Since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands last fall, over 135,000 people have left the islands for other parts of the United States. According to CityLab, that includes over 24,000 K-12 students. For some teachers on the US mainland, this means adding new students to already crowded classrooms. For others, it means helping students who are learning English catch up to their peers. And for all of them, it means making sure students who’ve lost everything feel at home in their new classroom environment.
Now more than ever, these teachers need our support, and we’re so proud that our community has stepped up to the plate. All donations to teachers helping students displaced by Hurricane Maria will be matched 3X, thanks to the generosity of ExxonMobil, CA Technologies, Tony and Nanar Yoseloff, and an anonymous donor.
Starting over in a new community
When Mrs. Agovino kicked off her school year at Denham Oaks Elementary, she could never have imaged that just a few months later she’d be welcoming a new group of students to her second grade class.
In her project, “Overcoming Maria,” she says that “having lost everything and leaving their parents to live with family here is hard enough” for her new Puerto Rican students. Now that they are in the US, they are dealing with a whole new set of challenges that she wants to help them overcome.
“Having lost everything and leaving their parents to live with family here is hard enough.”
“The majority of these students do not speak English,” she writes. “Having books in their language will allow them to read and remained engaged in the book that they are reading.” Mrs. Agovino knows she has a challenge ahead, but she believes her students will learn and grow despite their challenges: “If I can make them smile just once a day then it is a success.”
Dozens of teachers like Mrs. Agovino have shared their best ideas to support students displaced by Hurricane Maria. Now all they need is you!