Stories

Teacher Adriana Beltran-Rodriguez helps fifth-grader Luwazu Manuel figure out fractions during a math class at Michael D. Fox Elementary School in Hartford, Conn., on March 1, 2022.

Paso a Paso, Hartford aims to recruit bilingual teachers directly from Puerto Rico

March 10, 2022

Prior to leaving Puerto Rico for Connecticut, Adriana Beltran-Rodriguez didn’t know anyone who had visited the state. “I saw that Hartford Public Schools had a recruitment program, and they were coming to Puerto Rico to do interviews,” said Beltran-Rodriguez. “I went and they liked me and I thought, ‘Now I know three people in Connecticut!’”…

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N.H. immigrants prosper inside English classes in wake of labor shortage

February 9, 2022

Gissela Yanez arrived pregnant from Peru in New Hampshire in 2020. She has a college degree and was a physical therapist back in Peru. But here she cleans houses. She found the job quickly, and she said it makes her feel disappointed in her abilities. She knows she can do more. Like many new immigrants,…

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Sabrina Lima, a first-year student at Tufts Medical School in Boston, on the school's campus on Jan 5, 2021.

Medical schools see record enrollment increase among Black students

January 28, 2022

Sabrina Lima said her mom, a nurse, inspired her to pursue a career as a doctor. “I’ve been on medical missionary trips with her, so seeing her in medicine — she’s this amazing woman,” she said. “I just love how she serves others, and I want to serve people in a similar way.” Lima, the…

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Jessica Potter, the principal of Center Woods Elementary School in Weare, says about 15% of her staff are absent on any given day, largely due to COVID.

With COVID staff absences, and subs in short supply, N.H. educators work overtime to keep school doors open

January 24, 2022

When Jessica Potter, the principal at Center Woods Elementary in Weare, N.H., planned for COVID-related absences this year, she and her staff booked every available substitute teacher months in advance. But last week, the school had twice as many staff absences as available substitute teachers. So, Potter shifted gears: She reassigned special education staff. Office…

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A portrait of Brighton High School nurse Lauren O'Malley-Singh, standing outside on her front lawn.

Forced to improvise COVID policies, school nurses are reaching a ‘breaking point’

January 12, 2022

Every morning before school, Lauren O’Malley-Singh’s heart races as she straps on an N95 mask. “I feel like I’m drowning,” said O’Malley-Singh, a nurse at Brighton High School in Boston. She’s drowning in coronavirus tests. She gives upwards of 40 rapid tests a day, isolating the students who test positive, calling their parents and finding…

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In Vermont, kids’ mental health is deteriorating after nearly two years of instability

January 10, 2022

Sara Lamie knows that if her daughter, Avah, has something to get off her chest, it’ll happen in the car after school: “Sometimes she’ll come right out and say, like, ‘Mom, [sigh] I had a rough day today.’” Sara asks Avah, who’s 11, if she wants to talk about it. If she does, she might…

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Teacher Kate McDermott plays an imitation game with a student at the New England Center for Children in Southborough, Mass.

A shortage of special education staff leaves many students without services they need

December 13, 2021

Sara Harold describes her son, Finn, as a vibrant 3-year-old. “He loves running, jumping, exploring how things work and the intricacies,” said Harold, as she watched him play with a set of magnetic blocks. “While he has very few words, he can make his presence known.” Finn’s mom does most of the talking for him right…

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Vermont first-graders Happiness Alex and Emily Xia display art and writing projects in which they imagined themselves with different kinds of animal teeth. Their class is an even mix of English learners and native English speakers.

Multilingualism is seen as an opportunity instead of a hurdle in Vermont district

November 30, 2021

In a first-grade classroom in Burlington, Vermont, Janelle Gendimenico guides her students through a lesson focusing on the importance of getting every word in a sentence, especially when you’re talking about animal teeth. “Show me with your fingers. What does the naked mole-rat’s teeth do?” Gendimenico asked the class. “They go back left and right,…

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Adrian Solis, a social studies teacher at Abbott Technical High School social, walks around the classroom during a Black and Latino history class as his students learn about demographics, economics and the history of slavery in Connecticut.

Black and Latino studies get a place in Connecticut classrooms

November 28, 2021

Brandon Rodriguez, a high school senior in Connecticut, is getting ready for his fourth-period Black and Latino history class. Rodriguez says he signed up for the course to learn more about his ancestry. “My parents were born in Ecuador, but I was born here,” Rodriguez said. “But it’s nice to learn a little bit more…

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Teacher Susan Blethen supports students Kingston Kirkland and Isra Aden in this classroom in Burlington, Vermont.

Multilingual liaisons are ‘cultural brokers’ for refugee students in this Vermont school district

November 17, 2021

In an office at Burlington High School, just off Lake Champlain in northern Vermont, Chacha Ngunga made a phone call. “Jambo jambo,” he said, greeting a student’s father in their shared language, Swahili. Ngunga is a multilingual liaison — one of 12 employed by the Burlington district. A few feet away, Noor Bulle, another liaison,…

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