NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — When migrant workers come to states, like North Dakota, to work, a lot of times they bring their families too.

Migrant students are at risk of falling behind in school due to the frequent moving that their family does.

This is where the Migrant Education Program comes in.

“Kids are here for a full day. From 8 o’clock to about 3:25. They’re served breakfast, lunch, and a snack. It’s a Title 1 program so we focus on small group instruction: reading, writing, math,” said Amanda Fuller, the migrant school coordinator for Manvel Public School and the PASS migrant school teacher.

Nearly 50 years ago, there were nine schools in our state offering migrant summer school programs, and now there are only two in Grafton and Manvel.

The program is for students K-12, and teaches supplemental school help to children up to 21-years-old, through a seven-week in-person and a two-week extended program.

“Nationwide there are regular year programs and summer programs. In North Dakota, we only have a summer program. Obviously because of our growing season being, with winter, very short in comparison to other states. So we just have a summer program,” said Judy Gries, the North Dakota migrant education program administrator.

Last year, there were 215 students enrolled in the migrant summer school program. This year, there are 228.

“I would say we’ve been growing since I’ve been here, I know it’s grown,” said Gries.

Fuller says this program is important for students to be able to stay on track with their schooling.

“A lot of those kids lose education. They fall behind traveling and just their culture and moving like that, some of them really struggle with the reading. And the language barrier can be another one. A lot of our kids from Mexico speak Spanish. It takes a while for them to understand both languages. The older ones do pretty well, but it can be hard for the younger ones,” said Fuller.

Both Gries and Fuller say they have returning students, new students, and students who come from generations of migrant workers who attend the program.

One of the resources used in the summer program is MigrantLiteracyNet, which is a free online tool that can teach literacy skills to children, whether they’re migrants or not.

Another website used in the migrant summer program is a high school credit accrual designed for students in the Migrant Education Program (MEP) called Portable Assisted Study Sequence, or PASS.