Scaling Up Guide Community Schools FAQs - Answers to your questions Coalition Publications - Inner Pages Use data to tell your community school story!

News Article

Serving the Immigrant Population in a New Political Environment




Culture of Health Series

In 2017, school administrators and partners across the country are uniting to serve undocumented immigrant students that face possible deportation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents due to their legal status. These challenges have also impacted the staff and students in many schools implementing the community schools strategy. According to Frederico Rios, Director of Northeast Learning Community and Immigrant Services at Communities In Schools of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, the new political environment has impacted the school climate negatively. The heightened concern of deportation and a large influx of Central American students has driven the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system to designate most of their Title III funds to provide for the social and emotional needs of their students. 
Many of the immigrant students in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area are coming from pressing circumstances such as fleeing persistent violence in their homeland, facing trauma from the journey, combating mental issues and facing legal issues.  
These problems, of course, show up in the classroom. Some of the students were treated as adults in their homeland and are trying to get acclimated to entering a classroom where they are asked to raise their hand and listen to authority. Students are also going through the court process where they are not able to access lawyers freely. While some students face a heightened fear of deportation, Immigration, and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents who are showing up in their communities while others are threatened by the possible repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
The possibility of building a wall creates fear and exacerbates latent trauma but, people fleeing from Central America still, believe coming to the US is better than staying in their homeland. 

Despite the massive amount of stress students are facing, Communities In Schools of Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s Immigrant Services program is helping students and families through a variety of methods which include:

- Communities in School Intake form and the Immigrant Services Program Assessment 

-Training staff to deal with mental health challenges using Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Training (TF CBT) and Structured Psychotherapy for Adolescents Responding to Chronic Stress (SPARCS) group treatment 

- Trauma Informed care training for case managers and site coordinators 

-Partnering with reputable legal service providers to both refer students to and offer free information seminars/events for students and families

-Utilizing national partnerships with other organizations to share resources and models 

-Trauma informed care training for case managers and site coordinators 

 The community schools strategy has the built in infrastructure to mitigate the impact of trauma. With community partners, schools offer strong academics, health, and social supports, and enrichment opportunities that all students need but often aren’t getting. 

"I'm working with families that resemble my own. The story of this country is that we are a country of immigrants. This is a really difficult time to do this work, but we're not going to stop doing this." - Frederico Rios, Director of Northeast Learning Community and Immigrant Services at Communities In Schools of Charlotte-Mecklenburg-


The Coalition for Community Schools is proud to provide our various partners and community school advocates resources to help alleviate the fears they're facing while serving the immigrant population. Thanks to our partner Communities in Schools for the resources below: 

• Connect Site Coordinators/Students with "Know Your Rights" Resources           ---

• Emmerson Collective Post Election Toolkit:  

• Educators for Fair Consideration:

• Resources that might help with school climate, stress, trauma, etc. 

a. Research Brief: Addressing Trauma in our Schools

b. Research Brief: Fostering Mental Health through ISS

c. Research Brief: Working with Unaccompanied Minors

d. Research Brief: Serving Special Populations: Insights on Working with Unaccompanied Minors and Undocumented Students

For more information about immigrant and refugee resources please visit the Coalition for Community Schools equity resources


4301 Connecticut Avenue, NW  |  Suite 100  |  Washington, DC 20008-2304   |   Tel. 202.822.8405 X111  |  Fax 202.872.4050  |  Email
©2019 Coalition for Community Schools at the Institute for Educational Leadership. All Rights Reserved.
About Community Schools   |    Policy   |    Results   |    Resources   |    Your Leadership Role   |    Media   |    About Us   |    Search   |    National Forums   |    Privacy Policy   |    Site Map