Welcome to the SAVES Program!

The political, economic, and civil unrest in the world impacts the United States as it embraces refugees and asylees by opening its doors to provide a safe heaven and opportunities for a better life. A large number of Cubans have entered the United States as a result of the Cuban revolution in 1959. Also a great number of Haitians have been arriving through the years and especially after the earthquake that devastated Haiti in 2010. Other countries have equally been impacted by terrorism, dictatorships, civil wars, human trafficking, and famine. As countries are negatively impacted by these events, refugees and asylees seek protection and opportunities in the United States. Due to the geographic location of the State of Florida and Miami-Dade County, the majority of the refugees/asylees resettle in South Florida and Miami-Dade. As a result, Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) has been and continues to be heavily impacted. The M-DCPS Skills for Academic, Vocational and English Studies (SAVES) program first established in April 1996 became a critical support for these refugees.

The SAVES program is sponsored by the Florida Department of Children and Families, Refugee Services Program, and is funded solely with grants from the U.S. Department of Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement. SAVES was established to address the specific English language, academic and vocational training needs of this refugee/asylee population. English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), Adult Basic Education (ABE) courses, English Literacy for Career and Technical Education (ELCATE) curricula, Citizenship classes, General Education Development (GED), as well as other high priority Vocational/Technical courses, were developed to meet the needs of this population. Also SAVES Program offers the Success Management Academy (SMA) in Spanish program, created to provide the opportunity for refugee/asylee students between 16-18 years old to obtain their High School Diploma and learn the English language. The program is offered at seven high schools thought Miami-Dade County.

Students are identified and interviewed using program-specific intake forms. Once legal eligibility requirements are identified for program participation, instructional needs and individual client vocational goals are established. English language instruction is emphasized. SAVES classes are offered through 15 adult and vocational education technical centers strategically located throughout Miami-Dade County to better serve our clients.

There are over 12,000 SAVES participants a year. Since February 2001, SAVES has extended its services to include all refugees or asylees. SAVES services are provided to clients who are deaf or hard of hearing as well as those who are in need of an interpreter or other communication assistance.  Clients include students from Cuba, Haiti, Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Honduras, Mexico, Niger, Iraq, Iran, Hungary, and many other countries. Since 2014, SAVES clients’ services have been limited to five (5) years from the clients’ official entry date in the USA. M-DCPS studies indicate that SAVES students have a better performance, retention and promotion rate than the general adult population in the school district. As SAVES grows, it continues to prioritize ESOL and vocational/technical classes.

SAVES Client Enrollment
Year
2016 1 5,293
2016 2 4,652
2016 3 4,043
2015 3 4,244
2015 2 4,260
2015 1 3,778
2014
3
3,169
2014
2
3,302
2014
1
3,674
2013
3
2,852
2013
2
3,132
2013
1
3,128
2012
3
3,750
2012
2
3,719
2012
1
3,863

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