Wendy Cohen

NYC19

Westbury, New York, USA

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Challenge

In my school alone we have the richness of over 60 languages spoken by our students and families. Unfortunately, the staff members do not reflect the same diversity of the students and families and many times this becomes a barrier to family communication and involvement. In my experience, family members who don’t speak English can feel alienated from their child’s educational experience or fearful of the institution represented by the school due to their immigration status. This challenge is important because families that are empowered to participate in their local schools have more agency to advocate for their children, and more access to opportunities for success. By increasing access to information in the family’s native language, it not only increases family participation and engagement, but demonstrates to families that school staff value the ideas and that family participation matters.

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