Stephen Rice

ELL teachers supported Afghan family’s children educationally, culturally, and personally

Over the past year, I had the privilege of serving on an Afghanistan refugee cosponsorship team composed mostly of members of three local United Church of Christ congregations. Our team supported a family of refugees, which consisted of two parents and, until a recent joyful addition, three children.

There were countless ways that our community inspired us with the welcome they extended to the family. I want to speak specifically about the area I helped facilitate — education.

Our family’s children were warmly welcomed by school representatives from the outset, and they and their parents were treated with compassion and dignity.

The English Language Learners (ELL) teachers were the first and most constant connections between the family and the schools. From the initial encounter, an intake interview, I was struck by the high degree of preparation and care these teachers showed. Deb Coombs, Jen Course, and Rachel Scarano were remarkably ready for the large influx of ELL students created by our community’s resettlement of refugees.

Read More