On April 21, 2018 SEE-TEL leaders Dr. Lina Trigos-Carrillo and Project Coordinator Dawn Thieman attended Bayless School District’s International Parent Forum. This event preceded the District’s 150th Anniversary celebration for the entire community.
The forum was well-attended by parents representing Bayless’ diverse community, including family members from Albania, Bosnia, Chile, Kurdistan, Mexico, and Vietnam. Families were invited in person by the EL teachers, flyers were sent home, and an invitation was also sent through Dojo (the district’s communication “app”). The district offered interpreters, childcare, and free lunch.
The Bayless EL Specialist team began the event by encouraging parents to share their ideas for building more inclusive environments for all cultures and for strengthening relationships among family members, the school community and surrounding neighborhoods. One great activity asked parents to explain “how you can help;” this positioned parents as experts and leaders with knowledge to share with their school community. Parents provided a range of ideas, including teaching traditional games, phrases and writing in their languages, and creating musical instruments together. When the conversation moved to address what the district could change, one mother said she did not like when they pulled her child out of class for EL services, because later he did not know what assignments he had for the next day. A teacher replied that they took their comments very seriously and would work to solve this situation. The event ended with professional salsa dancers and salsa dance instruction, and children, their parents and teachers gladly participated in the entertainment.