2024 Migratory Family and Student Conference set to have high attendance

25 de Marzo de 2024 a las 06:00 ·

Boy reading against sunset
The Nebraska Migrant Education Program is meant to help provide support for students from migrant families--those who regularly move for temporary and/or seasonal work. Their educations are often disrupted by this economic necessity. (Photo by Aaron Burden/Unsplash)

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The 2024 Migratory Family and Student Conference, hosted through the Nebraska Migrant Education Program, is set to have one of the highest attendances in its four-year history. This year’s meeting will be virtual, which will help with accessibility for migrant families and students statewide, organizers said.

This conference is meant to offer support and resources to families and students whose education is disrupted by travel for seasonal and/or temporary agricultural work. It takes place once a year for migratory students and their families statewide to have the opportunity to network, learn about resources and be recognized for their work.

Veronica Estevez works for the Title 1C Migrant Education Program as the quality control and parent engagement coordinator. She said she wants families to know they have a support system.

“And just feel like they can connect and they can network with other parents and see that they're not the only ones in just one region, that there are other parents throughout the whole state, that they might be going through the same as they are,” Estevez said.

Estevez said each year, the conference has grown, starting the first year, 2019, with not very many attendees. The next year’s conference was held virtually with about 200 attendees. The following year was held in Lexington with nearly 400 people attending. She expects this year to be the same, if not more attendance.

An advisory board of migratory parents chose this year’s theme of Family and Community: Building A Future Together. The keynote speech, by the North Carolina migrant education program’s Heriberto Corral, will be in Spanish and English. Five scholarships will be awarded to migrant students during the conference.

“It's just one more tool to help level the playing field for these kids that just, you know, due to economic necessity, they've just got a real tough situation,” said Benjamin Zink, the state director for the Nebraska Migrant Education Program.

Last year, the Nebraska Migrant Education Program identified 4,502 migratory children. The program serves children and youth through high school graduation. Zink said 90% of these students travel to Nebraska from other U.S. states, while about 10% travel from outside the country.

Registration for the free conference ends March 28th.