Refugee School Impact Program
The Refugee School Impact Program fosters partnerships between community and schools to better serve refugee students.
Washington state is one of 41 states receiving RSI funds from the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). Funds are issued to Washington’s Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance (ORIA), which contracts with School’s Out Washington to administer the Refugee School Impact Program.
School’s Out Washington seeks to support local school systems impacted by significant numbers of refugee children and youth, ages five to 18, who have been in the country less than five years.
The Washington state Refugee School Impact Program focuses on the following goals:
- Ensuring refugee students’ academic support and successful school integration
- Strengthening the skills, knowledge, and competence of parents, schools and community-based organizations to support refugee students
School’s Out Washington’s RefugeeSchool Impact responsibilities include:
- Supporting district-community partnerships in the implementation of their RSI projects
- Providing technical assistance and training on program-related issues
- Offering district-community partnerships opportunities for training, professional development, and additional materials and/or resources to enhance RSI service delivery
General refugee resettlement trends and data for both the United States and Washington state are available online. National monthly refugee arrival data can be found on the Refugee Processing Center website. For information on Washington State’s ORIA, please contact Molly Daggett.
The United Nations (UN) defines a refugee as “a person who, owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of their nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail him/herself of the protection of that country.”
The Office of Refugee Resettlement defines “refugee children” as those who are eligible for refugee social services. This category includes:
- Cuban and Haitian entrants under section 501 of the Refugee Education Assistance Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96-422)
- Certain Amerasians from Vietnam who are admitted to the U.S. as immigrants under section 584 of the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, as included in the FY 1988 Continuing Resolution (Pub. L. 100-202)
- Certain Amerasians from Vietnam who are U.S. citizens under Title II of the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act of 1989 (Pub. L.100-461), 1990 (Pub. L.101-167), and 1991 (Pub. L 101-513)
- Victims of a severe form of trafficking who receive certification or eligibility letters from ORR and certain family members who have been programed derivative T visas (see 45 CFR 400.43 and ORR State Letters Number 01-13 as modified by State Letter Number 02-01 and Number 04-12 on trafficking victims)
- Children classified as Special Immigrant Juveniles (SIJs) receiving services from Office of Refugee Resettlement-funded Unaccompanied Refugee Minor programs
- Iraqi and Afghan children with Special Immigrant Visa (SIV)
For convenience, the term “refugee” is used to encompass all such eligible persons. All State Letters issued by the ORR are found in the Policy Guidance section of their website.
2020—2021 RSI Recipients
For 2020—2021, sub grants were awarded to 8 school districts. Districts are required to partner with at least one community-based organization. For more information about the specific district-community projects, please contact the district coordinators directly.
- Auburn School District—partnering with International Rescue Committee District Coordinator: Peter Lamb
- Everett School District—partnering with International Rescue Committee District Coordinator: Chad Golden
- Federal Way School District—partnering with International Rescue Committee District Coordinator: Maria Newton
- Highline School District—partnering with International Rescue Committee District Coordinator: Kristin Percy Calaff
- Kennewick School District—partnering with Family Learning Center District Coordinator: Sarah Del Toro
- Kent School District—partnering with Coalition for Refugees from Burma District Coordinator: Susie Whitlock
- Spokane School District—partnering with World Relief-Spokane District Coordinator: Heather Richardson
- Tukwila School District—partnering with International Rescue Committee District Coordinator: Stephanie Chen
Contact our Refugee School Impact Program Project Director, Pang Chang, at firstname.lastname@example.org