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Lafayette International HS News
Under the leadership of Buffalo Public School Superintendent Dr. Cash, Lafayette International Community High School has been serving Afghan refugees, among more than thirty other languages/cultures that represent all the multilingual learners and immigrant, refugee and Latino communities within the Buffalo, implementing a community school wrap-around family/student support coupled with the academic support model as a fully vetted Internationals Network for Public Schools [INPS] since 2016.
With more recent Afghan refugees arriving to WNY & Lafayette International as a result of the Taliban takeover, and many more coming as refugees via places like Turkey and Jordan, the school & community supports have been designed/implemented in a linguistically/culturally sensitive manner, but with the family values and ambitious educational and professional goals that embody the Afghan people in mind! Most recently, a partnership with Jewish Family Services of WNY and the Office of Parent and Family Engagement to facilitate weekly parent support groups in Dari, the Afghan language (as well is Tigrinya and Burmese) has been formed. "Raising Children in America" utilizes the Incredible Years curriculum to strengthen parents' behavioral management skills, improve children's social emotional competence, emotional regulation, and school readiness. The focus on the program is supporting New Americans dealing with the unique challenges of raising a child in a new country/culture.
Led and facilitated by Jill Gavin and her JFS colleagues, Salima Panahzada (pictured second from right, along with the other "Raising Children in America" facilitators) leads the Afghan families with classes run in Dari. This series is offered twice a week through January 2022 in the families’ native language. The program is run for the parents in a computer classroom at Lafayette Intl. HS while childcare takes place in the Lafayette Parent Center.
Additionally, the Lafayette International Community Schools program, run in collaboration with Say Yes, offers a variety of classes designed to offer Afghan and other students an opportunity to have fun and learn practical skills. Newly arrived Afghan students come to the Lafayette campus on Saturdays and participate in everything from boat building to 3D printer and glasses training, soccer for boys and girls, ENL and exam review classes, Shark Tank business/entrepreneurial courses/competitions and more.
The Afghan arrivals, both adults and those eligible students, are also looking for employment and housing opportunities/assistance. Afghan students participate in the Lafayette International Wegmans pipeline program, with some of them presently employed by Wegmans supermarkets. Adult Education classes are offered through the BPS Adult Ed. Dept. and offer both English and a job training/placement course. Donations for winter clothing are collected and disseminated regularly as well, and in true, humble Afghan tradition, the students/families are so appreciative of any support and always willing to lend a helping hand to others and to help these programs run as well.
In the other picture, Lafayette International Principal John Starkey stands with his Afghan students, some of whom arrived directly from Afghanistan in recent weeks, as the “Lafayette Afghan Kids Club” recognized one of their own, 9th grader Sirin Alkathami (standing to the right of Principal Starkey), for her academic excellence as a recipient of the “BPS Jesse Ketchum” award. Principal Starkey said to his Afghan students at this event, “…we know that you have faced a lot, and our prayers and positive energy is with your families back home, but we also want you to feel supported and show our warm welcome to you and your families to America and Buffalo, NY. We hope you feel this is your 2nd home; we are happy you made it here!”