About a dozen parents spoke about the needs of Hispanic students at the Evanston/Skokie School Board meeting on Monday night.
The parents, most with children in Washington School, and other community members spoke during public comment in English and Spanish, with translation provided on-the-fly by Board member Sergio Hernandez.
Several parents pleaded with the board to provide more resources to close the opportunity and achievement gaps for Hispanic elementary school students.
Speakers requested more bilingual literacy teachers, more bilingual social workers and more classroom aides.
One mother asked that more attention be paid to the transition from elementary to middle school. She said her son, who had done well at Washington, wasn’t as prepared as she thought he was when he went to middle school.
A student entering eighth grade who had participated in the two-way immersion Spanish/English program in elementary school encouraged the board to expand the TWI program into middle school to encourage better performance.
“We spend more on taxes,” said one parent, “but we don’t see better educational outcomes.”
One mother cited research indicating that bilingual students get higher literacy scores than English-only or other monolingual students.
Both Board President Sunith Kartha and Superintendent Paul Goren thanked the speakers, especially since they had to sit through a 90-minute finance committee meeting, also translated on-the-fly by Hernandez, before they were able to speak at the working board meeting.