The Mercy Migrant Education Project was an Institute sponsored ministry that established La Escuela de San Jose (San Jose School), a school for migrant students Kindergarten through 3rd grade. The Institute initiated a mobile team of teachers, an outreach worker, a nurse, and a coordinator to travel with migrant farm workers between Freemont, Ohio to Plant City, Florida, allowing migrant children to continue to attend school through the year.
Throughout the national public school system, migrant students have the lowest graduation rate. Their constant mobility, the burdens of poverty, and the challenge of being in and out of two different cultures and languages negatively affect educational achievement.
La Escuela de San Jose’s goal was to provide an academically strong, culturally sensitive, value-based education which would enable their students to enter intermediate grades in community schools with the skills, confidence, and motivation to do well, stay in school, and ultimately graduate. They also provided the students’ families with needed health and outreach services, and helped the parents to become full partners in their children’s education.
La Escuela de San Jose functioned from 1994 to 2001. The school was closed due to a lack of qualified, mobile applicants and due to a shift in migration patterns for the farm workers. Studies showed that La Escuela de San Jose graduates were performing as well as their non-migratory peers and were maintaining exceptionally high attendance rates. The school, although now closed, continues to be an example to others bridging the gap educationally for migrant students.
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