By: School District 69
Published: May 8, 2014
On Monday May 5, Lincoln Junior High School held the third in a three-part series of events intended to engage the families of ELL (English Language Learner) students.
64 students and family members attended "Family Literacy Night," a celebration of students’ accomplishments in writing and reading. Sixth, seventh, and eighth graders read their poems, shared stories, and even performed songs. These young authors come from countries around the world including Iraq, Mexico, Romania, Haiti, and India.
There are 36 ‘home languages’ identified among Lincoln students. At the start of the school year, teacher Haidee Fernandez was having difficulty connecting with immigrant parents.
“With so many different languages spoken here at Lincoln, it was difficult to communicate with parents. We also have been getting an influx of student refugees, who come from war-torn countries, with very little formal schooling.”
Based on this need, Lincoln’s team of ELL teachers collaborated with Community School Manager Erin Moore to plan a series of three family nights geared towards building relationships with parents and linking families with resources.
Lincoln and School District 69 collaborate with Y.O.U., a non-profit organization that serves youth and families, to build a Community School initiative, which aims to make the school a hub of resources beyond the school day for students and their families.
Among other efforts in the Community School initiative, Lincoln has partnered with the Skokie Public Library, the Niles Township ELL Parent Center, and the Language Access Resource Center to share information with ELL parents about classes, workshops, and supports available in the community.
Asma Aamir, parent of a Lincoln student, commented on this effort, saying, “A family event at school goes a long way in helping parents learn about the cultures of different communities in the Skokie area.”