Family outreach and communication is an important component of the English Learner (EL) services. School-based Bilingual Family Specialists serve as a connection between families and the school. The Office of English Learners (OEL) sponsors school-based parent workshops that inform parents about the American school system, ways to effectively navigate it, suggestions for monitoring their child(ren)’s progress, and what they can do to become a parent leader and equal member of their child(ren)’s educational team. An active Advisory Committee on English Learners (ACEL) makes yearly recommendations for program improvement. The OEL partners with community organizations such as Edu-Futuro, Communities in Schools, and a variety of ventures that enhance the program.
Bilingual Family Specialist
The Bilingual Family Specialist is a bilingual/bicultural individual who works closely with school staff members (e.g., Office of English Learners office staff, special education staff, teachers, administrators), students, parents, and professionals in the community. They serve as a connection between bicultural families and the school and interprets and translates informal communications. In addition to their many duties, the secondary Bilingual Family Specialists plan and implement the annual Latino Youth Leadership Conference (LYLC). Elementary and secondary Bilingual Family Specialists plan and support Harvesting Dreams and other countywide activities.
The EL Counselor provides direct counseling services to English learners and their families in the assigned secondary school(s). These services include: individual and group counseling, workshops for parents and students, and crisis intervention for ELs referred by teachers, administrators, guidance counselors, nurses, school staff, parents, and/or self.
Workshops, Activities and Events
Latino Youth Leadership Conference (LYLC)
The Latino Youth Leadership Conference is held annually for selected Latino students in 8th through 12th grades. The purpose of this one-day conference is to:
- Foster leadership among Latino students by involving the students in the coordination of the event;
- Inspire Latino students and provide positive role models by bringing successful Latinos as keynote speakers and workshop presenters;
- Expose students to a college campus by holding the conference at a local college or university; and
- Provide college and career information.
PARTICIPA …en mi Educación was initiated in 1997 by one of Arlington Public Schools Special Projects that focuses on promoting family involvement. The PARTICIPA curriculum is authored by Dr. Rosa Briceño with support from Arlington Public Schools. It consists of 9 two-hour workshops that use a participatory, hands-on, and problem-posing approach to develop the capacity, skills, and confidence of Latino parents to participate actively in their children’s education. PARTICIPA …en mi Educación was written in Spanish and has been translated into English, Mongolian, and Arabic.
This program was designed to help rebuild relationships between parents and children who were separated during the immigration process and have recently or in previous years been reunited.The curriculum helps parents develop strategies to resolve conflicts that impact their children’s well-being and internal family function, while alleviating the effects of trauma that may have occurred during the separation and reunification process.
Advisory Committee on English Learners (ACEL)
The Advisory Committee on English Learners (ACEL) comprises a diverse group of parents and community members who meet monthly. The Committee studies topics pertinent to ELs and their families, develops a report, and makes recommendations to the Advisory Council on Teaching and Learning (ACTL) each year.
Edu-Futuro supports and empowers Latino and other immigrant families through educational programs and leadership development while teaching the broader community about the Latin American culture.
Edu-Futuro’s mission: To empower immigrant and underserved youth and families through mentorship, education, leadership development, parent engagement, and workforce development.