County Director of Henrico, an Immigrant Himself, Seeks to Provide a Welcoming and Safe Environment for His Fellow Immigrants | Education


While a program was in place before the pandemic, Ramirez said a more robust program is currently being developed. The cohorts will learn how the justice system, recreation and parks, public services, social services and other county departments work and educate their community about the services.

For many immigrant families in Henrico, the HCPS Reception Center is their first introduction to their new home.

On their first visit, the family goes through the school system registration process and learns what the American school is like, what the expectations are, including the code of conduct, and whether to request a free lunch, said Sarah Modrak, a K-12 English as a Second Language [ESL] education specialist for Henrico.

“This is our chance to really give families what they need to make them feel comfortable starting school,” Modrak said.

The center has two full-time Spanish speaking interpreters and has hired interpreters for a number of languages ​​and a telephone interpretation service which has over 200 interpreters for families who come to the reception center.

More than 3,000 students in Henrico County are English learners who represent more than 100 countries and speak more than 80 languages, according to the school system’s website.

The center is seeing a growing number of English learners, although more concrete figures are not available until the end of the month, Modrak said.


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