Six Strategies for Enhancing Hispanic Parent Involvement
Remove language barriers between
the parents and the schools. Provide
culturally sensitive translators.
Increase the number of Spanish-speaking school staff. Create a telephone or electronic messaging service
to parents in Spanish. Increase written
communications in Spanish. Develop a
core of Hispanic parent volunteers.
Address economic obstacles that
hinder parental involvement.
Recognize that economic survival is a
primary concern that limits the ability
of many parents to attend school
meetings. Coordinate with local
agencies to support sponsorship and
referral systems for Hispanic families
and their children. Advocate for local families with various
social services agencies.
Schedule activities to make transportation easier for parents.
Conduct meetings, activities, and workshops in a location
parents can reach by public transportation or walking.
Ensure that hours of teacher conferences, activities,
meetings, and workshops match the hours Hispanic parents
Empower and motivate parents to get
involved. Encourage parents to participate and become part of the school
governance. Encourage parents to
maintain Hispanic culture and language. Invite them to come to class
to talk about their home country and
Promote teacher-parent relations.
Take time to listen to parents and
respond with an open communication
style. Make home visits to parents
who cannot come to the schools.
Realize that some parents may lack
formal education and have difficulty
helping their children with school
Acknowledge and empower parental aspirations. Actively
listen to what inspires and motivates parents and students,
and nurture these aspirations. Implement parent training
programs. Invite successful Hispanic professionals to
school. Offer English language classes for parents. Ensure
that the school environment is safe and nurturing for
children. Create shared governance among parents, students, and school personnel.
and living situations. Jose’s mother, for
her part, has delayed her return to El
Salvador, despite economic hardships,
because, she says, “Now I know it’s
important for him to learn well here
first, so he can keep learning better
An Unbroken Circle
We like to think that our willingness to
seek out Jose’s mother and other parents
like her has given us a reputation as a
school that cares about each student and
family on a personal level. Surprisingly,
the sign that we may have succeeded
came from an unexpected quarter, not
from our neediest families but from one
of our most affluent.
The crucial next step
is nurturing Hispanic
One Friday evening last fall, as Mrs.
Dietz and I prepared to close up the
building, we were approached by Mrs.
Del Valle, a Hispanic parent whose comfortable suburban house is socially and
economically light-years away from the
trailer park a mile up the road. Knowing
that her daughter, Lili, attends Daly and
does well in school, we were curious
about what her concern might be.
Mrs. Del Valle had repeatedly, if
politely, declined our personal invita-
tions to participate in Hispanic parent
outreach efforts. In fact, when we
spoke with her individually about the
importance of these efforts last year,
she waved us away, dismissing us
with a curt, “No thank you. We don’t
need that.” We were pleasantly sur-
prised, therefore, when Mrs. Del Valle
This week my husband and I have our
anniversary. So we thought we would cel-
ebrate by getting together a Thanksgiving
dinner—the turkey, the potatoes, the veg-
etables, the dessert—and we want to give
it to a family, someone who doesn’t have
any. Can you help us do that? I know
that you really care about our families. Of
course, we don’t want anyone to know.