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Helping Migrant Children Succeed

If you’ve ever changed schools as a child, you know how hard it can be. Different teachers and curriculum. Different academic achievement standards. Different graduation requirements. Plus the challenge of making new friends and fitting into a different social environment.

The issues are compounded for seasonal farm worker families, particularly those who call California home. In addition to gaps in their education caused by the disruption of moving, many migrant students have limited English language proficiency skills, which sometimes results in low academic performance and increased dropout rates. Often, their parents do not speak English and are unfamiliar with the educational system. Additionally, many migrant students have limited access to the Internet, which puts them at an even greater disadvantage when compared to students who have 24/7 access to their educational resources.

With this in mind, Qualcomm’s Wireless Reach initiative is collaborating with One Economy, Cricket Communications, Google and Computers 2 SD Kids to provide refurbished computers and free mobile Internet access to 220 migrant families.

Working with the San Diego County Office of Education’s (SDCOE) Migrant Education program, a federally funded initiative authorized through the No Child Left Behind Act that provides academic support services through local school districts, this project leverages mobile broadband to enable digital equity in ways that go beyond individual students — providing entire families with the ability to access online resources, previously only available to them during limited hours at school or public libraries.

Students can now use the Internet to conduct research for school assignments; access school-related tools on SDCOE’s Cloudconnect.net, a secure student and teacher portal; apply for summer jobs and submit college and scholarship applications.

The Migrant Education program is also helping parents. Parents are learning to use the Internet to follow their child’s academic success; find health care; access finance and affordable housing information; and obtain English language learning materials and other educational resources.

As a child of migrant workers, and the first in my family to attend school in the United States, I understand the challenges, fears and misconceptions first-generation students face as they navigate the educational system. In fact, my younger sister wouldn’t be in college today if not for SDCOE’s Migrant Education program. Migrant Ed staff worked side by side with her to make sure she completed all of her college and financial aid applications correctly. This first-hand knowledge makes me proud to participate in a project that positively effects migrant students’ learning experiences.

This project is one way Qualcomm’s Wireless Reach initiative is helping children of migrant families have a better chance of becoming successful. We believe that access to wireless technology can improve people’s lives, and we’re committed to exploring how mobile broadband can help close the digital gap in education and help level the playing field for all students.

To learn more about this project and our Wireless Reach initiative click here.

Edith Saldivar is staff analyst for government affairs and assists in the management of Qualcomm’s Wireless Reach initiatives in Europe, Latin America, North Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and the United States, with a special focus on K-12 education in the U.S.

Link to Press Release: http://www.qualcomm.com/news/releases/2011/05/24/one-economy-cricket-com...

Link to Video: http://www.youtube.com/user/QUALCOMMVlog#p/u/24/FtLTOCoJ0cE

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