Janelle Styons (Charlotte ‘07): What do I do to get more parents involved?
What do I do to get more parents involved? This question becomes even more pressing when many of the parents and they are trying to reach speak Spanish as their primary language. Janelle Styons (Charlotte ‘07), principal at Lebanon Road, is finding a way to meet her parents where they are. As a 2016 World Affairs Council Scholar, she’s developing the skills she needs in Spanish to ensure that her students are getting the skills they need in school. Hear from Janelle on her experience:
A big part of my job as principal of Lebanon Road involves meeting with students and parents to help them set academic goals. I typically meet with 60-80 students and parents each school year. Often times, many of my students who are quickly approaching grade level but not yet performing on grade level speak Spanish as their first language. Often times, their parents prefer to speak Spanish at conferences. I applied for the World Affairs Council Scholarship so I could participate in a Spanish immersion program in Mexico and develop my Spanish conversational skills. Factors such as language and cultural barriers can make establishing school-parent relationships challenging. With this experience, I can speak directly with parents and students at each conference and have a more authentic and meaningful conversation. In addition to meeting the needs of my families, it's also important for me to model for my students and staff the importance of being a lifelong learner and stepping outside my comfort zone.