As the number of Celina ISD students in the English as a Second Language program continues to grow, the district is looking to support parents at all grade levels.
This week, CISD kicked off its “Parent University,” a program designed to help parents of ESL and bilingual students support their English-learning students at home.
Vanessa Jaramillo, the district’s ESL/Bilingual coordinator, said the program, which involves monthly meetings, will use lessons from curriculum written by the Latino Family Literacy Project. However, she said, the program isn’t just for Spanish speakers--it’s for parents of any ESL student.
Jaramillo said the program is divided into two groups. One caters towards pre-Kindergarten through fifth grades and focuses on teaching parents how to support students when it comes to reading and math fluency.
Sessions for that group will involve reading elementary-level readers and teaching parents what kind of reading questions to ask their students at home. Jaramillo said reading at home in addition to what is done at school makes a big difference.
“It gives them a head start,” she said. “They’re more creative, they have a better imagination, they know how to ask questions when they’re reading versus having to learn all of that when they come into school on top of learning the phonetics piece.”
Jaramillo said while the Latino Family Literacy Project program didn’t come with a math curriculum, CISD’s Parent University will include information about how to help students with math fluency at home.
“Usually when you have a bilingual program, your bilingual students score higher in math than they do in reading, and it’s the opposite for our bilingual students,” Jaramillo said. “So I feel like there’s a discrepancy there, and we need to kind of fill it. And we’re doing a lot in the schools, but having that support from home is really important.”
Meanwhile, a group catering more to sixth through 12th grades will focus on college readiness.
Jaramillo said some CISD students may have an interest in going to college but may not know how to get information, and they may not have anyone in their families who have been. She said the program for the sixth through 12th grade group involves reading a book about a young girl’s journey to getting accepted into college.
“It kind of goes along with teaching the family how to look for the right fit for their student, whether it’s a trade school, community college or university. It kind of guides them through that,” Jaramillo said. “We’re hoping that we get some help from the community and from our surrounding colleges and even some local universities that will come in and speak with them and help them through the process.”
Jaramillo said the district currently has about 270 ESL and bilingual students. She’s hoping to have a minimum of 20 parents attending the sessions in each group. She added that the district’s Spanish Honor Society members will offer a homework help room and enrichment room for young children while parents meet for the district program.
The district held an informational meeting for the program this week, and the first session is scheduled for Oct. 27 at the Celina Administration Building. The final one is slated for April 13. Jaramillo said there are hopes for a graduation ceremony for participating parents in May.