During the 2014-2015 school year, an estimated 4.6 million public school students were considered English language learners (ELL). This statistic is higher than 2004 figures which identified about 4.3 million ELL students.
With more ELL students entering the US public school system, school administrators are facing two challenges: communicating with students and communicating with their parents.
After all, non-English-speaking families want to know how their child is doing academically, emotionally, and socially, too. To help, we’ve compiled 3 three ways to enhance parent communication in a multi-cultural environment:
1. Integrate ELL Cultural Traditions Throughout the School Community
Becoming familiar with the cultural traditions of the ELL families in your school community enhances your ability to create a welcoming and respectful school climate. Learning about your students' traditions may help avoid miscommunication or cultural mistakes that can damage the parent-teacher relationship.
2. Look for Ways ELL Parents Can Help with Student Homework
ELL parents may feel intimidated by homework, especially if they have limited English skills. Look for ideas that you can share with parents about supporting their child, including:
- Asking Their Child About Their School Day
- Keeping Regular Contact with Teachers
- Ensuring Their Child’s Homework Is Completed
3. Implement a School Notification System
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, minorities will become the majority of children under 18 by 2023.Tried-and-true school communication methods, such as fliers and newsletters aren’t reaching all parents anymore. School notification systems are a great tool to help manage this demographic shift. School notification systems with multi-language translation help streamline parent communication and keep non-English speaking families informed.
As the world grows more interconnected and diverse, schools will need to adapt their parent communication styles to stay connected with their entire school community.