is the one word that captures our Latino PEG kick off meeting!
was the staff attendance!
is the long history of this group of parents dedication and participation!
are all the community members who were present!
was to see so many staff, community members and parents all lined up in a huge circle around Franklin’s LMC!
Over 120 of us (41 Staff, 11 community members, 30 parents and 42 children) gathered last Thursday for the Latino Parent Empowerment Group kick off meeting! The whole month the Latino students had been asking, “when’s the first meeting?!” “When’s the first meeting?!” “How many days until our meeting?!” To say they were excited to be there is an understatement! They couldn’t wait to have pizza, see their friends, say hello to their old teachers, hang out, run around and play!
After the children left the room a question was prompted to the group….
Whose responsibility is it to educate our Latino children?
People were asked to hold that question in their mind as staff proceeded with introductions:
- 4K, K, 1st & 2nd grade
- 3rd, 4th & 5th grade
- Music, LMC, Art, PE
- Special Education, OT, PT, S&L
- Social Workers, Psychologist & IRTs
- Health Office, School Office & Food Services
- Practicum Students & Student Teachers
It was revealed to the parents that these staff members are some of the people who work with the Latino children at our school. They are the ones who make sure kids are fed, supervised, feel safe, and that they are well physically and emotionally. They make sure students understand, follow the rules, feel valued, and are learning!
Introductions continued as parents stated their name, children(s)’ name(s) and school of attendance. 22 families (with 31 students) are part of the Franklin/Randall Latino Parent Group. 20 of them were in attendance! In an effort of having a better understanding of the sociocultural background, life experiences and culture, parents were asked to show by a raising of hands to answer the following questions:
- Did your parents ever attend school meetings, conferences, volunteer, or go on field trips? 3
- Did your parents ever read a book to you? 4
- Did they ever help you with homework? 3
- Do you feel you have a good understanding of math and can help your child at home? 4
- Do you read English and feel you can help your child with reading? 4
- Is email an effective and reliable way for us to communicate with you? 6
It was noted that it is crucial for school and community to have a better understanding of this group’s assets and needs. We need to find out what it is that they don’t know so we can provide them with that information, help them understand the school system and learn about the U.S. culture. We need to inform them about the things this community has to offer and show them how to navigate school and community…so they can help their children…and this way help us, and ultimately, make the community stronger.
School Community introductions followed. The support of the larger Franklin/Randall community was represented by our two PTO co-presidents. PTO makes these meetings possible! Their financial contribution, along with funds from the OMGE Dept. downtown enables us to offer a space where we can share information with the parents and for them to let us know their thoughts and needs. The PTO was thanked for their generous support!
Parents were informed that we understand that there are many reasons (language, time, lack of skills, etc.) they can’t always help their children at home with homework. We have made connections with community centers so they can help fill that void. We made sure all the Latino children, (2nd grade and up) have a community center they can attend for academic support. Community program coordinators from the Catholic Multicultural Center, Bayview Center, and Neighborhood House introduced themselves.
It was also pointed out to the parents they play a critical role in their students’ success. With much excitement we told them that this year, WSPEI (Wisconsin Statewide Parent Education Initiative) awarded us a grant! A team (Ellen-1st grade, Benjy- BRT, Marissa- Sp. Ed., Berenice- parent, and Yvonne- BRS) will be working with WSPEI to provide 4 Literacy Workshops for the parents. We are the first MMSD school to be doing this! Empowering parents to participate in their student’s education and promoting family literacy is invaluable for personal development and students’ academic achievement. WSPEI representatives introduced themselves and stated they are really looking forward to working with Franklin and Randall.
Community introductions continued. Tomas Coyne, a police officer from the South Madison Police Dept., told parents that he and other members in his office are there to serve the Latino families. Community safety is of great concern for our parents. Having a person they know and trust within the police force is crucial.
The group was brought back to our initial question… so, what do you think?
Who is responsible for the education of our Latino children?
Some parents answered, they are, other said, the teachers! The reality is that …
WE ALL ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE EDUCATION OF THE LATINO CHILDREN! We all play an integral role in supporting these students’ success! We are partners in learning! We need to work together, hand in hand, so that we can help these children be the best they can be! Research proves that when school, home and community work together, the students benefit! Students have better attendance, their behavior is more favorable, they get higher grades and are better prepared for college, a career and become better community members! In order for this partnership to work, each one of us has to do their part and COMMUNICATION among these 3 parties IS KEY!
In an effort to overcome language barriers, MMSD has Bilingual Resource Specialists (BRS) on staff. Central office BRSs introduced themselves. They told parents they are stationed at the Doyle building to do district wide translations and to help Latino parents when they need to communicate with MMSD officials downtown. They encouraged parents to listen to the MMSD Spanish radio show on La Movida. The newly hired West High BRS Introduced herself and praised the parents for their incredible attendance. She told them that she hoped they continued with that same level of dedication when their students reach West!
Parents, school and community members were reminded that the school BRS is the communication link. Besides the letters, news and field trip translations, let the school BRS know your needs, your celebrations and your concerns. With dialog and respect we can address any issue, no matter how sensitive this might be! It was emphasized to the parents to read the information sent home!
Parents were assured that the school staff will strive to make parents feel comfortable and welcomed. We want parents to know that their opinions, ideas and concerns matter to us. We want to make families feel that they are a valued member of the Franklin/Randall community!
The introduction session ended with the mention of the Latino PEG meetings objective-
We will work on giving the parents the knowledge to be able to make informed decisions regarding their children’s education, the tools & support necessary to help their children, and the confidence to advocate for their children at school and in the community.
Parents, staff and community members were asked to hold hands and say a cheer for our Latino students!
A la bio
A la bao
A la bim-bom-ba
RA, RA, RA!
The introduction session took longer than planned. Community and staff members left and a short parent meeting followed.
General Information – School
- Well Enough to Come to School? doc. reviewed
- Call to report tardies and absences
- Soft Landing – parents LOVED the new breakfast procedure!
- Fall Fundraising Campaign – a couple donations were given on the spot!
- UW Football Parking – a thank you to parents for helping 2 weeks ago.
- Behavior –
- Review definition of bullying. Sometimes your child might be the victim, sometimes the bully. Not every conflict is bullying. Each incident will be investigated and handled.
- Randall parents asked to review bus behavior expectations. Green Dot Bus.
- Behavior Plan brochures available for parents to take.
- Franklin/Randall Dance – flyer handed out and parents encouraged to attend
- MMSD School Calendar handed out
- Newsletters – important info.: Classroom, Snack Calendar, Field trips, Lice, Early release, Picture Day, etc
- Thanksgiving Basket – help parents fill out applications
General Information – District
- Referendums – brief explanation. More detailed info. at our December meeting
- Search for new Superintendent input session dates
- OMGE Programs Evaluation – Parents invited to attend the input sessions on the New ESL Plan recently presented to the Board. More info. at our December meeting
Our next Latino PEG will be November 14th.
indeed the commitment of the staff, community and parents!
A la bio
A la bao
A la bim-bom-ba
RA, RA, RA!