Engaging Your Latino Families During This Time of Crisis

School leaders across the globe are rethinking teaching and learning as a matter of necessity during the COVID-19 crisis. At the forefront of the minds of school leaders is whether the traditional forms of outreach and engagement meet the needs of all members of their community, including the Latino community. First and foremost, don’t assume, listen and ask questions to determine what your community needs.

This quick reference guide provides school leaders with some key questions and strategies that can be leveraged to successfully engage Latino families during remote learning.

As a principal, teacher or counselor, what should I know about my students’ home life that can assist me in serving all of my students?

  • Students may be taking care of siblings as parents continue to work.
  • Students are adapting to new ways of learning and new technology in a home environment, often with limited support from a guardian.
  • Students may have limited access to internet connectivity.
  • Students are seeking connections with their peers, teachers, and counselors.
  • Students might have new part time jobs and not have as much time for academic work.
  • Students may not have transportation to get to meal pick-up sites or wireless hotspots.

What are some of the unique challenges facing the Latino community?

  • Lack of access to reliable information sources, including translation or bilingual services.
  • Inability for some families to access federal or state aid in a timely manner.
  • Difficulty managing work and family life
  • Food scarcity
  • Undocumented family members
  • DACA recipients

Key questions to ask families and students.

  • How can the school best serve your families?
  • What resources are needed in your community?
  • How can we help you support your student’s academic success?

What is the best way to communicate with families & students?

  • Encourage bilingual staff or translators to connect with families by text/phone/email. (Note: Remember to build in time for staff to create translation of text.)
  • Find out how families are communicating in their own communities (WhatsApp is very common in most countries outside of the USA, and within the Latino community).
  • Listen to families as they navigate their new normal.
  • Create an online space where families can ask questions and receive answers.
  • Ensure families are connected to Power School (access codes distributed).

What resources can we share with students and families?

  • Create a bilingual web-page or resource page on your school website to provide accurate information about COVID-19. See Juntos Website as example.
  • Provide simple examples in Spanish on ways parents can support their student’s academic success.