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Teachers learn how to better support new students from refugee experiences

Five students originally from other countries share advice to teachers across Colorado
Posted at 5:43 PM, Nov 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-17 08:13:42-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — Teachers from across the state learned how to better support students who move here from other countries.

Five students originally from other countries shared their experiences moving to Harrison School District 2 on Thursday.

One Harrison High School junior moved to the Springs from Afghanistan last year.

"It was weird, it was difficult because you could not speak, you don't know the language and culture," said Fatima Mohibi.

She spoke about what her teachers could have done to make it an easier transition. "They should be a little bit more patient, sometimes you're feeling so sad because you're missing your country, your family."

Another junior came to Colorado Springs six years ago from the Central African Republic. He thanked his teachers for being patient with him as he learned English.

"Even though I was frustrated, sometimes I got mad at you, I want to thank you so much, you are a delightful teacher, I love you so much," said Animer Moussa.

He's proud he can tell his story to teachers who want to make a difference. "It makes me feel good because they're trying to help the next generation that is going to come to the U.S. for the better."

And their teachers are proud of them.

"It makes me so emotional to see my beautiful scholars up there in front of so many people," said Harrison High School teacher Audriana Alvarado.

Nearly 115 students have moved into the district from other countries so far this year, said D2 officials.

"We're getting an email about once a week with newcomer information whether it's a student coming from another country [or] a student who is transferring to our district," said Alvarado.

Teachers learned better ways to communicate with students who may not know English and help them understand subjects in different ways.

"You have to be willing to make the effort and go out of your way to support all of our students so that they know they're capable," said Alvarado.

"So be patient, be patient, be patient and be patient," said Moussa.

"This year I'm happy, my family, everybody because we know what we're doing but next year will be better," said Mohibi.

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