Sensitizing School Personnel
Parental Needs: From the first moment ELL parents enter the school, they should feel welcomed into their children's new educational environment. Every staff member should be sensitive to their needs. First impressions by intake staff are crucial to forming a partnership with parents. You may print out the Parent Support Checklist to check how your school is supporting parents, and to make a few notes on how to improve, if necessary.
- Do the main office or the special services office [e.g., registration area] and the hallways reflect the acceptance of diversity by the school community?
- Has the school secretary, usually the first person to greet parents, been sensitized to linguistic needs of parents? Has she/he received inservicing related to modifying her/his speech [e.g., slower speed, fewer idiomatic expressions, demonstrating through visual presentation, etc.].
- Is every effort made to provide native language directions for completion of registration forms? Health forms, including immunizations, health history, allergies, accidents?
- Is there an assigned ESL, bilingual, foreign language teacher, or other trained person available to assist with registration and medical forms, if no native language directions are available?
- Has the school district tapped into the community to provide newcomer families with registration and orientation assistance in native language?
- Are parents encouraged to participate in school activities?
- Are materials [e.g., parent handbooks in native language] and training provided to help parents become active partners in their children's education. Programs such as Family ESL, Family Reading, and Family Math encourage parental involvement.
- Does the school have a plan to help parents understand that specialized programs such as ESL, bilingual education, speech and language, and basic skills are programs to help their children learn and succeed in their new school environment?