This paper estimates the impact of home country natural disasters on the academic performance of immigrant students in New York City public schools. It provides credible evidence of these effects by exploiting the exogenous timing of natural disasters relative to testing dates in models with student fixed effects. Natural disasters in the home country lower immigrant students’ test scores in reading by 0.051 standard deviation, and by 0.028 standard deviation in mathematics. This paper provides strong evidence that the home country is an important out-of-school factor shaping immigrant students’ academic success and shows that children are affected by distal contexts in which they do not directly participate.

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