Share This Page

District embraces educating refugees

| Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, 7:21 p.m.

DAYTON, Ohio — Dayton Public Schools is appealing for volunteers so that students who left troubled homelands can get some extra help.

The Dayton Daily News reports that the district has about 25 volunteer mentors but seeks more, with 105 student refugees eligible for help through a federally subsidized program.

Those who want to become mentors are provided training in teaching English as a second language and literacy. They also must take “Refugee 101,” a class provided by Catholic Social Services.

Twenty of the 105 refugees are from Iraq, and most others are from African nations. They fled wars and persecutions, and students have been out of school for long periods because of turmoil.

Regan Twite, a Belmont High School junior, said that until three years ago, his family was often on the move. From the Democratic Republic of Congo, the family stayed in a refugee camp and then spent 10 years in a Zambia resettlement program before landing in Dayton.

“Many kids come like in Regan's situation, where they missed school for a number of years,” said Teresa Troyer, the district's English as a second language coordinator. “So the faster they can get access to the content, the faster they can catch up academically.”

Volunteer mentor Melissa Bertolo works with Twite, helping him with English at his family's apartment.

“The amount of impact someone can have on someone's life is really important,” said Bertolo, citing the amount of progress students have made.

She heads the Welcome Dayton initiative to help the city be immigrant-friendly.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.