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Hoffman: Arizona teachers want to help immigrant students succeed

(Getty Images Photo/John Moore)

PHOENIX — Arizona’s top education official says the state wants to help students who recently immigrated to the U.S. succeed in school.

“What I am hearing from educators, especially closer to the border, is that they are seeing students, of course, that are new,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman told KTAR News 92.FM’s Bruce St. James & Pamela Hughes on her 100th day in office Wednesday.

“But they’re more concerned with the social-emotional well-being of these students, because these students have been through very traumatic experiences. Some of them have been held in detention centers, and that’s been one of their biggest concerns.”

Hoffman said teachers are focusing on helping all of their students do well in school, even if there are difficulties.

“Of course we’re also concerned with the fact that they are oftentimes coming in with little-to-no English skills, and that can drastically increase the workload of the teachers,” Hoffman said.

“But I think the teachers that I know … when children come in their room, they are children. It does not matter what their home language is; it does not matter what country they are coming from or their religion.”

Hoffman said the state should work on making sure teachers aren’t left feeling overwhelmed.

“As a state, we should be asking ourselves, how can we support these teachers to make sure they have the supports and resources they need?” Hoffman said.

“What does that English instruction look like? What do the social-emotional supports look like? Because the reality is that these kids are in our classrooms and we want to make sure they are supported.”

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