Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Education Fairs Reach Out to Parents in Spanish

Spanish-speaking Latino parents often shy away from parent involvement programs like the PTA when many of the other members primarily speak English. For the past five years, a national Spanish-language education and college-readiness fair called the Feria Para Aprender has aimed to bridge that gap.

Radio station KUT recently reported on the fair hosted by the Austin Independent School District in Texas on Saturday. Superintendent Meria Carstarphen acknowledged that it’s difficult to reach parents when there’s a language barrier. “It is very difficult indeed to navigate the complexity of not only the AISD system for education but also for college and even after college,” she said at the event.

The Austin American-Statesman reported that about 13,000 people attended the event. The event targeted all ages and families, from pre-K to high school seniors. Exhibitors included the Girl Scouts, National Hispanic Institute, Catholic Charities and various universities.

Marisela Garcia told the newspaper that she attended because she wants her daughters to eventually go to college. ”I have a daughter in high school, and I want to stress to the younger ones, who are 6 and 8, the importance of education,” she said. “I want them to have a good foundation so that they are well-prepared to continue on to college.”

The organization’s website lists which cities are hosting the fairs. Events have been held in Los Angeles and Miami as well. Even if your local school district isn’t participating, you can write about comparable efforts to reach out to parents in Spanish in the districts you cover.

Does your school district have any special education outreach programs in Spanish or targeting Hispanic families in particular? Keep an eye out for programs that are successful (or are struggling to) involve parents in their child’s education.