Accomack County Schools offers a four-week summer session that is available to all eligible migrant children that reside in Accomack County. The migrant workers start entering the camps just as the regular school year has ended. The majority of the migrant workers originate from Florida or Texas. They come to Accomack County to work in the vegetable fields, primarily tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and peppers. But a small percentage of the migrants work as laborers in the nursery industry that is prevalent on the Eastern Shore. Most of the migrant workers are Hispanic and speak Spanish as their first language. The number of school-age migrant children that accompany their parents to the Eastern Shore has remained fairly constant over the past several years. But during that same time there has been an increase in the number of unaccompanied males (out-of-school youth) entering the migrant camps. This is due to two factors: (1) the wives and children are staying behind so that the children's education is not interrupted and (2) camp owners are maximizing the number of able-body workers that will occupy the camps. Approximately 250 school-age children and 241 out-of-school youth are served during the summer migrant program. In addition to the educational program, all eligible students can receive dental services. This prevents loss of instructional days. Those students that are enrolled in the summer migrant program, including Head Start summer program, regular summer program, and out-of-school youth have access to the dental care clinic. This service is provided at no cost and transportation is provided. Accomack County provides comprehensive free dental services for all students throughout the school year. The clinics are funded through grants, county funding, Medicaid reimbursements and volunteer services.
Albemarle County Regional Migrant Education Program is an adaptable program designed to locate and enroll all eligible migrant students residing within its region, evaluate their individual educational needs, and offer services to meet those needs. The regional district includes the counties of Allegheny, Albemarle, Augusta, Culpeper, Fluvanna, Greene, Hanover, Louisa, Madison, Nelson, Orange, and Rockbridge, and the cities of Charlottesville, Staunton, and Waynesboro. All students are enrolled in school, or if pre-school age or no longer attending school, are offered alternative educational services. The migrant population fluctuates throughout the year in the region with the highest numbers present from June through October during the peach, grape, and apple harvest seasons. Other times of the year there is work planting and pruning in the fruit orchards, seasonal employment in nurseries, and temporary work on dairies and cattle farms. The migrant students in the area are 99 percent Hispanic and have limited English proficiency. Approximately 125 unduplicated students and their families are served an of average twice each week with ESOL instruction in the migrant camps, academic tutoring in the home for school aged students, parent training, and family literacy classes. Services are offered during the regular school year and summer.
The Northampton County Public Schools division is situated in a rural area located at the southern most strip of the Eastern Shores of Virginia. The division is made up of two elementary schools and one high school. Annually, hundreds of Hispanic farm workers and their families migrate to Northampton County from Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Georgia and Mexico in search of employment opportunities in the agricultural, forestry and fishery industries. Employment opportunities for the migrant farm worker can begin in Northampton County as early as February and March. The process of laying tomato beds in preparation for the planting of pole tomatoes is begun at this time. During the months of April and May, the planting of cucumbers, squash, beans, and bell peppers begins. As the farming season progresses, many migrant farm workers can be found working in warehouses and grader sheds, grading string beans and potatoes. During the month of July, the watermelon picking season begins. From late summer through mid to late October, continued employment opportunities are provided to the migrant farm workers as they begin harvesting late summer tomatoes, late summer bell peppers and late summer cucumbers. The month of November brings the culmination of the farming season with the cleaning up of plastic, poles and other debris and farm equipment used throughout the summer. While many migrant families are busy working the farmlands in Northampton, an estimated 110 of their children enter our public schools annually.
The Nottoway County Regional Migrant Education Program (NCRMEP) serves the counties of Nottoway, Amelia, Cumberland, Prince Edward, and Lunenburg. Approximately 35 students are served throughout the school year. Students come from Mexico and generally speak Spanish. "Mixtec" is also spoken. Throughout the year, migrant families are busy working the farmlands of Amelia, Cumberland, Lunenburg, and Nottoway. They work on local dairy, poultry, and fruit/vegetable farms. They also work harvesting timber. The NCRMEPs migrant liaison assists with recruitment and enrollment of students in school and provides other educational services to migrant families as needed. The migrant liaison also provides interpretation services for school mailings and student meetings, including child study and Individual Education Plan (IEP) meetings. Once enrolled in school, tutoring, computer assistance, and English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction are offered as needed. In addition, the NCRMEP collaborates with local service providers to refer migrant students and their families for needed health, medical and dental assistance.
The Shenandoah Valley Migrant Education Program (SVMEP) is a year round program serving children from migrant families who come to the Shenandoah Valley to do qualifying work, which includes processing poultry, picking apples, weeding and watering seedlings, and milking dairy cows. The SVMEP serves the Counties of Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Rockingham and Shenandoah and the cities of Harrisonburg and Winchester. Within the region described, approximately 200 children are served during the year. Ninety-eight percent of those served are Latino. The large majority is first or second generation immigrants from Mexico, including a large population of indigenous Mixtec and Otomi, and a significant number of persons from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Puerto Rico. Many have formerly been seasonal harvesters in Florida and North Carolina and nearly ten percent of the total clients served annually are still involved in fall apple harvests locally. The SVMEP offers year-round advocacy and supplemental instructional services for preschool and school-aged eligible students as well as young adults under the age of twenty-two, targeting the students who are most at risk due to their high mobility and/or limited proficiency in English. The primary goal of the Migrant Education Program is to ensure that all migrant students reach challenging academic standards and graduate with a high school diploma or complete a GED that prepares them for responsible citizenship, further learning, and productive employment. The SVMEP provides the following educational services: assist local schools and preschool programs with registering and placing students; provide training for classroom teachers and administration in the areas of second language acquisition and strategies for English language learners; provide tutors for students who need supplemental academic help; mentor youth through completion of high school and establishment of future educational and career goals; encourage parent involvement through home visits and assistance with parent-teacher conferences and parent meetings; arrange, transport to and interpret for appointments which directly affect a child’s education or well being; offer family literacy through home visits to families with preschool-aged children; provide enriching summer programs for interested children (based on needs); and provide outreach/advocacy work to increase the quality of nutritional, health, and dental care.
The Southwestern Regional Migrant Education Program provides services in 21 schools within eight school divisions (Counties of Carroll, Floyd, Grayson, Patrick, Scott, Smyth, Washington, and Galax City). Approximately 47 students and their families are served throughout the year. The majority of these families are Hispanic, coming from Mexico, Honduras, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Maine, Michigan, Ohio, Hawaii, or Virginia. Many migrant families come to the area in late summer or early fall. Cabbage and apples are the crops that are harvested at that time. Families that arrive in late fall work with local Christmas tree farms, cutting, wrapping, tipping, and roping pine. In early spring, pruning of trees in the orchards and planting of early crops are conducted. There are a small number of families that work on dairy/beef cattle farms and tree/seasonal plant nurseries. Over the past few years, many of the families have begun settling out and are finding permanent employment in the area where they are able to continue contributing to the community.
The Westmoreland County Migrant Education Program (MEP), established summer 2006, is designed to provide approximately 90 migratory students with instruction, academic and support services during the school year and summer. The program serves migrant families that reside temporarily in the school division. During the school year, eligible migratory students receive instructional and academic support through a pull-out program. In the summer, eligible migratory students attend a five to six week summer school program.
The migrant families arrive in Westmoreland County early spring, February - April, and stay until fall, late October - November. The migrant families predominantly follow the eastern stream migration pattern starting in Texas and following the crops up the east coast often as far as Pennsylvania. Common qualifying work in the school division includes: planting and transplanting ornamental plants; staking, pruning, harvesting, and replanting tomatoes; picking apples, peaches, cherries, and other fruits; planting, pruning, and harvesting strawberries; planting and harvesting vegetables such as squash, green beans, peppers; pruning, weeding, and irrigating berries and grapes; and chalking oysters.
Most of the migrant families originate from Mexico and Texas. The migrant families are Hispanic and speak Spanish as their native language. Less than 50 percent of English language learners within the school division are also migratory students. The number of school age children that accompany their parents to Westmoreland County is slowly decreasing as families have begun settling out and are finding permanent employment in the area where they are able to continue contributing to the community.