ASD Welcomes Additional Afghan Refugees at the Start of the Semester
Over the Winter Break ASD continued to welcome Afghan refugees into the District and is prepared to provide supports to ensure that new students and their families engage meaningfully in the full array of educational programs and services provided by ASD.
ASD anticipates about 100 Afghan refugees will arrive in Anchorage during the 2021-2022 school year, and many of these include families with school-aged children.
Christine Garbe, director of the ASD English Language Learners (ELL) Department said ASD is one of the first stops once a refugee family arrives in Anchorage.
"We have an obligation to help remove barriers so all students achieve academic success,” said Garbe. "How do you put wrap around services in place for a student who is the only one in a large high school who speaks a certain language?"
ASD works collaboratively with Refugee Assistance and Immigration Services (RAIS) to prepare resources for staff on language, culture, social-emotional learning, and academic learning. Nationally ASD is working with other school districts to make sure our resources and information are up to date and is focused on the best supports possible for incoming families from Afghanistan and other communities around the world.
Garbe said part of that solution is helping families who are just resettling overcome basic obstacles. "Winter is a challenging time to arrive as families need gear and can't easily walk places." Garbe said the community has been highly supportive, donating clothing, gift cards, school supplies, their time, and household items.
"Catholic Social Services and RAIS is the first contact for newly arrived families, said Garbe. "They help secure housing, assist with paperwork, and provide classes for families to help them acquire English, gain employment and understand the life in Alaska. They also work with the ASD “Welcome Center” staff to get families connected with the schools.
Garbe said the ELL Department continues to look forward to serving newly arrived families and their students.