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Colorado Edition: Update from an Afghan refugee; in-person elementary school

Jennifer Hughes' second-grade classroom at Butler Elementary School in Fort Lupton.
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Hughes
Jennifer Hughes' second-grade classroom at Butler Elementary School in Fort Lupton.

In August, as the U.S. was withdrawing from Afghanistan, Mahmod Shamsi and his family went into hiding. Shamsi had worked for the Afghan government and the Taliban was looking for him. He feared for his life — and his phone was his lifeline. On the other side were people like Kelsey Baun, a friend in Fort Collins, who helped launch a campaign to evacuate Shamsi, his wife, their two young girls, and Shamsi’s sister. KUNC’s Michael de Yoanna brought Shamsi’s story to Colorado Edition in September. Now, he gives us an update.

Most schools in Colorado are back to in-person learning — which, for some students, has meant a return to a routine closer to the pre-pandemic “normal.” But young students who spent a formative year at home are experiencing a bigger adjustment. Colorado Edition spoke with two teachers who are helping their students navigate this change: Jennifer Hughes, a second-grade teacher at Butler Elementary in Fort Lupton, and Ivory Jarman, an English Language Education teacher for kindergarteners at Samuels Elementary in Denver.

Colorado Edition is hosted by Erin O'Toole (@ErinOtoole1) and edited by Henry Zimmerman (@kombuchacowboy). Our production team includes Tess Novotny (@tess_novotny), Alana Schreiber (@ayyschreib) and Rae Solomon (@raedear1). KUNC news director Brian Larson is our executive producer. Web was edited by digital editor Jackie Hai.

The mission of Colorado Edition is to deepen understanding of life in Northern Colorado through authentic conversation and storytelling. It's available as a podcast on iTunesSpotifyGoogle PlayStitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can hear the show on KUNC, Monday through Friday at 2:30 and at 6:30 p.m.
Colorado Edition is made possible with support from our KUNC members. Thank you!

Our theme music was composed by Colorado musicians Briana Harris and Johnny Burroughs. Other music in the show by Blue Dot Sessions.

KUNC's Colorado Edition is a daily look at the stories, news, people and issues important to you. It's a window to the communities along the Colorado Rocky Mountains.