Dumas ISD makes progress with refugees

The Dumas Independent School District was hit hard in 2006 when refugees first began arriving in large numbers to work at the Swift Plant in Cactus.

The language barrier was a profound problem, but as time passed, both the District and the families learned to adapt

Part of the solution was the focus on the kids.

Wahney Sey is of the Karen tribe from Burma. She says when she first came to America five years ago she didnâ??t know English. Now sheâ??s taking ESL classes at Dumas Junior High and her teachers are proud of her and her fellow students.

ESL teacher Gayla Cox says, "From when they came in knowing no English and scared, and they didnâ??t understand us and we didnâ??t understand them. But theyâ??ve come so far."

Saw Brindley is of Burmese descent. Heâ??s a translator at the school. He says heâ??s had to educate the refugee community. "They do not understand that children must be in school. So we have to knock on their doors and tell them to enroll their children in school."

Stan Corbin, a Baptist Minister for refugees says he wishes they had more preparation before they come to the states.

But in a few years, having the community come together and placing an emphasis on children, Dumas ISD says great progress has been made.

Kurt Baxter, the Principal at Dumas Junior High says, "Because our entire community has high expectations for everybody here, people who live here, they want to them to be successful. They want everyone to contribute to the community in a positive way."