WILLIAMSBURG-JAMES CITY COUNTY — The Williamsburg-James City County (WJCC) School District is offering parent-learning sessions to Spanish-speaking families.
Established last year, these “Pop-up Academies” are educational sessions that are offered completely in Spanish and were created to help families who may otherwise find it difficult to be involved in their child’s education.
“About seventy-seven percent of our multi-lingual learners have a home language of Spanish,” said Coordinator for English as a Second Language and World Languages Patricia Tilghman. “Our specific target was to help assist our families in becoming engaged in our school division and our program.”
The WJCC pop-up academics have already assisted around seventy families. WJCC Schools family Liaison/Interpreter Jorge Rivas helps Spanish-speaking families learn everything from logging into division-provided computers to checking their child’s grades and attendance.
The sessions are around an hour and thirty minutes and include discussions about how to access community resources and communication channels that will help parents stay more involved in their child’s education.
“The families definitely like the information. It’s not super exciting information, but it helps them navigate our school system. It walks them through the basics and lets them know what they need to do to have all the tools needed at home to be able to get their kids’ day-to-day operations going,” said Rivas. “It’s a great amount of information that we provide through these sessions, and they get information on local resources that they can reach out to, to help their child. Whether that is for homework, or health-related. They appreciate it, and engage with us, and want to be involved.”
The information sessions are simultaneously face-to-face and virtual and are offered at all sixteen schools to new and returning Spanish-speaking families. Families will receive a toolkit in both English and Spanish as a reference.
“This year we’ve also opened it up to doing a simultaneous face-to-face and a Zoom session. Dr. Tilghman will take over the zoom part of it,” said English as a Second Language Specialist Marie Nice. “While Jorge is doing his presentation, we’ll also have families who are also receiving the same information that is being presented to the face-to-face participants.”
The information sessions will be offered from November through March.
The discussion topics include: Info Finder/School Contact information, Attendance Contact, etc., WJCC Web Page, Facebook page, Talking Points, Remind, Parent Vue, Student Vue, Canvas, Zoom, Imagine Learning, Health Form (Is My Kid Well Enough to Go to School), W&M Homework Support, Tech Support (tickets), EL Program, Code of Conduct, Attendance, and Ways to support their student at home.
For more information, people can visit WJCC’s website.