Parents and families of all language backgrounds can positively impact their children’s education, and this is equally true for limited English proficient (LEP) parent engagement.
However, relative to English-speaking parents, LEP parents have lower rates of attendance at general school meetings, parent-teacher conferences, or school or class events and lower rates of volunteering or serving on a committee, according to the National Household Education Surveys.
To promote LEP parent engagement at your school, help these families see themselves as active participants in their student’s learning.
Why LEP Parent Engagement Matters
When a student’s parents or guardians become involved in his or her education, the student can see important benefits. Parent engagement can improve a student’s academic achievement, behavior, attendance, social skills, and mental health.
For LEP parents, engagement in their children’s education can provide an excellent introduction to American society and increase their awareness of other community services available to them.
Ways LEP Parent Engagement Can Happen At Your School
There are many ways parents or guardians can become engaged with their student’s education, including:
- Creating a supportive environment for their children’s learning needs
- Volunteering help as teachers’ aides, secretaries, or in other roles
- Becoming a member of the local PTA/PTO or other groups that advise local school boards and school districts
- Attending school-sponsored activities
- Communicating with teacher(s) and continually monitoring children’s progress
- Tutoring children at home using specific activities to reinforce school work
For LEP parents and families, parent engagement in the school process can be a new cultural concept. Attempts to foster LEP parent engagement can often be interpreted as a call for interference. Many LEP parents believe that the school has the qualifications and responsibility to educate their children, and that parent engagement can be counter-productive. As a result, it’s essential to explain the benefit of parent involvement to LEP parents.
How To Initiate LEP Parent Engagement
One of the most critical steps to cultivating LEP parent engagement is to eliminate barriers to involvement and provide an inclusive, collaborative environment.
To remove barriers to LEP parent engagement, offer bilingual community liaisons to bridge language and cultural differences. The bilingual community liaison should be a highly respected member of the parents’ language community who is knowledgeable about the American school system.
Another way to facilitate LEP parent engagement is to use a good translation process. When LEP parents and guardians are provided with documentation they understand and connect with, they’re more likely to get involved with their student’s education.
By increasing LEP parent engagement, you can help students improve their academic achievement and become more motivated students. If you don’t have a translation process that creates meaningful access for LEP parents and guardians, call us today at (530) 750-2040 or request a free quote. We can help you increase LEP parent engagement in your school or district.
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