Hispanic Parent Meetings

DCSS Hispanic Parent Meetings

Bridging the Gap. Developing Connectivity.

Upcoming Meeting: TBD

Research studies reveal how important parental involvement is to their children's academic achievement in school. In fact, many of these studies indicate that parents are the most important partner in a child's education and schools can reap large dividends by capitalizing on their support. (Van Voorhis, 2003; Sheldon & Epstein, 2005 and National Network of Partnership Schools, 2005). However, how in Douglas County Schools can we engage a population from which we are linguistically separated?

The Hispanic community is the fastest growing ethnicity in the United States. This year the growth has been 19% and for 2030 an accelerated growth of 30% is expected.  How does this look in Georgia and specifically in Douglas School System?  We do not have to conduct an exhaustive study to notice how the Hispanic population has grown significantly in our classrooms, just take look at your google meetings and roster. Hispanics make up the largest stratum of Latinos in Douglas County Schools and when we see that 40% of Latinos in GA leave high school before graduation (no other group drops out in greater numbers), we get alarmed and wonder what we can do to retain our Hispanic students until they successfully complete high school?  The answer remains the same: to involve our Spanish-speaking parents in school. We already know that parent involvement is lowest in families below the poverty line, as well as parents, who do not speak the area’s primary language or did not graduate high school. [Child Trends (2018, September 16). Parental Involvement in Schools.]  This is the reality in our County, since 46% of Latino children in Georgia live in families where the household head lacks a high school diploma, compared to black children (12%) and white children (8 %).

Observing all this data and the desire to see our Hispanic community in Douglas be successful in our schools, we have created the Hispanic Parents Meeting. This initiative began in October 2018 with Mason Creek Middle, Mason Creek Elementary and Bright Star Elementary schools, but the success has been so significant that it has spread to the entire Douglas School District. The purpose of these monthly meetings is to inform the Hispanic community in their native language about school policies and regulations, in addition to listening to their concerns, address their needs, offer resources and provide answers to their questions.  Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, the meetings have had to be virtual this school year, which has multiplied the participation up to over 110 parents.  These meetings are bridging the gap between the Spanish speaking community and Douglas County Schools.

Among the topics we have covered are the following: Coronavirus and DCSS, SBDL and Face to Face school options, Google Classroom Parent Training, School Transportation, ESOL services, Attendance Policy, Infinite Campus Parent Portal, School Nutrition, Conversations with School Principals, Community Mental Health services and much more.

These meetings have created a safe space for Hispanic parents to have a voice and be part of DCSS.  Studies of this beautiful community show that for the majority of people that are from some Spanish-speaking countries, teachers and educational entities are regarded as figures of wisdom and knowledge.  Therefore, opportunities like this one, gives them connectivity and a sense of belonging.  We are currently in Hispanic Heritage Month and what better time to work with our Hispanic school community to inspire them to an education that will allow them to offer a legacy for future generations.