Supporting Students From Immigrant Families

Immigration has been a polarizing topic for years, but the current administration’s stated goals to deport millions of undocumented immigrants, build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and end DACA have elevated the issue. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has already increased its activity in many parts of the country. As a result, many immigrant students and their families (documented and not) are experiencing anxiety and fear about their futures. 

Educators who work with immigrant communities want to know how to best support students and their families. We created this web package to supply the types of resources educators have told us they need. We’ll continue to make updates, knowing that immigration policies and practices in the United States—and the corresponding needs in schools—are changing swiftly.

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English Language Learners

Best Practices for Serving English Language Learners and Their Families 

With sections centered on instruction, classroom culture, policies, and family and community engagement, this guide is packed with recommendations that can be applied across the school building.

Teaching Tolerance: PD Café 

Take a quiz, review some vocabulary and deepen your knowledge about serving ELL students with this brief professional development resource.

Colorín Colorado 

Educators and families of English language learners can learn a lot from this collection of information, including bilingual FAQs about serving and supporting immigrant students.

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Safe Zones and ICE Raids

Teaching Tolerance: This Is Not a Drill

Educators across the country are taking action when ICE raids happen in their communities. Here’s how you can stand with undocumented students and families—whether or not you live in a vulnerable community.


Ask TT

This installment of Teaching Tolerance magazine’s advice column addresses the risk of school trips for students and volunteer relatives from immigrant families; keep these considerations in mind when planning trips, whether domestic or international.


Teaching Tolerance: What’s a Sanctuary City Anyway?

Get answers to several commonly asked questions about sanctuary cities and how they are responding to recent executive orders on immigration.


American Federation of Teachers: Guide for Educators and School Support Staff 

Learn about the AFT’s position on immigration reform, and review several model resources schools can use to publicly call for immigration reform and to uphold the rights of immigrant students.


American Federation of Teachers: Immigration ICE Raids

There’s lots to absorb from this curated package of resources focused on helping families protect themselves during ICE raids and on helping educators speak out against unjust immigration laws and practices.


National Education Association: Safe Zone Sample Board Resolutions

Use these documents as templates or as guidance to create inclusive and strong resolutions advocating for immigrant students in your district.


American Federation of Teachers: Know Your Rights (bilingual)

This set of handouts—designed for use by immigrant students and their families—offers specific advice for how to avoid, prepare for and respond during an ICE raid. The handouts are available in both English and Spanish.


American Civil Liberties Union: Immigrants’ Rights 

Use and share these detailed Know Your Rights resources grouped by theme and content type.


Association of California School Administrators: Student, Staff and Parent Rights (bilingual) 

Get a quick summary of facts about the rights of undocumented students and their families. The resources are available in both English and Spanish.

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Classroom Resources

Teaching Tolerance: The School-to-Deportation Pipeline

As immigration enforcement becomes more aggressive, schools have become increasingly risky places for undocumented students.


Teaching Tolerance: Changing Demographics, Changing Identity, Changing Attitudes

Teach this four-lesson series about how the United States’ identity has changed and will continue to change. The lessons are organized by the four domains of the Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards: Identity, Diversity, Justice and Action. 


Teaching Tolerance: Viva La Causa Film Kit and User Guide

Students love this 40-minute documentary about César Chávez and the movement for worker and immigrant rights. The free film comes with a user guide that includes lessons on the immigration debate.


Teaching Tolerance: America by the Numbers

Leverage the power of data with six lessons based on the PBS documentary series about changing demographics across the United States.


Teaching Tolerance: Who Is An Immigrant?

Read “Julia Moves to the United States” with students, and then have them write pen-pal letters and create cereal-box suitcases to explore identity.


Teaching Tolerance: Ten Myths About Immigration

Debunk commonly held myths about immigration with this Teaching Tolerance feature story; the accompanying lesson helps students consider how stereotypes begin and why people perpetuate myths.


Teaching Tolerance: Immigration Myths

Use this classroom activity to build your students’ awareness of common myths about immigrants and how they can use facts to debunk these myths.


Share My Lesson: Immigration Collection

Educate your students about immigration and create inclusive school communities that address the social, emotional and health needs of young people.


Teaching Tolerance: Using Photographs to Teach Social Justice: Exposing Anti-Immigrant Sentiment

Use this lesson with students to help them draw independent conclusions about what motivates anti-immigrant sentiment.

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School Climate

Teaching Tolerance: If It Can Happen Here... 

This California school district hosted a “Teach In” as a response to the anti-immigration rhetoric teachers heard in their classrooms during the 2016 presidential campaign.


American Federation of Teachers: DREAMers Welcome Poster

Hang this colorful poster in your classroom, and let students know that everyone belongs in your school community.


Teaching Tolerance: School Climate Resources

Read and share these tools, protocols and practical suggestions for making your school more open and welcoming to all students.

Teaching Tolerance collage of images

Welcome to Learning for Justice—Formerly Teaching Tolerance!

Our work has evolved in the last 30 years, from reducing prejudice to tackling systemic injustice. So we’ve chosen a new name that better reflects that evolution: Learning for Justice.

Learn More