allowed many SPS students to receive the district programming during the morning as well as participate in enrichment activities offered by the MMEP in the afternoon. MMEP offered full day preschool and kindergarten programming and SPS provided the classrooms for those classes.

Lynn Public Schools (LPS) works with MMEP through their Homeless Coordinator and Social Emotional Learning Department. 

  • In 2021 LPS began to receive additional funding through their McKinney Vento grant to include migratory students in a summer camp for LPS students who are experiencing unstable housing/homelessness. The program is provided through an established relationship between LPS and the Lynn Boys and Girls Club. All eligible LPS migratory students have been offered enrollment in the Boys and Girls Club summer program for the past two years and will continue this upcoming summer.  
  • This academic year, LPS, MMEP, and Lynn Boys and Girls Club worked together to provide annual memberships to the drop-in afterschool and teen programs for over 40 LPS migratory students, including free transportation. The students are able to access academic tutoring as well as additional recreational activities. The Club is also open during school vacation weeks and has additional opportunities and programs available to the students and their families.
  • Beginning in the 2022-2023 school year, LPS will provide a stipend to bilingual staff members at key schools to be points of contact for migratory families. This is in addition to the relationships that MMEP staff have developed with the school social workers and guidance counselors. These types of multiple points of contact create a coordinated support network for migratory students and their families.

New Bedford Public Schools (NBPS) has greatly strengthened the identification and support for migratory students with MMEP, resulting in the district growing from under 10 to over 70 students identified for MEP services in the past two years. 

  • The NBPS Registration Center has implemented a universal use of the MMEP screener to every student who registers in the district. They have also appointed a specific staff member to work with the migratory students and families in enrollment to ensure proper support. 
  • MMEP co-sponsored a family/community Back to School event in August with NBPS and the Centro Comunitario de Trabajadores of New Bedford, where migratory families learned about the Family Engagement Program, FISS, Wraparound Services and other community based resources available to them. There was also a MMEP sponsored vaccine clinic, and many migratory families and other community members were able to receive the COVID vaccine or booster.
  • NBPS provides a stipend to bilingual staff members at key schools to be points of contact for migratory families. MMEP offers continued training and support to these staff members and works with the NBPS Registrar and key staff to develop and strengthen the support systems for migratory students and families in the district. 

Said Emily Hoffman, Program Director, “MMEP works with multiple school districts and community agencies and looks forward to continuing these collaborations and program development to best support the migratory youth and families residing in the state.” 

MMEP works to partner successfully with school districts all across the Commonwealth, and MMEP staff welcome the opportunity to meet with districts to explore how the many student and family support services for migratory children and youth can align with and  complement district programs and priorities already in place. MMEP also works with statewide initiatives including the Regional McKinney-Vento Liaisons, presenting at Statewide Conferences and participating in Advisory Councils to provide outreach, training and support  and reach as many migratory children, youth and families in the state. For more information about the program’s services and partnerships, please reach out to Emily Hoffman, Director of MMEP, at

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