Partner with parents & community groups. Veronica Martinez stressed the need for families to be educators and for schools to recognize them as such. She also uses the skills she has developed as an activist with Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson to ensure her children get the best education available. NLMH works to empower families and improve communities and their institutions.
Acknowledge feelings & trauma. Robin Osswald, an ENL teacher for 20 years, told the group that the current political climate promotes “increasing anxiety, fear, and instability” among students and families. The result, she said, is that it can be “difficult and scary to come to school activities. The fears are real and the consequences are real.”
Learn from others. Felicello said the district learned a lot from North Rockland Central School District where students come from families who speak 31 different languages and hail from 43 countries with 35% indicating that Spanish is their home language.
Help ensure that families know their rights. New Paltz, Onteora, and other districts have held workshops to explain students’ rights and to help families plan for temporary guardianship in case it’s needed. Flores is among those available to lead such sessions. He can be reached at SanctuaryColumbiaCounty@gmail.com.
Interpretation & transportation are key and pose challenges in virtually every district. While religious congregations, community groups, and activists can help fill the need for interpretation and transportation, most agreed that professional, paid interpreters are the ideal and that more robust public transportation options are needed.
Get more resources, including sample resolutions and other materials plus items mentioned in Flores’s presentation, here.