‘We Are Ready To Receive Them With Open Arms’: Fort Worth Schools Prepare To Receive New Influx Of Afghan Refugees

Facing the harsh reality of having to start over in a country they know little to nothing about, Afghan refugees continue to arrive in North Texas.

School officials in Fort Worth are prepared to welcome and help this new influx of refugee students. A small number of students from Afghanistan have already arrived in the district, and school officials expect more to arrive by the end of the year.

According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said last month that the U.S. expects to admit more than 50,000 Afghan refugees into the country following the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan.

Fort Worth school officials have been told Tarrant County can expect as many as 400 refugees from Afghanistan, with about a third of those being school-aged children. Not all of those students will necessarily end up in the Fort Worth school district.

Cloris Rangel, executive director of the district’s bilingual and ESL programs, addressed concerns of the possible space issues now that the district’s academy had moved to a new, smaller location, saying the district could move again in a few years if the academy outgrows its current location.

“We are ready to receive them with open arms,” Rangel said.

Most of the Afghan students who come to Fort Worth will begin at this International Newcomer Academy, a school for refugee students and others who have recently immigrated to the United States. Rangel said 11 Afghan students are already enrolled at the academy. Students typically spend a year or two years at the academy before moving on to another school in the district.

Despite several challenges, like having very large groups of students, or the language barrier, teachers at the academy and across the district are flexible and committed to giving students every chance to succeed.

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