“Dariana is very humble. I don’t think she realizes the growth that she’s been able to make as a first time parent with a child in school. She makes it a point to not use her language as an excuse, and she deeply cares about the academic success of her daughter. That’s clear through her consistent and persistent texting, not only of her teacher, but of me as well, asking clarifying questions and wanting to understand what to do. That says a lot about the kind of parent she is, and her dedication to her daughter’s education, and hopefully later her own, in developing English.” - Arlene Sanchez, Boston Navigator
"I love being Jolainy’s mother. She is very intelligent. She has a capacity to learn fast that I did not have. I didn’t have many opportunities growing up, but with her and my younger baby, I want to recover what I lost. When she started school she knew absolutely no English. After only two months, in her first year of school, she was able to capture speaking. Now she’s capturing reading. She’s becoming completely bilingual. And she helps her friends now, too. She even earned a certificate for helping her peers in class.
I try to help her with everything she needs at home. For example, if she does not know how to count, I find her rice and beans and with that, I help a bit. In reading, I helped her with sight words and with words that rhyme. I asked the teacher for words she would need to learn for her test. I would look at the picture next to the word and say the word in Spanish, and she would repeat it in English.
We're learning together, too. I’m learning more English so I can help her with her homework. If I don’t understand the homework, I go on Google Translate. As I’m translating words, I’m also learning what the words mean, so I can say them with more frequency. I would say, “Oh, okay, this word sounds like this.” I really like her teacher. In the beginning of the school year, I asked for Jolainy to be in a class with a teacher who speaks our language so she could more effectively communicate with me and Jolainy. Whenever she notices I’m confused about something, she takes the time to call me and explain it. Similarly, if I don’t understand the homework, I’ll take a picture and send her a message and she’ll explain it.
My Navigator, Arlene, has helped me quite a bit with Jolainy. In the beginning of the school year, I told Arlene, “I’m going to need you to come with me to this first parent-teacher meeting,” because I get nervous when I’m front of people. Now, I go independently, but Arlene helps me prepare for the meetings. Reflecting with her has helped me understand what I can do at home to help Jolainy in school.
You can’t let language be a barrier for getting involved with your child’s school. My advice is to try to find a teacher who speaks your language, so you can better understand how to support your child. It’s important to get contact information for the teacher. Whatever they're doing at school, you can also bring to the home.
My hope for Jolainy is that she becomes a professional and financially independent. I hope she continues to learn. I love seeing her grow."