H-SANTA MARIA

Jul 8, 2013 7:03 PM by April Hansen, KSBY News

Migrant summer school helps boost students' education

Migrant high school students in Santa Maria are getting an educational boost this summer.

More than 150 of them are enrolled in the first Migrant Summer School program.

The school district saw a need for the program because of their families' ties with the agriculture and fishing industries.

The kids often miss school days and fall behind in classes because they have to switch schools.

The district hopes this 22-day program will give these students the extra time needed to continue their education.

"The more time I spend there the more I'm into it and it's easier and more interesting," said summer school student Janet Orneles.

In room 906, the Santa Maria High School sophomore is learning about the Pythagorean Theorem.

She says she struggles with algebra.

"Actually, math is my least favorite subject," said Orneles.

Because her family moves around a lot, she doesn't want to fall behind, so she's taking summer school to catch up.

"The more you do your work the better your grade is and the more you accomplish," said Orneles.

Janet and her classmates are the children of migrant workers.

"They feel safer to ask questions and be proactive with their learning and instructors," said Peter Haws, Migrant Summer School Director.

Haws says these students are at a disadvantage because sometimes they have to change schools several times a year.

"Shifting could cause them to lose credits or not complete classes," said Haws.

This summer program is geared towards keeping students ahead.

"Often students will stop studying and reading during the summertime, so this is an opportunity for students to keep up their academic skills," said Haws.

The district hopes this opportunity will prepare students for the next school year.

Migrant summer school is funded by federal dollars and it's no cost to the students.

Director Hawes expects enrollment numbers to grow in the next few years.

Students from Santa Maria, Righetti, Pioneer Valley and Delta high schools are involved.

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