Many have seen the NBC News piece that aired over the weekend about the large number of immigrants and refugees the City of Erie brings in. Many of those familys children attend school in the Erie School District, which are making up a large portion of the population.

There are about 1,100 immigrant students currently in the Erie School District. 900 of those students are refugees. The school district has around 11,000 total students, these immigrants now make up around 10% of the district's population.

Catherine Doyle, who teaches English as a second language at East High School tells us it can be very challenging at times. These students come from 30 different countries and speak roughly 14 different languages. The main languages spoken are, Arabic, Swahili, Somali, Spanish, and several other tribal languages. 

The students take ESL courses in english, math and social studies which are less intense and slower paced. The students do mingle with the others in elective style courses such as art and music.

Doyle says that other teachers have come to her for help even asking about certain students english skills. She says enjoys what she does but it definitely comes with challenges.

“It is challenging when they do come in because in a classroom so many different languages are represented, it’s hard to isolate one specific language,” said ESL Teacher, Catherine Doyle.

“With the numbers we are getting, to cut any money would be detrimental to the welfare of those students coming in,” Doyle added.

Erie news now reached out to the district about how much it costs to educate an immigrant student, they were unable to provide that information.