How Schools Can Partner with Afghan Refugee Families

Afghan girl arriving at Dulles airport

The following resources provide recommendations on how schools can effectively partner with families who will be arriving from Afghanistan in the coming months. It also shares lessons learned from schools already partnering with this community.

Image: Afghan refugees arrive at Dulles Airport in Virginia/Reuters

Afghan Arrivals: What Schools Need to Know

Over the coming months  tens of thousands of Afghan neighbors will begin arriving in our schools and communities, as a result of the recent political developments in Afghanistan. Many of the newcomers have served in the following capacities; as interpreters, translators, educators and additional support staff for U.S. military operations.  Additionally, many Afghan families are seeking asylum. In addition, some children are arriving alone, without family members.

Where will Afghan families be resettled?

The U.S. State Department will recommend a list of cities for Afghans who are looking to resettle based on different factors. According to the State Department, families may allow a resettlement agency to match them to a location based on criteria such as:

  • Cost of living
  • Housing availability
  • Employment opportunities
  • Access to resettlement support services
  • Access to additional resettled communities for support

It's important to note that many refugee resettlement services are still increasing capacity after refugee services were cut in prior years.

Cities/regions on the State Department's list include:

  • Phoenix
  • Denver
  • Jacksonville
  • Atlanta
  • Chicago
  • Baltimore
  • St. Louis
  • Raleigh-Durham
  • Northern New Jersey
  • Las Vegas
  • Buffalo
  • Cleveland
  • Portland
  • Philadelphia
  • Pittsburgh
  • Austin
  • Dallas-Fort Worth
  • Houston
  • Salt Lake City

Educators who are working with new Afghan arrivals should be sure to contact local resettlement agencies and organizations to further strengthen support around issues such as schooling, housing, medical care, employment, and social-emotional support. For additional recommendations for partnering with Afghan families during this transition, please see these tips from the Austin Independent School District, as well as our tips for supporting refugee students.

Learn more about the Afghans who are coming from the following stories:

Featured Articles & Interviews

Welcoming Afghan Families: Lessons Learned from Austin

Learn how Austin ISD, the public school district in Austin, TX, is currently partnering with the Afghan community and preparing to welcome the additional Afghan families who will be arriving in their schools in coming months.

Recommended Resources

How schools can support Afghan students

Updates and explainers

Classroom resources

What you can do

How to partner with refugee students and families