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Teen Response


More than 2,500 refugees have settled in Cleveland since 2008. During the 2018 academic year, over 230 refugees were enrolled in Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) high schools. Many of these high school refugee students have experienced trauma and have received sporadic or incomplete formal education in their home countries. In addition to facing significant academic challenges, high school refugee students also face emotional, psychological, socioeconomic, and cultural obstacles that make transitioning into an American high school particularly difficult.

Teen Response is an innovative pilot project whose goal is to support resettled high school students as they define and pursue pathways towards educational and career goals.

This after school program currently serves 30 students in CMSD’s John Marshall High School, delivering personal and academic support to students who have dealt with a wide range of traumatic circumstances, inconsistent education, and other emotional and socio-economic obstacles. Teen Response seeks to educate these newcomer youth and their families on key milestones towards successful high school graduation, while providing exposure to a range of educational and career paths for their future. Teen Response challenges students to explore their interests and aspirations, interface with professionals and employers, and gain greater awareness of resources for charting their own journey forward. The program also includes parental engagement and outreach. Teen Response is the first program to directly address the unique needs of CMSD high school students and families who have experienced refugee resettlement. This project is supported by the JoAnn and Robert Glick Family Fund at the Cleveland Foundation, and in partnership with CMSD’s Multilingual Multicultural Education Office and the Cleveland State University Action Research Program.

You can make a world of difference.

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