It’s that time of year — when mornings find kids at bus stops and evenings find parents filling out school contact and health forms. Back-to-school is upon us! At this time of year, I think about parents who are struggling because English is not their primary language to figure out school policies and to understand how to help their child succeed in school.
ENB’s ESOL for Parents and Caregivers Initiative addresses the English learning needs of immigrant families with a child in the Boston Public Schools. The results have been impressive – moms and dads better able to help with homework, engaged in the parent council, regularly attending parent-teacher conferences (without fear!), and advocating for the specific needs of their child.
None of this happens without English language skills.
Here’s what one student in East Boston experienced:
When we arrived in Boston from Brazil three years ago, I didn’t speak any English, and my kids spoke a little. It was so difficult as we had many problems in the beginning of our time. After I put my children in school, I looked for an English class for me and found the Family School at the Otis. I started in level 1 and quickly moved to level 2. English was hard for me at first, but I studied any free time I had and I tried never to miss class. I knew that English was the most important thing for me. With English I can help my family more, my children at school, I found better work and started to do things by myself. English is important, but it is also necessary to live a better life in the United States. If it wasn’t for these free programs in East Boston, it would be impossible for me to have learned English. This program allows the families who study to have the hope of having a dignified and better life.“
Here’s wishing all the child and adult students a successful and engaging 2018-19 school year!