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April 2018


As the lead agency for the Refugee Center and Community School at Reynolds Middle School (RCCSR), IU13 Community Education welcomes you to RCCSR's first ever newsletter! Our newsletter, which will be published every other month, will keep you informed about the significant role that refugees and immigrants play in maintaining a healthy, local economy, and how you can help us welcome them and facilitate their integration into our economy and community. But first, here is an introduction to our mission, programs, partners, and dedicated staff.

Our Mission

The mission of the Refugee and Center and Community School is to welcome refugee and immigrant families to our community and engage them in opportunities for education, wellness, and work, in ways that will lead to self-sufficiency and enrichment.

From Our Staff: We welcome you to the first newsletter of the Refugee Center and Community School at Reynolds Middle School!

From left to right: Jalilah Yacoub, Josh McManness, Jane Pugliese, Nerva Ramos, Cassi Redcay, Shaniqua Troupe, Loice Byler, Meaghan Tetro, and Khem Subedi. 


Most refugee families who are resettled in Lancaster County reside within the School District of Lancaster, and a large percentage of immigrants to Lancaster County also reside within the District. Approximately 17% of the School District of Lancaster's student population are English Language Learners, with 38 different languages being spoken. 

Refugee Center - April 2018 - Group of students outside-smThe Need

RCCSR opened its doors a little over two years ago, and in that time, we've supported approximately 300 refugee and immigrant students and their families  These students and their families have come here from many different countries, including (but not only): Nepal, Burundi, Bhutan, Myanmar, Haiti, Cuba, Somalia, Uganda, Rwanda, Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Sudan, Palestine, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and Afghanistan. We also serve students and families from Puerto Rico who have moved here to escape the devastation wrought by hurricane Maria. 

There are approximately 2000 students right now in the School District of Lancaster with limited English proficiency, and who are either refugees or immigrants. To date, we have only been able to serve approximately 300 of those students and their families. Furthermore, of those 2000 students, roughly 550 are refugees, only one third of whom we have been able to serve. The need for our services is great, and RCCSR must grow to meet that need. 

Refugee_Center_ImageOur Programs

We work with refugee and immigrant children and their families, to help them adjust to and excel in school, and to help their families become integrated into their new communities. We work closely with those schools in which the children are enrolled (99% of the children we serve are enrolled in the School District of Lancaster.) One of our newest initiatives, currently in the development phase, is to reach out to the Lancaster County community in order to promote greater understanding between established residents and newcomers to the community.

Learn more about our programs here. Our Programs

Our Partnerships

Collaboration is the key to the services provided by RCCSR. In fact, RCCSR was founded by a collaboration of many organizations in our community including: IU13; the Rotary Club of Lancaster; School District of Lancaster; The Literacy Council of Lancaster-Lebanon; Franklin and Marshall College; Southeast Lancaster Health Services (now known as Lancaster Health Center); Church World Service; Bethany Christian Services; Lancaster County Community Foundation; and United Way of Lancaster County. An initial seed grant of $100,000 from the Lancaster Rotary enabled us to open our doors at Reynolds Middle School in October of 2015. A multi-year Lancaster County Community Foundation grant provided funds for staffing and access to networking and capacity building resources.  United Way provided multi-year funding to the New Americans Community Impact Partnership, of which the RCCSR is a member. United Way dollars have enabled us to provide services to help families integrate and thrive in school and in the community.

Learn more about our Partnerships here. More about our Partners

Last, but not least, we would like to introduce you to our dedicated staff, all of whom are employees of IU13 Community Education:

Joshua McManness, Community Education Supervisor with IU13 Community Education, serves as the Reynolds Community School Director. He has been with the Center since its inception, and has had a major influence on its development. Josh grew up in Indonesia, and at the age of 16, moved to Lancaster with his parents, bringing with him a keen interest in other cultures, countries, and languages. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Social Studies Education; is a certified English as a Second Language Teacher; and recently received his Master of Education Degree in Language and Literacy. Prior to being RCCSR Director, Josh taught Adult ESL classes at IU13 Community Education. Josh feels that the best part of his job is to help families feel welcome in their new community. 

Khem Subedi, came on board at RCCSR as the Community School Facilitator in 2016. Originally from Bhutan, Khem and his family, along with tens of thousands of other Nepalese speaking Bhutanese, were evicted by the Bhutan government and deported to refugee camps in Nepal in 1992, in what the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) called an act of ethnic cleansing. After many years in a refugee camp in Nepal, Khem and his family were finally able to make their way to the United States in 2011. He became a United States citizen in 2017. In Nepal, Khem was a teacher. He has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology and Political Science and is currently pursuing a degree in Business Administration. As Community School Facilitator, Khem oversees the daily operations of the Center, and serves as the point of contact with Church World Service and Bethany Christian Services, the two refugee resettlement agencies in Lancaster County.

Jalilah Yacoub, is the Cultural Navigator for RCCSR. She started working here in March 2016. She works with all refugee and immigrant families who come to the Center, to ensure a smooth transition for the students attending school within the District, and to ensure that families receive the support they need. She serves as liaison with school staff on behalf of newly arrived students and their families; serves as an Arabic translator; and assists with all programs operated by the Center. Jalilah came to the United States in 1998 from Syria, and became a U.S. citizen in 2003. One of the things she loves most about working here is that she has the opportunity to be around so many different types of people from all over the world. Jalilah is currently pursuing a combined Bachelor's and Master's degree in Social Work.

Shaniqua Troupe, an employee of IU13 Community Education since 2014, became the Extended Day Program Manager at RCCSR in September 2017. Working for RCCSR enables Shaniqua to be a part of an effort of critical importance to the community. She loves the diversity of people she meets and works with on a daily basis, including students, parents, volunteers, faculty, and partners of the Center. Prior to becoming the Extended Day Program Manager, she taught a variety of adult GED, Parenting Education, and Prison Re-Entry classes. She has a Master's of Education Degree in English, and is a certified Communication Arts Teacher.

Nerva Ramos is the co-manager of the Extended Day Program at the Center, working in tandem with Shaniqua to ensure that Reynolds students have meaningful and educational experiences after school. Nerva has also been an adjunct instructor with IU13 Community Education since 2012. In addition to her responsibilities at the Center, she also teachers a variety of classes, including ESL, Citizenship and Civics. As a native New Yorker, she grew up in a city, that from its earliest days, was at the crossroads of immigration to this country. Nerva moved to Lancaster County in 2010, by way of York, Pa, where she received her BA in History from York College. In Lancaster, she found a vibrant Hispanic community that was reminiscent of growing up in New York City, and immediately felt at home. She brings to RCCSR a love of diversity and many years of experience teaching English to English Language Learners.

Meaghan Tetro is the Center's AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer, and will be with us until July 2018, when her service year ends. We will certainly be sad to see her go. Her main focus this year is twofold: First, to increase the capacity of the Center by developing and maintaining a strong volunteer management system; and second, to work closely with one of our major partners - Lancaster Health Center - to ensure that the students and families that we serve have access to much needed health care. Meaghan has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration, and is planning on attending graduate school to get a Master's Degree in Public Health.

Cassi Redcay was hired in September 2017. She is a program assistant for both the Center and Lancaster Career Link. She splits her time between the two locations. Prior to working for IU13 Community Education, she worked for 22 years at a local educational company in the bids and contracts department. She loves everything about the Refugee Center, especially being able to work with children and the Secret Angel Project!

Jane Pugliese has been an employee of IU13 Community Education since November 2017, when she was hired to teach ESL classes and to work with the Center to develop the Refugee Center and Community School Newsletter. Prior to that time, she was a substitute teacher at Hand Middle School in the School District of Lancaster, and prior to that, worked in a variety of public and non-profit planning, housing, social service and community development organizations in Berks and Lancaster Counties. Jane has a Master's Degree in City Planning, a Master's of Education Degree in English, and is a certified Communication Arts Teacher. She brings to the Refugee Center a love of diversity and inclusion, and as she lives right across the street from Reynolds Middle School, is extremely proud to call RCCSR a neighbor!

Loice Byler, hired by IU13 Community Education in February of 2018, is the newest, and a most welcome addition to our staff. She is a teaching assistant in our ESL and Citizenship Classes, and assists with the Cultural Navigation Program here at the Center. She grew up in Kenya, and came to the United States in 1982 to attend college, where she met her husband. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministries and became a U.S. citizen in 1999.  In 2004, Loice eventually made her way to Lancaster, with her husband and three children. She speaks 3 languages: Kikuyu, Swahili, and English. Prior to her employment with us, she worked for Church World Service, helping to welcome and resettle newcomers to the community. She loves all of the friendly people she has met since coming to work for RCCSR, and is happy to have the opportunity to reach out to the community and help those in need.

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about us! We look forward to hearing from you! You will certainly be hearing from us in the future!


The Refugee Center and
Community School at Reynolds
Reynolds Middle School

605 W Walnut Street
Lancaster, PA 17604

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