Family and Community Event/Activity

Published on Nov 20, 2018

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Family and Community Event/Activity

Tara Hieggelke

"When families feel welcome in school and participate actively in children's education, children's attendance, interest, motivation, general achievement, and reading achievement improve." (Padak and Rasinski, 2011,p.294)

For this presentation, I will be highlighting the following elements to inviting and including ELL families into the school environment. This plan includes:
1. Setting a welcoming environment
2. Providing community liaisons at events
3. Read and Greet Evenings
4. ELL Parent Meetings
5. Parent ESL Classes.

I will provide more information on each slide about each specific item in this plan.
Photo by Juan Ramos


  • TESOL CAEP Standards #2, #5 and 5b
  • TSPC ESOL Standards 2, 5 and 6
  • These standards are being addressed throughout this document

Welcoming Evironment

  • Post parent friendly signs in every language represented in the school
  • Translate written communication/documents to inform families about upcoming events
  • Provide "fact cards" for families that families can use to access the school and resources
The first part of the plan is create a welcoming environment for ELL families in the school environment. This starts with posting signs, translating documents and making sure families are aware of upcoming activities, etc. As Padak and Rasinski (2011) state"for families to become active participants in the life of the school, they must first feel welcomed, valued , and connected to each other, to school staff, and to what their children are doing in school." (p. 294)

Community Liasons

  • Provide translators at school events
  • Notify families that translators will be available
  • Professional translation, rather than computer translation, will improve communication
The second part of the plan is to provide translators and work with community partners to provide translation for school events, meetings and activities. Families need to be also aware that these services will be provided. As Padak and Rasinski (2011) state, "effective communication can lead to positive relationships and easier resolution to problems that may arise."(p.296)
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"We noticed that there wasn't a lot of interaction between ELL and non-ELL parents at school functions." (Barack, 2016, p.12)

The next part of the plan is provide time for non-ELL and ELL families to interact with each other. Activities will vary from district from district but the important thing to make space for this interaction to happen.

Read and Greet Evening Programs

  • Families are invited to the library to read a picture book, available in Spanish and English.
  • Evening activity, informal, four times a year
  • Opportunity for families from all backgrounds to interact and learn from each other
One idea that my district has tried is having families read to each other. These books should be represent their culture. As Barack (2016) states, "helping ELL students to become grounded in their new language is one goal. But educators know that parental support is key to the educational success of any child. So, finding a way to engage caregivers at school is something ELL instructors try to do." (p.12)
Photo by mrsdkrebs

"We know students will feel more supported and connected if their families understand the school's expectations and if the family feels comfortable with the culture." (Barack, 2016, p.12)

The final part of the plan is to make space for ELL language specific parent meetings. My district hosts monthly Latino parent meetings, but these should be expanded so that all parents have access to the information being discussed.
Photo by eriktorner

Parent Meetings

  • Language specific monthly parent meetings
  • Different focus each month depending on upcoming events
  • Opportunity for parents to ask questions
  • Opportunity to learn about events, volunteering
  • Networking
  • Learn about resources
It is important to remember that the definition of school involvement will differ from culture to culture. For example , according to Smith, Stern and Shatrova (2008), "Hispanic parents define involvement as working in informal home activities, checking homework, reading to children and listening to children read. " (p.9) From a school perspective, involvement
might be more defined as attending meetings and/or events. It is important to remember that if families are being asked to become more involved, they might be hesitant and uncomfortable in the beginning. According to Smith, Stern and Shatrova (2008), "If Hispanic parents are asked to assume more responsibilities that they view as the schools, they may be reluctant, in part because they believe they are overstepping their own boundaries." (p.10) Holding monthly parent meetings will be a good place to begin these conversations about different expectations of involvement. Other parent meetings topics could include, but are not limited to: key academic language, how to access and understand the online grading system, sports and club involvement, graduation requirements, college applications, financial aid, etc.

Parent ESL Classes

  • Option 1: Evening ESL classes
  • Option 2: Invite parents into their child's classroom to receive instruction with their child
Smith and Stern conducted a focus group of Hispanic parents and this focus group led to many recommendations. One of these recommendations was for parents to be offered ESL classes. In Smith, Stern and Shatrova (2008) study, they found that "after hours English language instruction for Hispanic parents appears to be desired." (p,13) This would be a great option for districts to offer to parents who want to improve their English. Other districts have also experimented with inviting families into their child's ESL classes so that they could learn with their child. According to Barack (2016), "not only do these experiences help adults connect to schools, they also provide great language-learning experiences." (p.12) Whatever a district chooses, whether it be one or the other or a combination of both options, this would provide the opportunity to connect to schools.


  • ""Failure to solve the problem of Hispanic student low achievement and subsequent dropping out of school by many will result in a disappointing destiny....the time is right and the cause is worthy for American educational leaders to address the problem now."(Smith, Stern and Shatrova, 2008, p.13)
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References Continued

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References continued

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References Continued

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