Refugee Educator Foundations of Practice Course

An anchor resource for the REA, the Refugee Educator Foundations of Practice (REFP) Course was developed as an online professional development (PD) opportunity over a period of 2.5 years between 2019 and 2021, with more than 300 educators from Arizona, Washington, and New York participating in pilot test cohorts led by local teacher leaders. The participatory and iterative processes used to develop this course within sustained communities of practice (see the Sustainable Learning Framework for more details on our methods) inform efforts across the REA and within CPL and serve as resources for the communities of practice that form locally, regionally, and nationally around work with refugee and immigrant students and families across the U.S. Learn more in the REFP evaluation report.

In 2022, the REFP course modules were reviewed, updated, and further revised to allow for new delivery modes (as stand-alone micro-courses) and for new audiences (a new early childhood educator version of the course was created). Designed to be modular and adaptable, the REFP course can be facilitated as one 8-12 week long comprehensive program or offered in bite-size 1-2 week modules.

The comprehensive REFP course curriculum develops foundational competencies (and confidence!) for educators working in resettlement contexts with refugee, asylum-seeking, and other immigrant students and families. Key topics in the REFP course include:

  • Displacement and resettlement processes and experiences
  • Community building and getting to know students and families
  • Culturally relevant and sustaining pedagogies
  • Social and emotional learning and trauma-informed practices
  • Curriculum design and assessment
  • Instructional methods and strategies
  • Program models and planning

Supporting resources include strategy books, facilitation guides, and more.


Teacher/Participant Testimonies

“One thing that stood out to me is just how refreshing it is to be in a group of people that are so inspiring and doing the same type of work as myself. The day to day can be draining but sharing ideas, challenges, and hope is so inspiring and life giving. I think a key take-away is that although our positions, type of jobs, or locations can be different there are a lot of larger picture issues and solutions that are shared.”

“I have so much more knowledge and understanding of the refugee process and the varied experiences refugees have. I am more aware of the kinds of behaviors to expect in the classroom and how I can support refugee students. I have a more asset-based mindset when it comes to my students, including refugee students, and I work harder to make connections and build relationships so that education in my classroom can be co-created and better meet the unique needs of the students in front of me.”

“When I was taking [the REFP course] I remember all the testimonials and stories of other refugees and that really just changed my whole perception of my students…I was like, ‘Wow, I can’t even imagine what that child went through.” So I came at it with a different approach and I think we need to be a staff, as professionals at schools, need to be knowledgeable.”

CPL loves partnering with schools, organizations, and other institutions to customize PD sessions, including creating hybrid/blended and in-person trainings. Building internal capacity for sustained learning within an organization is CPLs goal. Through the REFP, we hope to equip educators in resettlement contexts to meet not only the academic, but also the social-emotional and well-being, needs and goals of their learners and families.

Contact Julie Kasper at to discuss setting up a cohort or training for your colleagues or register for upcoming cohorts in our course catalog.

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