Upon arriving at the home of Señora Clara Flores, her children Nikolas and Allen greet me before we sit at the family table. The conversation is easy, natural, as we discuss our lives and exchange casual jokes before getting onto a thread about education.
Flores was a stand-out participant at the recent Raise Up! event at Tuggle Elementary, and when asked about her experience, she is quick to say how impressed she was with the community’s expression of strength and unity – and specifically, unity across cultures.
While many of the Latino families in the Tuggle community speak English, Ed arranged for two translators that work at the school to participate in Network Night to ensure that their voices were heard. “Us Latinos were considered and included!” she exclaims excitedly. “Not the usual consideration of us as a separate group, but we were a part of the discussion…of the community. No matter our race, we are all human, and I liked how everyone was included. The event wasn’t just for some people and not for others. Everyone had a voice.” Flores continues to talk about the extent to which the event fostered community-based consciousness as everyone wanted to help one another in the ways that they could.
The people who participated in the Latino Family discussion group showed that they wanted to help in the ways that they could; it was obvious that they were genuinely interested in helping us be a part of the school community,” Flores says. “I like how people want to not just help the kids, but also the neighbors and parents – some people even shared that they wanted to teach the Latino parents English!”
Flores notes that this is something that has the capacity to dramatically improve the lives of Latino parents and families and ultimately affect their the children’s education in a positive way. “As parents, we can become involved in our children’s studies and learn about school events [much easier] if we can read English,” she says, “because we can know about events described in the school letters that we receive.”
Señora Flores does everything she can to enhance her children’s education – which includes taking them to afterschool tutoring several times a week. Her children are doing well in school, and if their grades drop, she does everything she can to get them the help they need and since the children’s homework is in English, she relies on outside sources to supplement their education. Flores was excited to see teachers at Tuggle’s Network Night, and appreciates the opportunity to share her insights as a parent to help improve students learning: “I would love if the teachers were able to ensure that the students are able to capture and rationalize the information in their minds. That the teachers explain concepts over and over, no matter how many times it takes until the children understand.”
When asked what she wants for her children and their future, her answer is simple, one that all parents can relate to: “That they are all in good health. I want the best for them, the very best.” Through the combined efforts of the school staff and community, Señora Flores is optimistic and actively pursuing any opportunities that she knows will enhance the lives of Nikolas, Allen, and the other children she knows at Tuggle Elementary.
Look for Señora Flores in next month’s partnership feature highlighting the work at Tuggle through the Raise Up! Network and our partnership with the school and Trusted Space Partners.