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  • Writer's pictureImmigrant Connections

English Learner Family Engagement During Coronavirus

Updated: Feb 15, 2021

With so many schools closed across the country and students engaged in distance learning, let’s take a moment to think about the role of family engagement in our students' learning. In many households around the country, particularly those of higher socioeconomic status, parents are attempting to “do school” with their children. Many have the education, resources (wifi, multiple devices, books, etc.), and time to make this happen.

However, there are many other families throughout the U.S. where this will be very difficult for multiple reasons. In some cases, parents are still out of the home working, particularly in jobs like grocery stores, drug stores, and so on. In other cases, parents are at home, but may not be highly educated or have strong literacy skills. And they may not speak English. But let’s not fall into deficit thinking! The key “mantras” related to family engagement still apply:

  • Parents have the capacity to help their children regardless of their background.

  • Parents are their child’s first teacher and are experts on their children.

English Learner (EL) and immigrant parents may not know how to best support their children’s education during this time, and will be looking to you for advice. I have noticed many of lists circulating online that are full of free online educational tools, but in most cases, these are programs that English Learner students would utilize on their own.

So in addition, what resources can we offer EL/immigrant parents to support them in working with their children at home? The following resources (video clips, articles, etc.) are for non-English speaking parents to help them think through how they might support their child’s learning at home over the coming weeks. Think this isn't important? Think again. It's an equity issue!

Favorite video resources:

Favorite Radio Shows and/or Podcasts:

Favorite written resources:

Favorite websites for multilingual books online:

Know of another resource we should add to these lists? Please let us know! Email

* Contains content for parents of secondary students.

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Working from home and have a little extra time for PD? We're running a 3 week version of our online course Immigrant Family & Community Engagement in Schools from March 23 - April 10 in collaboration with English Learner Portal.

Get 20% off by using the code DISTANCING. Enroll today!

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