Bay Area District Offers ELL Parent Outreach on Common Core

San Francisco Examiner, 2014.Hi, everyone!  We wanted to share a story about some recent ELL parent engagement efforts around the Common Core that might spark some ideas of your own!

Earlier this month, teachers of the Jefferson Elementary Federation of Teachers (JEFT) in Daly City, CA teamed up with the American Federation of Teachers and the California Federation of Teachers (CFT) to host an outreach event focused on providing parents and educators with information about the Common Core State Standards. The event was part of the AFT’s Reclaiming the Promise initiative.  (Learn more about the day's activities in this news story from the San Francisco Examiner and this Spanish-language Univision news report.)

While organizers had been expecting 200 participants, more than 400 turned out for the conference, which offered simultaneous translation in Spanish and Arabic and sessions that were conducted in each of those languages as well.  Highlights included:

  • Sessions on the Common Core for both parents and educators with titles such as “Common Core ELA in the K-5 Classroom” and “Ten Effective Ways to Support Academic Readiness at Home”
  • Information about Colorín Colorado, FirstBook, and AFT’s online lesson bank, ShareMyLesson
  • Storytelling for children with local author Tony Robles and illustrator Carl Angel, who teamed up to create the bilingual English-Tagalog stories Lakas and the Manilatown Fish and Lakas and the Makibaka Hotel
  • Free book giveaways for students

Events such as this one take a lot of work – but the success in Daly City shows not only the interest of diverse groups of parents in learning more about the Common Core but the feasibility of organizing events that ELL families will find meaningful when planning is done with their needs and questions in mind. This point is underscored by JEFT president Melinda Dart: “As education professionals we want the same thing for our students as their parents—a better future,” she said.  “Making academic success a reality for every child doesn’t take magic, but it does take commitment, focus and a great deal of collaboration between parents and school employees.  That is something we really want to highlight.”

If you’re interested in trying something similar or simply making information about the CCSS available to all of your school’s families, be sure to take a look at the Daly City event agenda and invitation flyers in English, Spanish and Arabic, shared with us by the AFT’s Giselle Lundy-Ponce.

You may also find useful information on our Parent Information page in the Common Core and ELLs section on Colorín Colorado.  The page includes free CCSS guides, videos, and toolkits for parents which are available in multiple languages and can be used for parent meetings or outreach events.

We’d also love to hear from you about Common Core ELL parent outreach in your schools:

  • What outreach efforts have you seen for ELL parents around the Common Core in your district, if any?
  • What questions have you heard from parents about the Common Core?
  • Are ELL parents being updated this spring about assessments, pilot tests, and other changes that are affecting testing this year?

Related Resources

AFT: Reclaiming the Promise

To learn more about the American Federation of Teachers' Reclaiming the Promise initiative and find related videos, fliers, and more, visit the AFT website.

 

Photo credit: San Francisco Examiner, 2014.

Share My Lesson. For teachers, by teachers.

National Education Association. How Educators Can Advocate for English Language Learners.

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