Briya was recently awarded a second Immigrant Justice Legal Services Grant from Mayor Bowser for the coming year! This grant allows Briya, in partnership with Julia M. Toro Law Firm, to continue providing students with free legal information, consultations, and representation. Briya held a know your rights presentation this September and was featured on NBC 4.
Briya Medical Assistant graduate, Maritza Villalta, had her DACA renewed through the grant and was interviewed by NBC about her story.
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Through the grant, Briya is able to offer students free individual legal consultations, on-site Know Your Rights fairs, and free legal representation.
“‘Our students have been coming to us, and many of our students are really fearful of what’s happening on the national level as far as immigration policies, and so this was a way of being able to help our students know what their rights are, and to provide direct services to families,’” Christie McKay, Briya’s executive director, says in the story.
“‘If our families are feeling like it’s not safe to come out of their homes, they won’t be able to come to school,’” she said.
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Briya is one of the eleven two-generation programs across the country that were analyzed by the Migration Policy Institute in a study titled “Serving Immigrant Families Through Two-Generation Programs: Identifying Family Needs and Responsive Program Approaches.”
“By addressing the needs of poor or low-income parents and their children simultaneously, two-generation programs have great potential to uplift whole families and break cycles of intergenerational poverty,” the study states.
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The expansion to Fort Totten by Briya, Bridges PCS, and Mary’s Center is highlighted in a video created by the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) for their annual report.
Fatoumata, a student in Briya’s Two-Generation Program, is featured in the video alongside her son, who attends Briya’s toddler class.
“Briya is a very good opportunity for many people who don’t speak English,” Fatoumata says in the video. “It is important for me [that] my son is close to me. We can play together. We can read books together. Every day is happy to come to class.”.
Watch the video below.
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Briya is profiled by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on their Effective Literacy and Numeracy Practices Database. The database features adult education programs from around the globe with the goal of improving literacy policies and practices.
“Briya is a unique example of how a public school, through strategic partnerships with other community organizations, can serve as the hub of a community, linking together a network of services that builds on the strengths of a community to meet the diverse needs of families,” according to the profile.
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Briya staff members from Bangladesh, Syria, and Cameroon were interviewed by NPR reporter Armando Trull for a story on the views of immigrant voters in advance of the presidential election.
“‘When I watch the TV news, I am thinking who will be president, because we are Asian and I came from Bangladesh, so I am thinking about my future, my kids,'” Briya staff member Zannatul Ferdous says in the article. “‘Especially immigration because I want to apply for my mom and dad and brother and sister.'”
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Briya’s Two-Generation Program is showcased in a video created by Digital Promise in partnership with the Barbara Bush Foundation.
The video highlights Briya’s unique model, which enables parents to gain knowledge and skills (from basic literacy to earning a high school diploma) at the same time that their young children prepare for future success through a high-quality early education.
In the video, Briya’s Executive Director, Christie McKay, names keys to Briya’s successful outcomes:
Having a steady funding stream for adult education.
Simultaneously viewing adult learners as parents, workers, and community members, and then creating systems that support their needs holistically
“Adult students face a lot of challenges that young people don’t face,” Erica Schuetz, an adult education instructor at Briya, states in the video. These needs include supporting their families financially, caring for their children, and navigating the transportation system.
“As educators and as a school, we try to address those challenges by … letting students know they’re wanted here, that we miss them when they don’t show up, and also by networking them with a lot of support services within Mary’s Center and within the school and within the community.”
Briya’s adult and early childhood students achieve some of the highest outcomes in the country thanks to the education and the network of support they receive at Briya.
“[Briya is] a very rewarding place to work, and I feel a really strong relationship with the students,” Schuetz says. “I feel really lucky to be able to work in a program like this.”
Watch the video below.
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A recent report from the New America Foundation focuses on DC policies and programs, including Briya, that excel at supporting young dual language learners.
The report, put out by New America’s Dual Language Learners National Work Group, points to a number of lessons policymakers in other areas of the country can learn from DC’s success. These lessons include designing programs that are tailored to each school’s needs, having committed school leadership, and using co-teaching models that integrate DLLs into the classroom.
A summary of Briya’s dual-generation program is featured on page 13 of the report.
“Student outcomes suggest that Briya’s family literacy model is having a significant and positive impact on kindergarten readiness,” the report states.
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