Ricardo Flores Magon Academy (RFMA), a K-8 charter public school in Denver, stands as a beacon of hope and support for newcomer students and their families. RFMA serves just over 250 students, with service to minority and multilingual students far outpacing state averages. RFMA is currently serving approximately 14 newcomers this year (though the figure fluctuates due to the dynamic nature of the community) and has specifically seen an uptick in newcomers from Venezuela. Amidst the challenges of integration, RFMA’s efforts underscore a deep commitment to creating an inclusive and supportive environment for all students.

“The thing I would point to is that our community protects each other. They’re our families. If we have to call lawyers, we do that. If we’ve got to find food banks, we do that. If it’s a conflict within the community… we deal with it as a community, and I think that’s really our strength.”

RFMA’s approach is notably multifaceted, addressing not only the academic but also the emotional and practical needs of newcomer families. From providing mini orientations to help families acclimate to the U.S. educational system, to directly assisting with housing, food insecurity, and legal services, the school’s staff and community go above and beyond.

“We want our kids to be safe in the school. We want them to learn, but more than anything, we just need them to be somewhere safe because it’s been a long time since they’ve been anywhere safe.”

The school faces challenges head-on, including language barriers and trauma, with more than half of the staff being bilingual and employing trauma-informed practices. These efforts are complemented by strong community engagement and partnerships with local organizations, further amplifying the support network for families.

“What I’ve noticed in the past month or so is the [families] who are more settled in are really highly involved in their kids’ education… I’ve found that they’ve been very involved once the basic necessities are more readily available.”

Zachary Dominello & Marc Lytle

School Staff, Ricardo Flores Magón Academy

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