Immigrant Experience: Schools tackle needs of students from other countries

Oct 3, 2014 by

CEDAR RAPIDS — Homework and dinner time converge in Mazahir Salih’s kitchen every day after school. The smell of roasted chicken collides with a peppering of questions from four of her children about math problems, patterns and telling time.

“I know math in my language,” said Salih, who was a civil engineer in Sudan before she came to the United States in 1997. “I don’t know some of the math in English, and there are different ways to solve math problems in English. Sometimes it’s hard to help my son.”

Salih said she wishes there were after-school options for her children and other immigrant students to get extra help when she cannot. It’s just one of the many dilemmas students and their parents run into.

Cedar Rapids and Iowa City schools have seen an increasing number of immigrant and refugee families over the past few years. Schools continue to have a significant number of Spanish speakers but are noticing a growth in Arabic, Swahili and languages from several African countries.

Iowa City schools have 900 students in ELL programs this year compared to 211 in 2009. In Cedar Rapids schools’ ELL programs, there are 642 students compared to 308 students in 2009.

via Immigrant Experience: Schools tackle needs of students from other countries – TheGazette.

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