Migrant students in NYC schools adjust to a new reality through guidance.

P.S. Weekly is a student-generated podcast shedding light on significant matters within the nation’s largest school system. A team of 11 student producers from various public high schools at The Bell collaborate with NY’s reporters to provide exclusive stories, perspectives, and commentary.

The first installment of P.S. Weekly delves into one of the major education narratives in New York City this year: the influx of thousands of migrant students.

Reports suggest that over the last two years, more than 36,000 migrant students have registered in city schools.

What obstacles do these new students confront? How are schools addressing their needs? This student-led episode investigates these questions through dialogues with students, educators, and a journalist covering the topic.

The initial segment includes an interview with journalist Michael Elsen-Rooney, describing how schools support recently arrived students and addressing media misconceptions. With the city’s recent policy limiting migrant families to 60 days in shelters, schools face challenges in providing aid. Elsen-Rooney noted that school officials are contemplating issues like: “Can we arrange transport for them, or should they relocate? And then, commence at a new school?”

Subsequently, Marisol Martin, a senior at Claremont International High School in the Bronx, shares her successes and struggles since her arrival from Mexico a few years ago. Engaged with Claremont’s Dream Squad program, which initiated in 2019 to assist immigrant students and undocumented youth and now operates in over two dozen schools, Martin feels more integrated into the community.

A high school student's poster affixed to a white brick wall.
A poster for the Dream Squad at Claremont International High School. (Jose Santana / P.S. Weekly)

Now serving as a Dream Squad leader, she advocates for enhanced school support in fostering student connectivity.

“What I would advise them is to socialize with others,” Martin expressed in Spanish. “When you’re isolated, introverted, and reluctant to communicate, you isolate yourself in your personal bubble and remain unaware of external occurrences.”

Lastly, former high school teacher Sunisa Nuonsy from International High School at Prospect Heights in Brooklyn discusses her transition to teaching immigrant students, the obstacles encountered, and guidance for educators, particularly those collaborating with migrant students who may have endured trauma. (Nuonsy currently pursues a doctorate in urban education at the CUNY Graduate Center and works as a project researcher for the CUNY Initiative on Emergent Bilinguals.)

A woman with medium hair wearing a blue and white blouse smiling for a portrait.
Sunisa Nuonsy(Image courtesy of Sunisa Nuonsy)

“Migrant students may easily withdraw or abandon school,” Nuonsy emphasized. “Therefore, you possess a remarkable opportunity to serve as a welcoming, affirming adult in their lives, demonstrating their value and presence.”

P.S. Weekly is accessible on prominent podcast platforms, such as Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Kindly share your thoughts in a review or via email. Inform us of your learnings or lingering queries for potential acknowledgment in forthcoming episodes.

P.S. Weekly is a joint venture between The Bell. Anticipate new releases every Wednesday this spring.

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