Morning News - Lisa Lete
Yaneli Ornelas (left) and Chrystal Salinas, first graders in the Idaho Migrant ELL summer school program at Ridge Crest Elementary, are busily beading handcrafted Aztec jewelry, a project designed to help educate them on their Mexican heritage. The jewelry will be displayed at an upcoming "parent night."
BLACKFOOT â€” Elementary school age migrant students are enjoying an educational blend of Mexican and American culture at the Idaho Migrant - English Language Learners (ELL) summer school program currently underway at Ridge Crest Elementary School.
According to Chistina Alvarez of Blackfoot, Idaho's Migrant Education Coordinator, this is a state program funded solely by grant money that helps migrant children learn to read and speak English while keeping them in tune with their native Mexican culture through music, dance and art. The students attend class Monday through Thursday throughout the month of June.
"This is such a wonderful program for the kids and it helps their parents as well," Alvarez said. "It helps boost their self esteem and they are learning so much about their Mexican heritage."
Alvarez said that the Migrant ELL program is based on an agreement with Mexico through a bi-national education forum to exchange teachers from the two countries. Blackfoot is fortunate to be one of three cities in the state (along with Boise and Nampa) to have a teacher from the cultural exchange this summer to teach the children in the summer school program, Alvarez said.
Maria Del Rocio, a young teacher from the Mexican state of Quertero, is in Blackfoot for the summer teaching first graders in the program. She described her time here as "a wonderful experience." "This is something I can take back and share with my parents and family as well," she said.
Alvarez said the summer school students will be performing their end of year musical program next Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Ridge Crest Elementary School.