Refugee School Impact Program—Full Resource List


School’s Out Washington has worked to provide a set of resources specific to Refugee School Impact Project (RSIP) outcomes. Resources include print, media, and web-based materials.

An Orientation Resource to Support Youth with School and Cultural Adjustment (PDF) – This is intended to help educators and program providers orientate students to the U.S. school system and support their cultural adjustment, offering multiple resources for each topic area.

A Resource Toolkit that Helps Newcomer Parents Navigate the U.S. School System (PDF) – This toolkit is intended to help educators and providers orientate and equip families with information to navigate the school system and to increase school integration and engagement. The toolkit offers multiple resources for each topic area, along with tips and suggestions for designing and implementing family orientations.

Starting Again: Stories of Refugee Youth (Video) – School’s Out Washington partnered with documentary filmmaker Jill Freidberg of Corrugated Films to produce Starting Again: Stories of Refugee Youth, a film chronicling the lives of refugee youth in Washington State. The film highlights four youth from Bhutan, Burma, Russia, and Somalia.

Memories and Dreams Manual (PDF) – Memories and Dreams, created by Merit Partners for Refugee School Impact, is a manual aimed at helping refugee students and their families bridge the gap between past and present. At the same time, this manual is geared to help students fulfill two of their Washington State graduation requirements: the Culminating Project and the High School and Beyond Plan. It is a process-oriented manual, meant to help form connections with the past, present, and future.

Cultural Profiles (PDF) – These cultural profiles were created by the Non-Profit Assistance Center for Refugee School Impact. The purpose of these 19 refugee profiles are to inform and educate readers regarding the culture, history, geo-political context, situation of displacement and common education/literacy levels of refugees from each country. The purpose of this project is to document common experiences based on the country of origin.

Parent Handbook (PDF) – This colorful handbook for parents and students of Tukwila School District was created by the IRC Seattle. With clear pictures, fun graphics and simple text, this handbook aims to welcome families into Tukwila School District while conveying the rules for students and the expectations for families. This book is a great example of a welcome process for your school!

English Language Learners and Language of Mathematics Manual (PDF) – This manual, developed by the Committee on the Language of Mathematics for ELLS and funded by the Refugee School Impact Program, compares the language of mathematics to that of informal English and then dives into the ways in which ELL students acquire English as their second language. This manual is designed to introduce teachers to the ways in which they can facilitate the learning process for their ELLs through pronunciation and translation of mathematical statements.

Cultural Profiles and Case Studies

Background Notes – These publications include facts about the land, people, history, government, political conditions, economy, and foreign relations of independent states, some dependencies, and areas of special sovereignty. The Background Notes are updated and revised by the Office of Electronic Information and Publications of the Bureau of Public Affairs as they are received from the Department’s regional bureaus.

Backgrounders – The Cultural Orientation Resource Center backgrounders provide key information about new refugee groups for U.S. resettlement workers. Backgrounders include sections on the need for resettlement of the group to the United States, cultural attributes of the group, resettlement considerations, as well as a one page statistical summary.

Cultural Profiles from SOWA – This resource by the Nonprofit Assistance Center for School’s Out Washington and ORIA provides materials around background and resettlement for refugees from Bhutan, Burma, Burundi, Cuba, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Liberia, Somalia, Somali Bantu, Sudan, Former USSR, Vietnam, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Moldova, and the Ukraine.

Refugee Populations –The COR Center develops and hosts numerous resources designed to inform community members and service providers about a variety of refugee populations. The development of these resources is based upon input from refugees themselves, scholars, and service providers. These resources are arranged by the refugee population. We strongly recommend that you view the videos posted here, showing refugees from particular ethnic or age groups speaking about their own experiences with resettlement.

Ethnomed – Cultural profiles with focus on health needs for Cambodian, Chin, Eritrean, Ethiopian, Hmong, Iraqi, Karen, Nepali-speaking Bhutanese, Oromo, Somali, Somali Bantu.

International Rescue Committee Children and Youth Backgrounders – ‘This resource is for teachers who have refugee students in their classes. The packet provides teachers with an introduction to refugees in the United States, background information on students’ home countries, tips for engaging youth and parents, and web resources concerning education, language, and culture’ – description from BRYCS.

Includes Backgrounders for Burmese Karen, Congolese, Eritrean, Ethiopian, Liberian, Meskhetian Turks, Somali Bantu and Sudanese Dinka.

Includes Web Resources for education, psychosocial, resettlement, Burmese Karen, D.R. Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Liberia, Meskhetian Turks, Somali Bantu, and Sudan.

ELL Students & Language Training

National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition. The National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition (NCELA) collects, analyzes, synthesizes and disseminates information about language instruction educational programs for English language learners and related programs. It is funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition, Language Enhancement & Academic Achievement for Limited English Proficient Students (OELA) under Title III of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001.

Newcomer Centers & Resources

How to Support Refugee Students in the ELL Classroom – This extensive guide from Colorín Colorado (2008) addresses the challenges faced by refugee students, provides strategies for supporting refugee students, and links the reader to a myriad of refugee serving programs and websites through the United States.

Partnering with Parents and Families to Support Immigrant and Refugee Children at School – This brief looks at different programs which seek to engage and support families of immigrant and refugee students, specifically around the issue of mental health. They look at different approaches to supporting families in their mental health needs from offering school-based mental health services to different approaches and strategies for partnering.

Tukwila School District Parent Handbook – With funding from the Refugee School Impact Grant and in collaboration with Tukwila School District, International Rescue Committee Seattle created this handbook with photos and illustrations to orient newcomer families to their local schools. Available in targeted refugee languages.

Online Resource Centers

BRYCS: Bridging Refugee Youth and Children’s Services – Bridging Refugee Youth and Children’s Services (BRYCS) is a national technical assistance program addressing challenges which refugee youth and children face in adjusting to life in the United States. Their fundamental purpose is to broaden the scope of information and increase collaboration among service providers for refugee youth, children and families.

Cultural Orientation Resource (COR) Center – Funded by the U.S. Department of State, the COR Center supports overseas cultural orientation (CO) trainers in a variety of ways. For refugee service providers in the United States, the COR Center publishes culture profiles or backgrounders on newly arriving refugee groups, provides the Welcome to the United States guidebook, coordinates a two-week secondment of domestic resettlement professionals to observe CO and processing at various Overseas Processing Entities, and maintains the Cultural Orientation website. The COR Center also manages the Refugee Discussion listserv, a forum for the exchange of orientation information, ideas, and materials.

Professional Development and Teacher Preparation

Children of War – Members of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, with funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, produced this film to bring the stories of refugee children to educators. Its purpose is to help educators better understand the refugee children in their classrooms and schools. Equipped with a study guide.

The New Americans – This movie traces the journeys of several immigrants and refugees in a profound and moving way. A group of filmmakers followed refugees and immigrants from Nigeria, Palestine, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and India as they made new homes in the United States. This resource includes lesson plans, community engagement materials, a discussion guide, and activity kit.

Teaching Refugees with Limited Formal Schooling – This Canadian resource page offers links to different topic areas around teaching refugees with limited formal schooling.

Refugee Health

Cross Cultural Health Care Program (CCHCP) in Seattle, WA – Addresses the broad cultural issues that influence the health of individuals and families living in ethnic minority communities throughout the United States. The Seattle, Washington-based Cross Cultural Health Care Program (CCHCP), established in 1992, serves as a bridge between communities and health care institutions to ensure full access to culturally and linguistically appropriate quality health care. The Web site provides information on a number of CCHCP’s programs, including cultural competency and interpreter training, community coalition-building activities, research projects, and other services.

National Child Traumatic Stress Network – National Child Traumatic Stress Network works to identify and develop interventions that are effective for addressing trauma in refugee children, youth, and their families.

Refugee Health Technical Assistance Center Providing technical assistance and support on refugee mental health for providers in the US.

Resources in Washington State

Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance – The Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance (within Washington State’s Department of Social and Health Services) provides services and programs to help refugee and immigrant families and individuals succeed and thrive in Washington.

Lutheran Community Services Unaccompanied Minors Program – Lutheran Community Services serves children and youth from all over the world that come to the United States without families. These refugee children are placed in long-term foster care homes found through LCSNW’s partners.

WA State Office of the Education Ombudsman (OEO) – The OEO functions independently from the public school system and works to mediate conflicts and disputes between families and public schools in Washington State. In addition to advocacy for students and families, OEO provides several publications to help families know their rights and these are translated into seven target languages.