Albemarle Regional Migrant Education sponsors a variety of programs for migrant students, young adults, and parents. These programs provide advocacy, homework help, summer academic support, and young adult ESOL classes. Volunteers and staff go to homes, schools, and migrant work camps to work with individuals and families.
Homework Helpers is a program which sends trained volunteers to homes or schools throughout the region to tutor school children one on one in their individual areas of academic need. A staff member gives guidance to the volunteer regarding the area of focus for each student. Due to frequent moves, language and cultural differences, and often poverty, it is not unusual for a student to be working below grade level. Parents place high value on education but are usually not able to offer much assistance with schoolwork because of their limited ability to speak English. Since they cannot offer their children much help with schoolwork, they are very appreciative of the tutoring assistance that Homework Helpers offer.
Students often need help with reading and writing skills, learning academic terms and concepts, and with general study skills. Volunteers help students with their homework and review what was taught in the classroom, ensuring that the student has understood. Volunteers also provide supplemental activities, such as educational games, that improve a student's general academic and English skills. Some tutors may work with parents who are interested in learning English, studying for the GED, or the citizenship test.
Homework Helpers offers extra assistance to a wonderful group of children. This program offers a support system which helps migrant students gain the confidence and skills needed to succeed in school.
Family Night Tutoring
Hispanic Family Night is a program based at Red Hill Elementary School in Albemarle County which meets on Tuesday evenings from 7 to 8:30 P.M. to offer tutoring assistance to Hispanic families who live in the area. Many of these families are currently or were previously migrant workers. Adults receive one-on-one tutoring in English as a Second Language (ESL) or help preparing for the test for U.S. Citizenship. Children receive one-on-one tutoring help with their homework assignments. Volunteers can choose to tutor either adults or children. The tutors, who are an integral part of this program, are UVA Latino and Migrant Aid volunteers, assisted by an Albemarle Adult Education staff member who is present for placement, guidance, materials, and teaching advice.
ESOL ability levels range from Beginner ESL Literacy (students may not be literate in their native language) to ESL High Beginner (students are able to read and communicate simple information about everyday life). All adult students focus on speaking, reading and writing English, while some also study for the test for U.S. Citizenship. Volunteers who choose to work with the adult students are given guidance by Albemarle Adult Education staff and instructional materials to use.
Many of the children were born in the U.S. or have lived here for several years. They need academic support but may not be at the most basic level of need. It is still difficult for their parents to assist them with their homework, especially after the first grade or two, so the tutors are an important component of children's academic success, making the difference between a student who is just getting by and one who is gaining confidence and making academic progress. Each child's classroom teacher is consulted weekly regarding specific needs and assignments so tutors will always have up to date information and materials for their student's work. this work usually takes the whole class time to complete but if there is extra time, there are supplemental materials available such as educational games to improve a student's general academic skill level.
Hispanic Family Night promotes learning at all levels, to help ensure a family's successful advancement of their learning goals.
The Adult Tutoring Program sends supervised trained UVA Migrant Aid volunteers to migrant camps in Albemarle County and the surrounding area. Migrant camps are located in local orchards, where migrant workers live in dormitory-style camps and work in apple or peach orchards. The migrant workers in this area are usually adult men, who come from Mexico, Guatemala or other Central American countries.
During the summer, Migrant Education teachers hold group classes once a week at the orchards. Classes cover basic Survival English on topics relevant to workers' lives. During the fall, Migrant volunteers accompany the teachers to the camps in the evenings to hold group lessons and individual English tutoring. Volunteers are provided instructional materials which cover Basic English survival topics, such as money, shopping, food, health, and employment. Teachers are on site to offer assistance to the volunteers. During the fall, each migrant camp will receive two nights of tutoring from two different groups of volunteers.
These classes are offered in three migrant camps in Albemarle County. The workers pick apples and peaches in the orchards. After the Virginia harvests, workers travel to other states to work in other industries or crops for the winter, returning to our area in summer to begin picking peaches and apples again.