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Migrant Education Supports Information System (MESIS)

The California Department of Education’s 2007 California Migrant Education Program Comprehensive Needs Assessment (pdf) stressed the importance of having better data concerning the needs of the almost 240,000 migrant students enrolled in 4,400 California schools, including the need for improved ways to identify them in data sources. In particular, the plan identified gaps in information about learning engagement and health-related learning barriers among migrant students. As a result, health and engagement indicators have been included in the new state plan for the Migrant Education Program. To provide data to help migrant education programs monitor these indicators and better identify, understand, and address the needs of migrant youth and program staff, the CDE Migrant, Indian, and International Education Office (MIIEO) funded the development of the Migrant Education Support Information System (MESIS), based on an expansion of the California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS) and the California School Staff Survey (CSSS).
See a detailed overview of the MESIS (pdf).


The purpose of the MESIS is to provide districts that serve migrant students with reports that summarize their CHKS and CSSS survey results as reported by migrant program students and staff. These reports are intended to help guide improvements in school environments, resources, and services that students in the migrant education system need in order to succeed as learners and that promote their overall well-being.

Main Features of MESIS

  • Addition of questions to the CHKS and CSSS asking students and staff to identify whether they are part of the local migrant education program;
  • Based on these questions, preparation of supplemental CHKS/CSSS Migrant Education Reports for each district, reporting results by migrant education students and staff compared to all other students and staff.
  • Biennial preparation of similar aggregated statewide reports of results by migrant education status, as well as regional reports for each of the 23 Regional Migrant Education Centers (RMEC).
  • Dissemination of reports on the Migrant Students Information Network (MSIN) and on the CHKS/CSSS websites for public access.
  • Development of a Workbook (pdf), with accompanying workshop training, to assist in understanding the survey results and determining what program and policy actions are warranted.


  • Raise school and general public awareness of the needs of migrant education students and the staff that provide them services, specifically in regard to learning engagement and health-related barriers to learning.
  • Promote dialogue at the local, regional, and state level on meeting those needs;
  • Monitor and promote a better understanding of the level of program and service implementation schools are achieving in fulfillment of the Comprehensive Assessment and the state plan for migrant education, as well as the requirements of No Child Left Behind.
  • Help retain high quality migrant education staff by identifying their needs.
  • Better integrate migrant and general education.
  • Embed efforts to improve supports for migrant education in the broader CDE effort to close the racial/ethnic achievement gap (CTAG) (pdf)

Migrant Education Reports and their Dissemination

District Reports

Supplementary Migrant Education Reports for both the CHKS and CSSS are sent to the migrant education program director in all school districts that meet the minimum respondent number needed to preserve confidentiality. These reports provide the results for all survey questions as reported by migrant education students and staff compared to all other (i.e., general education) students and staff. CSSS reports provide all survey results for elementary, middle, and high school staff. CHKS reports are only provided at the secondary level (grades 7, 9, and 11); focus groups and field tests revealed the reliability of self-report program status among 5th graders was too low. Copies are also made available to CDE and the Regional Migrant Education Centers (RMEC) through the Migrant Student Information Network (MSIN). Several tools are available as aides to help in understanding survey results, disseminating them, and determining their programmatic implications. Public dissemination of the data must be coordinated with, and not occur before, release of overall CSSS results.

Staff and Student Notification

It is particularly important, as part of survey planning, that all migrant education staff be urged to participate in the CSSS and inform their students that the services they were receiving are under the MEP so that the students accurately self-identify their program participation on the CHKS.

Report Confidentiality Requirements

To preserve confidentiality, no data for any school level are reported if less than ten students or five staff respond. If there are sufficient respondents in the district overall, but not at any one grade-level, a combined district level report will be prepared. No local dataset will be made available for analysis that potentially might enable a student or staff person to be identified. Confidential analysis can be conducted by WestEd as a custom service. All individuals that request a report before it is publicly posted must sign a Memorandum of Understanding to keep the data confidential and not release it without coordination and permission with the district.

Statewide and Regional (RMEC) Aggregated Reports

Following the completion of the first full statewide aggregation (January of 2011), regional results that correspond to the 23 Regional Migrant Education Center areas will be prepared and sent to each RMEC. These will be updated every two years and posted on the website.

Every two years aggregated sets of CHKS/CSSS tables at the state level will also be generated. These reports will highlight key findings and their implications to help focus attention statewide on meeting the needs of migrant students and the staff who serve them. These state norms can be compared to local results.

NSIN and Public Dissemination

As reports are completed, they will be also be made available through the Migrant Student Information Network (MSIN), along with all support materials and guides. This will enable the reports and materials to be immediately assessed by not only district staff but also the RMEC’s and CDE, so that they can work with local staff in assessing the implications of the results. In the fall of each year, the local MEP reports for the previous year will be publicly posted on the survey websites, along with all other CHKS/CSSS reports, so that anyone may access them.

Assessing the Data and Taking the Next Steps

Receiving a MEP report is just the first step in a data-driven, decision-making process to improve programs. The following describes actions to take in analyzing and using the results and to obtain additional information to support school- and program- improvement efforts. A more detailed discussion of actions to take in analyzing and using the results and, a description of how to obtain additional information to support school and program improvement efforts can be found in the CHKS Data Use and Dissemination Guidebook (pdf) as well as in the MESIS Overview (pdf).

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