High School supports migrant students

Oct 2, 2023

Five migrant students began attending Wareham High School on Tuesday, Oct. 3, according to the school’s Principal Scott Palladino.

Palladino said the high school has welcomed students from other countries in the past, including through a 25-year-old foreign exchange program, so it does have the resources necessary to help the new students.

He said the English Language Learner Program is run by Joe Marcus, who currently has three students. 

Palladino added he anticipates an additional five to still be manageable for the program as it currently stands.

“I know that he's going to do some good work with those folks,” he said. “We'll definitely be there to support the students in any way we can to make sure they're successful.”

Additionally, Palladino said the French teacher, who speaks multiple languages, is originally from Haiti like the migrant students, so he will be able to help.

He said the community has offered a lot of support as well in terms of ensuring the students have the necessary school supplies and clothing.

Palladino said the first day went “really well.”

He said the students are a “nice group of kids” who are “appreciative” of the help everyone has been giving them.

Palladino said eventually, the students will need help with obtaining some winter clothes items, and when that time comes, he will provide more details.

“It's going to take a lot of students, a lot of folks from the outside of the community and obviously our staff to support the students, but I think we can handle it,” he said.

Palladino said the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act requires the schools to accept any homeless student. 

The state provides funding for these homeless students — paid quarterly — but the exact amount for the district’s additional students is unclear.

Palladino said it won’t be enough to hire a new teacher, but “every little bit helps.” 

Once the students are accepted and have begun to acclimate to their new school, Palladino said the school will assist them in getting ahold of transcripts and medical records and then obtaining any necessary vaccinations.

“We have a lot of experience as an institution dealing with students that English wouldn't be their primary language and cases with ELL [English Language Learner] students,” he said. “We've had students that basically came in speaking no English and, obviously, through full immersion have quickly learned the language.”

He added, “We've got the people in place that can make sure that they're successful.”

The superintendent, Wareham Elementary School and Wareham Middle School have not yet responded to requests for comment.