Kent School District in Kent, WA
Refugee Transition Center (RTC)
RTC centralizes the school registration process for newly arrived refugee students. Our district has 40 school buildings across more than 70 miles. We provide a warm, inviting, and calming atmosphere in which refugee families can register their children for any of those 40 schools. Families with multiple-age children can complete all registration paperwork at one place. Through community donations, we are able to supply students with basic school supplies. We also provide the family with any donated basic household goods, coats, blankets, etc., that we have available.
In addition, we help students succeed in school by offering after school homework help, computer access, and by liaising between families and schools for such things as parent teacher conferences. We also provide workshops for families which focus on school and education, thus engaging parents with their children's education.
RTC accesses BRYCS and Center for Applied Linguistics websites.
Services have been provided to student and parent groups from (in no particular order): Burma (Karen, Chin, Karennyi, Burmese), Bhutan/Nepal, Iraq, Iran, Kurdistan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, the Congo, Sudan, Gabon, Afghanistan, Ivory Coast, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Burundi, Uzbekstan, Russia, Liberia and a few others.
RTC receives a Refugee School Impact Grant from the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement, Department of Health and Human Services, and is also funded through Title III and a small amount of private donations.
For students, RTC compares the language placement test score to the annual language test and also looks at report cards and graduation rates (for high school). For parents, RTC does pre/post tests in the form of a survey and/or questionnaire. For parents that are not literate in their native language, RTC conducts the test orally and uses anecdotal assessment.
The Refugee School Impact Grant funds activites which assist in integrating and educating refugee children; as a requirement of this funding RTC compiles and maintains test scores and other pertinent data. RTC also monitors student progress through the district's grading system and communicates with teachers and staff as needed regarding student adjustments and grades. Parents have learned to trust RTC and come to us for help with issues relating to school.
RTC has an incredibly dedicated staff which enjoys working with refugee students. The children are equally enthusiastic. Together, we foster a culture of caring and respect. We treat our parents and children with dignity.
The Refugee Transition Center officially opened January 2008 and is still in operation as of October 2012.