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Refugee School Impact Grant

Refugee School Impact Grant

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) provides Refugee School Impact (RSI) discretionary grant funding made available through the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) within the Department of Health and Human Services.

A central goal of the RSI discretionary grant is to assist newly arrived refugee children in localities with fewer refugee resources and a higher concentration of newly arrived refugee children in the local school districts to improve refugee children’s academic performance and social adjustment in schools. This goal requires collaboration and an intentional preparation of teachers and school district staff to work with the social and academic needs of refugee students and to prepare their families for full participation in school activities. Success in schools, for these children, is measured by improved academic performance and English language proficiency; high classroom attendance rates; development of leadership skills; successful graduation rates; and increased involvement of refugee parents in school activities.


  • Developing collaborative partnerships among schools, resettlement agencies, health and mental health service providers, community and faith-based organizations, and other local service providers to coordinate, plan and implement effective programs focused on newly arrived refugee children and youth.
  • Creating culturally and linguistically appropriate materials, such as special curricula or activities, translation services, and interpreter services.
  • Offering services at a variety of times, including during school hours, after school, during the weekend, and online.
  • Implementing specialized approaches suited for newly arrived ORR-served youth, such as cultural orientation, refugee parents/teacher meetings, and school orientation.
  • Creating programming that supports the integration of ORR-served youth into school systems, such as English as a Second Language sessions, mentoring and group activities.
  • Measuring academic performance, including high school graduation rates, accomplishment of required coursework on a timely basis, and improved academic performance levels.
  • Facilitating social integration activities that foster community building in schools.

Refugee Status and Eligibility

Refugee students between the ages of 5 and 18 who have been in the country less than five years at the beginning of the school year and have academic and social adjustment needs are eligible for services funded by the RSIG. Full-time high school students over the age of 18 may also be eligible. Services must be inclusive of all refugees, including LGBT populations that may be going through gender identification issues and thereby school adjustment issues.

“Newly arrived refugee” refers to an individual who was not born in this country or who is outside any country of such person's nationality or, in the case of a person having no nationality, is outside any country in which such person last habitually resided, and who is unable or unwilling to return to, and is unable or unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. Individuals granted refugee status overseas by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security are brought to the United States for resettlement by the U.S. Department of State. Voluntary agencies and ORR through their programs assist with their resettlement and integration into the U.S. Refugees are eligible to receive ORR benefits and services from the first day they arrive in the U.S.

The RSI Discretionary Grant Application, form PI-2975. Applications must be received by June 15, 2018 Close of Business (4:00 pm).

Email/Internet: Send via the DPI secure email server. Do not sent secure confidential information over an unsecured internet connection. For more information, see Applications can also be faxed to (608) 266-1965.

Refugee Resources:

Bridging Refugee Youth and Children Services

Refugee Education and Integration Service Center

Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (Refugee Program)





For questions about this information, contact Audrey Lesondak (608) 266-7292