Department of Education Applauds 2022 Migrant Education Program Graduates

Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Executive Deputy Secretary Dr. Deb Carrera provided remarks and congratulated 224 Pennsylvania students for earning a high school diploma or Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma during the 2022 Migrant Education Graduation Ceremony.

“I am grateful for the Pennsylvania Migrant Education Program, which breaks down barriers and supports our students in such a unique way. When students feel a sense of belonging, they can focus on education, they feel more secure, and they can open doors to their futures,” said Carrera. “To the graduating class of 2022, this is an incredible accomplishment, and something none of us can execute without support from others. We are so very proud of the hard work you have done, and now it is your turn to go out into the world and open more doors to your bright futures.”

Most of this year’s graduates are pursuing postsecondary studies, while others are immediately entering the workforce, including the military.

“Our families are so strong and face so many obstacles before they enter Pennsylvania, and seeing their children receive a quality education is one more obstacle. The Migrant Education Program eases those concerns and works with families to feel supported,” said PDE Migrant Education Program Director Carmen Medina. “I am so proud of the lifelong impact the Migrant Education Program makes. This graduation is a wonderful celebration of the achievements and growth these students and families have made.”

The ceremony took place at the PA Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg with the theme of this year’s ceremony being “It’s Your Future, Make it Count — Opening the Doors to Diversity, Equity, and Belonging.”

The Pennsylvania Migrant Education Program (PA-MEP) is a federally funded program that provides educational and social support to the children of migrant workers. Since its inception in 1966, the program has served more than 350,000 students from birth to age 22.

In creating the program, Congress and the nation acknowledged that these children had unique educational needs because of their mobile lifestyles, the short spans of instruction they received in the classroom, the discontinuity of instruction between states, and their lack of “belonging” to any one school. To lessen the impact of these specific variables, the Migrant Education Program was tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that migrant students:

  • Receive appropriate educational and support services that address their special needs in a coordinated and efficient manner;
  • Receive services that help reduce the educational disruptions and other problems that result from repeated moves;
  • Overcome the challenges of mobility, cultural and language barriers, social isolation, and other factors associated with a migratory life, to succeed in school, and to successfully transition to postsecondary education or employment;
  • Are not penalized by disparities among the states in curriculum, graduation requirements, and state academic content and student academic achievement standards;
  • Receive full and appropriate opportunities to meet state content and student performance standards that all children are expected to meet; and
  • Benefit from state and local systemic reform.

The mission of the program is to ensure that all migrant students achieve challenging academic standards and graduate with a high school diploma (or complete a GED), and upon graduation are prepared for responsible citizenship, further learning, and productive employment. To achieve that mission, PA-MEP provides after-school and summer programs, in-home programs and health and social support services, parental involvement, advocacy, and enrichment programs.