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:
- See highlights: Ten Strategies for Supporting Immigrant Students and Families >
- Download the summary (PDF) >
- Download complete guide (PDF) >
Topics Included in This Guide
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Serving Immigrant Students
- Immigrant Students' Legal Rights: An Overview
- The Importance of Emergency Contact Information
- Making Students and Families Feel Welcome
- How to Build Partnerships with Immigrant Families
- Special Considerations for Young Children in Immigrant Families
Social-Emotional Support for Students
- How COVID-19 Is Impacting ELL and Immigrant Families
- Addressing Students' Basic Needs
- How Immigration Issues Impact Students
- Providing Social-Emotional Support for Students
- Addressing Student Anxiety, Depression, and Trauma
- Special Populations: Refugees, Unaccompanied Minors, Children in Mixed-Status Families, and Indigenous Students
Questions and Concerns About Immigration Issues
- Addressing Immigrant Families' Questions and Concerns
- Addressing Questions About Immigration Enforcement
- Connecting Immigrant Families with Legal Support and Advice
Staff Training, Collaboration, and Support
- What Would Be Helpful in the Future
- Reflection Questions: After Reading the Guide
- Immigration Research: Academic Centers and Scholars in Higher Education
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)