Student translators lend their efforts to exchange valuable information with caregivers
It is a staple of most sessions when a group of interested attendees are coaxed into the portion of the session labeled “Q&A.” So, it was again recently in the Jenkins Auditorium at Malden High School when about 60 parents and their children gathered for an evening that carried a bit of school history. It was the first time an official English Learners (EL) Parents Information Night was held, with the express purpose of informing and enlightening parents of students who attend Malden High and are part of that program.
As usual, it started as a trickle, but then picked up steam as a productive back-and-forth exchange of questions and answers, following an invitation from Malden Public Schools English Learners Director Jennifer McCabe of “Any questions?” The operative word here – exchange – was made more remarkable by the fact that all of the questions and answers were delivered in a language other than English. Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Haitian Creole and Mandarin Chinese were all included as parents inquired on a number of topics, including the length of the school day and “who” and “how” of contacting someone when they need an update of their student’s academic performance.
Quite notable was the ease of the translation that was provided by some of the very students who have benefited in the past and continue to do as participants in the English Learners program. On this night, they were providing some invaluable assistance. “The student translators helped make the whole evening a success,” McCabe said. “They made a big impact by allowing both the presenters and the parents in the audience to easily share information. We were very grateful for their assistance.”
“It was a great night,” said MHS Principal Chris Mastrangelo. “Developing relationships with our parents is a top priority of ours.”
Mastrangelo noted the attendance of his four house principals as well as other staff on hand at the evening event, following a long day in the building already. “It shows their dedication and commitment to our English Learner students and the caregivers who took the time to come to the high school and receive some valuable information,” Mastrangelo said.