121. I am enrolled in the Arkansas Non-Traditonal Licensure Program. I look forward to meeting you next month in Little Rock.  My question for you deals with the migrant families. I work in a small rural school, with several migrant families that come to work the crops then move on. What can we do to build a communication between school and home, when neither of the parents speak English, and the student only speaks minimal English?  What is the best way to handle the situation when the parent calls the school and we don't understand what she wants, or who she needs to talk to? I am very interested in helping the students, but have minimal experience working with students who speak limited English.

You may need to find someone in the community who could help translating for the parents and the child the information that needs to be communicated. Remember that the school district must provide primary language support to that child at school so that the child understands all lessons in which he/she participates. This support may be provided by an instructional aide, a teacher who speaks the language of the child and the family, a volunteer, someone who can devote the necessary time to insuring this child is provided equal educational opportunity and equal access to the core curriculum. That is the law.

I would like to suggest, again, that the school must insure that the parents receive information in a language they can understand. You may wish to have a community person available on a volunteer basis to be ready to help translate.

If you have a Spanish teacher on the faculty, that person should help. All school forms are easily accessible to you in Spanish thanks to the efforts of Dr. Andre L. Guerrero, Director of the Programs for Language Minority Students in the Arkansas Department of Education. Dr. Guerrero has provided translated forms at specific Internet sites. I am sure he will e-mail to you how to obtain all the forms you need to inform the parents in Spanish.

You may also request from the school district that they provide a menu in Spanish when incoming phone calls are received at the district office or at the school office, providing as much information on tape in Spanish as possible. You may wish to suggest to your district that they develop a videotape in Spanish to show to parents who arrive at the school and speak no English. Be as creative as you can in thinking of possible ways to communicate when you do not know the language. For example, many museums here in California have portable tape recorders with tapes in many languages offered to tourists so that, as they visit the museum, all the necessary information is provided in their language. 

Similar devices could be made available to parents as they visit the school.


For more in-depth information, classroom demonstrations, and "coaching" of new and/or experienced teachers, Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK offers:

1. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
2. Cross Cultural Diversity - Multicultural Strategies
3. Effective Instruction for English Learners (L.E.P. students) Parts 1, 2, 3, 4
4. Promoting Academic Success in Language Minority Students
5. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
6. Oral Language / Literacy Skills / Higher Order Thinking Skills
7. 50/50 Dual Language Programs: design, planning and implementation
8. The Structure of English / The Structure of Spanish
9. Transition: Introduction to English Reading

Web Site Programs for Teachers: Numbers 1, 5, 7, 8, and 9.
Web Site Programs for
Paraprofessionals: Number 3.
Web Site Programs for
New Teachers:
Enhanced Cultural Sensitivity - The Challenge of Students Diversity
Identifying / Responding to Students' Language Needs
Phonemic Awareness: Teaching English phonics to L.E.P. students
Relationship Between Reading, Writing and Spelling
Improving Reading Performance -- Building Oral Language Skills)

Write and e-mail any additional questions you may have, and Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will establish with you, your school or district a Technical Assistance Service Contract. Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will answer all your questions promptly and to your satisfaction.


For information and credentials please click on the link below or contact directly:


Educational Consultant, Program Evaluator

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Certification (12/2006)

3113 Malcolm Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90034-3406

Phone and Fax: (310) 474-5605

E-mail:  csssadek@gte.net