P.S. 16 shares how it has adapted to influx of migrant students
New York City public schools have welcomed over 5,500 new students from families seeking asylum this year, and one local school spoke with News 12 on how they have adapted.
P.S. 16 in the Bronx has welcomed over 30 new students who reside in temporary housing or are from families seeking asylum, according to the city’s Department of Education. Although the school doesn’t track asylum seeking status or country of origin of the students, principal Latanya Gray says her school has experienced new changes this year.
“Our ESL population, that's students that speak a second language at home… we asked for an additional teacher, we were able to get that funded very quickly and we were also able to get transportation for students,” said Gray.
The pre-K to fifth grade school now has over 300 students in the building with just a few Spanish-speaking teachers available, but Gray says the language barrier hasn’t broken apart the community.
“We’re a community that pitches in with everybody,” said Gray. “We give space for children to share out in their own native language - and for any small words that we may have missed, we ask, 'Does anybody know what that word means' and the children are more than happy to pitch in."
Gray says that the influx of students did not paralyze or overwhelm her school, thanks to having the space for additional kids.
"We're just a community like a melting pot, just like New York City is,” said Gray. “So, we just work together, and we make it work."