Refugee Service Program


The Richardson ISD Refugee Service Program advocates to ensure educational equity for refugee and asylee students and families enrolled in RISD. Our department supports students’ social and cultural acclimation to the United States, in addition to enhancing academic performance.

Our collaborative work with students, families, schools, community stakeholders, and state and federal organizations enables us with the skills and tools to enhance student academic and social success.

We are committed to serving and providing all students and families with equal and quality educational experiences by dismantling social barriers and addressing their diverse needs to ensure they reach their full potential.


Refugees are people forced to flee their home country because of a well-founded fear of persecution, and who arrive in the United States already designated a refugee.
Asylees are immigrants in the U.S. or at a port of entry who are found unable or unwilling to return to their home country of nationality because of a well-founded fear of persecution if they return to that country.

Texas has experienced some of the highest national levels of refugee and asylee student enrollment. Refugee and asylee students face many obstacles and may struggle to adjust to a new environment after relocating from countries plagued by war, poverty, food insecurity, and other extreme challenges. Schools play a critical role in the inclusion and integration of refugee students and families. 

The central goals of the department are to ensure that refugee and asylee students are prepared to succeed in and outside the classroom, strengthen academic performance, cultivate cultural awareness, promote civic engagement, enhance language skills, and aid in the social adjustment of refugee and asylee students and families.

RISD assists our refugee and asylee students in the transition to US schools by providing systemic and intentional implementation of programs and resources to support all students. The goal is to maximize student attendance, engagement, and achievement.

Absolutely! Our team provides, and has access to, translation and interpretation services for family intake processes and orientation, parent-teacher conferences, meetings, home visits, disciplinary matters, and general day-to-day interpretation services.
  • School registration and orientation support
  • Student tutoring and special education assistance
  • Professional learning opportunities for campus and district staff 
  • Cultural enrichment and inclusion of refugee and asylee students and their families
  • Enhancement of parent involvement in their children’s education through family engagement, outreach, and education.
  • Support in developing collaborative partnerships between non-profit organizations, community providers, and school districts to create, implement, and evaluate services which effectively address the needs of refugee and asylee families.

Our Team

NameTitleEmail AddressPhone Number
Bushra HaqRefugee Service Program Administrator bushra.haq@risd.org469-593-9123
Maria SeidRefugee Services Program Learning Administratormaria.seid@risd.org469-593-0787
Anila Shah Refugee Service Program Specialist anila.shah@risd.org469-593-9124
Hanae JbilouRefugee Service Administrative Specialist hanae.jbilou@risd.org469-593-9122
Joseph MiniscalcoChief Executive Director of Student Servicesjoseph.miniscalco@risd.org469-593-0372
jason tharp

Dr. Jason Tharp

Director of Student Services
RHS Learning Community

tony parker

Tony Parker

Student Services Administrator
LHHS Learning Community

Demetra Sinnie

Demetra Sinnie

Student Services Administrator
BHS Learning Community

stefani blackman

Stefani Blackman

Student Services Administrator
PHS Learning Community

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