There’s no secret formula for parent engagement. And when English isn’t their first language, the obstacles seem more daunting. Connecting with ELL parents can help educators better support students—and there are some strategies to help.

According to Rick Castaneda, a training specialist at Rosetta Stone, the key is to develop a multi-step approach that gives parents several different opportunities to connect with the school and their children’s teachers while also making sure that the parent, no matter their language, feels like a key part of the decision-making process.

In his edWebinar, “Involve Parents for Greater English Learner Success,” Castaneda discussed six key areas of parental involvement, based on the work of Johns Hopkins professor Joyce L. Epstein, PhD, and how each one helps build a stronger relationship.

6 ways you can connect with ELL parents

1. Parenting: Don’t call them parenting classes—this is not about trying to teach families to be better parents. Instead, these strategies are about finding opportunities to get parents involved with the school by reaching out to them rather than waiting for them to come to the school. Examples include parent workshops, regular parent support meetings, and mentoring programs with other ELL parents and families. Most of the time, the goal is to get the parents into the school building and make them feel welcome in the school community.

About the Author:

Stacey Pusey is an education communications consultant and writer. She assists education organizations with content strategy and teaches writing at the college level. Stacey has worked in the preK-12 education world for 20 years, spending time on school management and working for education associations including the AAP PreK-12 Learning Group. Stacey is working with edWeb.net as a marketing communications advisor and writer.


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