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Portrait of Anna Liuzzo in her school classroom.

Published February 6, 2018

Understanding the global within the local:

Educational policy and programmatic supports for displaced youth

Melinda Lemke, assistant professor from the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy, is the primary investigator on a study that will examine how school staff leverage policy and/or programming supports to address the social and emotional well-being of displaced students in Western New York schools.  Amanda Nickerson, professor from the Department of Counseling, School and Educational Psychology, is the study co-investigator. The collaboration is part of the UB Graduate School of Education Faculty in Residence Program and is supported through the Community for Global Health Equity.

Displacement, or forced movement, can occur across and within national borders for numerous reasons including economic necessity, gender-based violence, natural disasters or political upheaval.  While research has examined displacement policies and their implications around the globe, limited research has been done on the belief systems that shape these policies and how such policies affect U.S. school systems and teaching practice.

“Given the size of Western New York’s refugee population and the recent influx of U.S. citizens from hurricane devastated Puerto Rico,” said Lemke, “it becomes all the more vital that we understand those policies and programs that support school personnel capacity to address the often very difficult life circumstances of displaced students.”

The goals of this study include identifying and developing research-driven resources for school staff and other school partners. “Our study aims to broker sustainable academic and practitioner collaboration,” said Lemke, “and assist, where requested by the research site, in programmatic development that will have transformative impact for displaced students in Western New York schools.”    

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