Hmong refugee students in two elementary schools: a descriptive case study





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In the summer of 2003, a refugee camp in Thailand housing approximately 15,500 Hmong people closed. With help from the United States Department of Refugees and Resettlement, some of the refugees resettled in a Midwestern state. Many of the new refugees joined relatives in St. Paul in an established Hmong community. The incoming school-age refugees were dispersed among three public schools with special programs for integrating and educating the new students. This descriptive, ethnographic case study utilized interviews and observations to explain what personnel in two elementary schools, with a long history of refugee students, did to prepare for new Hmong refugee students. Referenced literature included information on the history of refugees in the U.S. and histories of public school programs for refugees. The study utilized interviews of principals and teachers and observations of school facilities, along with the literature findings on what public schools can do when faced with the challenge of educating elementary school refugee students.

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