Schools, parents and the entire communityincluding businessescome together to help Hispanic students.
Editors note: This article concludes a two-part series.
The African Proverb, It takes a whole village to raise a child is as true in 2013 as it has ever been. Parents, teachers, school administrators, communities and businesses need to come together to support the learning needs of students and help prepare them for success, according to Tami Espinosa. The principal at Brentwood Academy in East Palo Alto, Calif., Espinosa has been working to turn around her elementary school but the lessons shes learned can be applied anywhere.
Brentwood Academy serves a population of working-class families. More than 90 percent of the schools 600 students qualify for free or reduced price lunches. About 80 percent are English learners. Latino students comprise 75 percent of the population. To take those 600 students who are future parents, future taxpayers, future business owners, future employees, etc., and help them achieve starts early and continues on through their school careers.
Despite the socio-economic status of the schools population, Espinosa refuses to lower her expectations for Brentwoods students. We know what challenges they come with and its important to know those challenges, but its really important not to use those challenges as excuses, she explains.
So it cant be an excuse for the school staff to not meet with families because they dont speak their language. It cant be an excuse that kids dont do their homework because the whole family lives in one room. Things need to get done so we need to work with the families to come up with an action plan so students are able to do homework, so theyre able to practice what they learned in school.
Its the school systems job, with the help of the community at large, to figure out how to overcome those obstacles, according to Espinosa.