How to Support Immigrant Students and Families: Strategies for Schools and Early Childhood Programs

Across the country, educators are looking for ways to support immigrant students and families facing great uncertainty. This comprehensive guide includes more than 50 strategies that educators, staff, and administrators can use to ensure that schools and early childhood settings remain safe, welcoming places for immigrant students and their families.

How to view the guide

The online version of guide is available below. You can also:

Topics Included in This Guide

Getting Started

"A must-read guide"

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Serving Immigrant Students

Social-Emotional Support for Students

Questions and Concerns About Immigration Issues

Staff Training, Collaboration, and Support

Closing Thoughts

About This Guide

This guide created by Colorín Colorado presents dozens of strategies that educators in school and early childhood settings can use and share with colleagues, families, and community partners. The guide includes more than 50 strategies and examples that apply to K-12 and/or early childhood settings.

Each strategy includes features such as:

  • Why this matters: A brief overview of how the topic relates to immigrant students and families
  • Tips for getting started: Specific, concrete ideas targeted for educators
  • Recommended resources: Guides, books, articles, research reports, and other materials
  • Recommended videos: Video clips that can enhance staff training
  • Examples from the field: Brief anecdotes and quotes from an audience survey we conducted in 2017, news items, and communication with our audience, partners, and advisors

Note: While many of these strategies address situations specific to immigrant students, a number of the recommendations can be applied to a broader population as well.

Seeking legal guidance

This guide includes numerous resources providing useful information for educators. While some of those resources include advocacy information, Colorín Colorado and our parent organization, public broadcasting station WETA-TV-FM, do not take political positions or participate in political advocacy.

In addition, the information in this guide should not be interpreted as legal advice. Any individual or organization seeking legal advice related to immigration issues should consult with the appropriate attorneys, local government officials, or non-profit organizations specializing in immigration law that can offer guidance. We also remind educators not to provide legal advice.


The author of the guide is Lydia Breiseth, Director of Colorín Colorado. Special thanks to:

  • Dr. Julie Sugarman (Migration Policy Institute)
  • Kristina Robertson (Roseville Public Schools, MN)
  • Dr. Karen Ford (University of Virginia)
  • Susan Lafond (New York State United Teachers)
  • Becky Corr (Douglas County Public Schools, CO)
  • Giselle Lundy-Ponce (American Federation of Teachers)
  • César Moreno Pérez (American Federation of Teachers)
  • Anne Marie Foerster Luu (Maryland)
  • Lori Dodson (Maryland)
  • Karen Nemeth (Language Castle, LLC)
  • Dr. Emily Crawford-Rossi (University of Missouri)