How Holbrook Language Academy (HOLA) School Involves Parents & Community in Their Dual Language Program
By Marga Marshall
I am the proud principal of Holbrook Language Academy (HOLA) School, a Regional Magnet School, located in Concord, CA.
Involving our parents and community in our Two Way Spanish/English Dual Immersion Program is part of our vision and mission. We understand that parents are crucial in their students’ education and at HOLA, we provide the opportunity to learn in a bilingual, multicultural, and collaborative environment that develops character and the necessary skills to succeed in a diverse, global society. We expect families, teachers, and staff to work together to foster a community environment with a focus on our children’s success.
“A significant feature of effective programs is the incorporation of family and community engagement and collaboration with the school (National Academies, 2017). Research shows that most parents of ethnically and linguistically diverse students have high aspirations for their children and want to be involved in promoting their academic success (Glick & White, 2004; Ji & Koblinsky, 2009; LindholmLeary, 2001; Sibley & Dearing, 2014). From the Guiding Principles of Dual Language Schools – third Edition”.
We promote our school dual language program through social media, website, and we have brochures we keep in the office or send out to parents and community. While sharing our program through these platforms, we inform parents of the standards our students are learning in a specific grade level, we share the events happening during the day, or refer to the instructional strategies and goals we use during the day aligned to the Three Pillars of Dual Language.
All communications to parents are always bilingual and I always include the mission or vision of our school. In my weekly “Mensaje de la Directora”, I include what to expect next week or month, what happened during the week, and send resources to parents to help support their students at home, resources about the benefits of being bilingual, and many more related to dual language so parents are always informed of the latest best practices.
During the school year, at any school event, we refer to the Three Pillars of Dual Language Education and how we integrate them during our daily instruction.
We understand that parent involvement is more than a plus and we do plan Parent Workshops during the school year. A google form is sent to parents for feedback on what they’d be interested in learning about and our #teamHolbrook works together to plan and organize evening sessions for our parents.
Our Parent Workshops always include a Principal presentation about our Two Way Dual Language program, share data about the school program, and we go over the importance of the 4+1 Language Domains. After a main presentation, different sessions are offered to parents to choose about like: literacy, reading strategies, Spanish support,…. This has always been a well received event with a high interest and attendance.