JUAREZ, Mexico (Border Report) – The largest migrant shelter in the city and a nearby Juarez elementary school have formed a partnership that allows children from Central America to take classes while their families decide if they will cross the border into the United States or go back to their home countries.

So far this fall semester, 52 children from families staying at Casa del Migrante shelter in southeast Juarez are taking classes at nearby Primaria Pascual Ortiz Rubio.

“It has been very satisfying for us to open the doors of our school (to them),” said Dora Elia Espinoza Cota, principal of the Ortiz Rubio school. “We have 52 kids in the school and every day they surprise us and fill us with satisfaction.”

Casa del Migrante houses around 400 migrants at any given time. It has a school-aged population of 109. Espinoza hopes to eventually accommodate all children eligible for first through sixth grade.

Espinoza says she’s the one who approached the shelter about the partnership.

“For us, the most important thing is that kids have an official document from the school. If they last three months or four months, that’s a semester. They can take that to their new school […] whether they go back to their countries or they go to the United States, they will have a good academic level to continue their studies” and not be set back a grade, Espinoza said.

The students enrolled so far are from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. Other nationalities could soon follow.