Number Of Students Coming To New England From Puerto Rico Continues To Climb

Nov 28, 2017

In the months since Hurricane Maria, 1,400 students from Puerto Rico have registered for school in Massachusetts.

Jeff Wulfson, commissioner of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, said the number is heavily concentrated in just a few districts.

"About 800 of those 1,400 are in Springfield, Worcester, New Bedford, Holyoke and Boston," Wulfson said Tuesday.

Holyoke accepted 110 of those students, and that is a significant increase in a district of its size, said Ileana Cintron, Holyoke's chief of family and community engagement.

The number is expected to keep going up for some time.

Cintron said about 60 more students are expected next month.

In the last few days, new appointments were made to register them.

"The airfare became cheaper after Thanksgiving," Cintron said. "We're expecting more families to come out."

The district, she said, is hiring several new teachers, mostly for elementary schools.

As of Tuesday, Springfield, Massachusetts, had enrolled 399 new students from Puerto Rico.

In Hartford, Connecticut, the district now has 275 new students from the island.