How one West Michigan school district is closing reading gaps for poor, Hispanic students

Publication date: Jul 1, 2015

By Pat Shellenbarger, June 30, 2015.

When it came time to enroll their daughter in kindergarten, Jose and Maria Garcia knew she faced a tremendous challenge. Neither she nor they spoke a word of English.

Yet they were determined she would get the best education available so she could have a life better than theirs. It was why they had come to Holland, Mich., from Mexico, and why they toiled at low-paying migrant jobs, moving with the seasons to follow the work.

As summer moved into autumn, Jose Garcia had no idea which school his daughter, Yessica, should attend, so he did what seemed most logical: He put the little girl in his car and followed a school bus that pulled into the migrant camp, a collection of stark apartment buildings surrounded by Ottawa County farmland.

Everytime the bus stopped to pick up more children, Jose Garcia’s car stopped behind it. After a while, the bus driver became suspicious and finally confronted Garcia. Despite a language barrier, he was eventually able to persuade the driver his intentions were honorable. He simply wanted to enroll Yessica in kindergarten.

Read the full article in Bridge Magazine.

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