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Migrant Program Gives 5 Plymouth Teens Trip to D.C.

June 24, 2011

06/27/11 Five Plymouth teenagers were given an unexpected opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. this week.  The trip was made possible as a part of Title I Migrant Grant.

According to Jeni Hirschy, Riverside Intermediate Assistant Principal and ENL/Migrant Coordinator for the schools, they received a last minute call from the state informing them that there was enough funding left to offer the educational trip. The week long experience is a part of partnership with the U.S. Congress, U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. State Department, the White House Historical Association, the Smithsonian, and other Washington institutions.

Since 1971, over 700,000 students and teachers have graduated from the programs.

Accompanying the students on the six-day trip was Rebecca Ippel, Plymouth High School English as New Language teacher. Ippel volunteered to make the trip even though it meant leaving Plymouth at 4:00 A.M. on Sunday to make a flight out of Indianapolis.

The idea behind the trip is to inspire students from all walks of life to help them better understand the role they play in the United States democracy. Students are given time to meet in small groups with the elected officials in Congress and attend Congress sessions. Evening activities are also a part of the learning experience as students get to know each other.

Participants will tour the Iwo Jima Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, Korean, Vietnam and World War II Memorials, Capitol Hill, Smithsonian American History Museum, and visit the Supreme Court and Library of Congress.

Hirschy explained that students are classified a migrant if they have moved to this area for the purpose of agriculture. She said, “Many families choose to stay in the Plymouth area, but the students can still receive migrant educational opportunities until the families have lived in the area for three years.

Funding for several migrant programs for students comes from three grants (Title I, Title III, and Non-English Speaking) that the school system must apply for each year.

Because some of the students do not have adequate transportation to the school buildings, an onsite classroom has been set up at the Red Rock Inn where several families are housed. Hirschy said they offer core standards activities and even offer specific class work to help students with the needed tutoring for Texas certifications that are much like Indiana’s ISTEP testing.

A summer reading program with two Plymouth teachers is being held for children pre-K through grade 4 at the Plymouth Public Library. Teaching the classes that began on June 13 and will end on July 7 are Tammy Greelee and Vicky Hite.

Those in grades 1-6 were invited to attend “Camp Invention” at Riverside Intermediate. “Camp Invention” promotes science experimentation and includes creative enrichment programs.

From July 18-July 29, students from migrant families can attend regular summer school classes held at Riverside Intermediate and Lincoln Junior High.

Field trips are especially educational and enjoyable for the students as well, according to Hirschy. She said in “Camp Discovery” this summer students are learning about journalism as a theme and will have two field trips to local businesses. Other topics covered during the camp include art and family and consumer science classes. Students were invited to Martin’s Super Market to learn cake decorating just in time for Father’s Day.

Ending the summer programming will be a trip to the Chicago Art Institute. The one-day trip on August 1 will be paid for by the Migrant Education funds. Students will be bussed to Chicago on a Cardinal bus.

Hirschy praised Norma Rodriguez and Carolina Figueroa of the Plymouth School staff for their valuable help with both the students and their families in communicating the various summer offerings.

Photo: Jose Velero, Jorge Veloro, Rebecca Ippel (chaperone)  Yoselin Galiano, Alejandra Renteria, and Monica Renteria.

Carol Anders Correspondent

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