December 14, 2020
You may have immigrant families in your community who are slowly finding their way in their new environment. As a 21st CCLC professional, you can combine Y4Y’s resources on student voice and choice, family engagement, strategic partnerships and the new course on supporting English learners to be confident you’re capturing the student-level needs of your immigrant student population. Once you know what you don’t know, you’ll be better poised to support their academic needs. Your program can also be a bridge between their families and important resources in your community.
This program year opened to news that there would be greater flexibility in defining your 21st CCLC program, and many of you worked with your state education agency (SEA) to offer support during the school day. Whatever your support looks like this year, here are a few tools to help your program conduct a mid-year temperature check on what may be your most isolated students and families.
- If you haven’t already, consider customizing and administering the Family Goal-Setting Survey to your community to ensure that family voice has a role in your programming.
- Y4Y’s webinar series, 21st CCLC Programs in a Virtual World (specifically, Part 2, Webinar 2: Engaging Families Online), explores resources such as the Remind communication platform that would enable you to translate materials confidently.
- Even at this midpoint in the program year, consider having students take the Learning Styles Questionnaire, especially if progress isn’t matching your goals.
- If you’re still in troubleshooting mode, Y4Y’s Understanding and Overcoming Challenges to Family Engagement tool can help your team brainstorm about barriers specific to your community, and how best to address them.
- Speaking of brainstorming, bring staff along in this needs assessment with the Y4Y Training to Go Assessing the Needs of English Learners.
- Revisit the course’s planning checklist for any additional steps you may have overlooked in supporting English learners.
Armed with a few more data points after reflecting on these facets of planning, you can reshape some of your academic implementation.
- Review the full complement of Y4Y tools developed to help English learners build on what they already understand about language to adapt to their new environment.
- Of course, learning the language is only one aspect of these students’ education. You can seek out ways to support their STEM learning with resources like the STEM Everywhere tool for tips on the kind of versatility that might be demanded after you have taken a deeper dive into these students’ specific needs.
- Subject areas like social studies can be another great divide. You may not know what you don’t know about the governments or civic structures your immigrant students studied in their home countries. Y4Y’s Civic Learning and Engagement course can offer academic supports that promote incorporating multiple points of view, for example, or bring learning down to a community level for ease of understanding with the Investigating Issues in Your Community tool.
If you discover that your students’ basic living needs are just as pressing as their academic needs, step outside your own comfort zone to get creative on behalf of these families:
- Y4Y’s Community Asset Mapping Needs to Partners tool has universal application for matching resources to families, as does the Planning for Developing Program Champions tool.
- Check out Y4Y’s interview with Shannon Browning, 21st CCLC program director at Macomb Public School in Oklahoma, for ideas on how your program can help address food insecurity.
- Review Y4Y’s Trauma-Informed Care Click & Go to reacquaint yourself with signs of trauma, and take steps that are appropriate to your host organization’s protocols to ensure the safety and well-being of all your students.
Never let “what you don’t know” hinder your efforts on behalf of any students in your 21st CCLC program. Albert Einstein himself noted, “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.” Coming to grips with “not knowing” is a sign of growth in your practice, and will be all the incentive you need to keep looking for answers.