Staff at Bordewich-Bray Elementary School find it difficult to break through barriers with parents who only speak Spanish and get them involved at the school.
Some 150 invitations were sent to those parents inviting them to "Noche Hispaña," scheduled from 6-7:30 p.m. Monday. As of yesterday, one parent had responded.
"We are hoping that maybe our mail didn't reach some of them yet," said Pat Borst, an English as a second language teacher at the school. "We put in enclosures to return to us."
The school's first Hispanic Information Night last year featured several area agencies that provided information on their services.
"Last year was a huge success, but we had way too many things going on," said Evelia Reyes, an ESL paraprofessional at Bordewich-Bray.
Monday night's event will target reading to children, information on citizenship and becoming involved at the school.
"This is also the time when we're going to try and recruit parents to volunteer," Reyes said. "Even though these parents may speak no English, a lot of them do want to be involved, but they just don't know how."
At the elementary school level, Bordewich-Bray has the Carson City School District's third largest population of limited-English proficient students. These students make up 21.9 percent of the student body, according to nevadareportcard.com.
Empire Elementary School at 64.2 percent and Mark Twain Elementary School at 36.3 percent, have even more students with limited understanding of English.
"We all know when parents are more involved, the kids will have more success academically," Borst said.
In addition to Monday's Noche Hispaña at Bordewich-Bray, several more nights may be scheduled that will cover other topics, like medical care or where to finance a home loan.
"Our big goal (of Noche Hispaña) is we are trying hard to get parents involved so they become more a part of the education process," Borst said.
Several of the school's reading specialists will be present to talk about the importance of reading. School staff will translate their comments into Spanish.
Parents should read to their children every night for at least 20 minutes, no matter what the language, Borst said.
"The parents need to understand that reading to (their children) in Spanish is equally as important as reading to them in English," she said.
Volunteer opportunities for Spanish-speaking only parents at the school include ones in ESL classrooms and in the main office.
"There are always things to be done in the office," Borst said. "I just had a secretary come to me and say they need help with phone calls to parents of Hispanic kids who are absent, to find out where they are."
Parents can also work in the office stuffing peechee folders, in the library returning books or on the phones with Spanish-speaking parents.
The staff also want Hispanic parents to become involved in the parent-teacher association.
n Contact reporter Maggie O'Neill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1219.
What: Noche Hispaña for Spanish
Where: Bordewich-Bray Elementary School, 110 Thompson St., in the cafeteria
When: 6-7:30 p.m. Monday
Information: Call Evelia Reyes at Bordewich at 283-2400.
Baby-sitting: Free at the event