Good afternoon Mr. Superintended and Board Members.
My name is Ana Salas and I am a Pleasantdale Elementary parent.
The reason why I am addressing you today is to make you aware of the needs of the Hispanic community in our area. Although the administration team at Pleasantdale is making a great effort bringing programs to our school to help us understand the school system and how to become more engage in our children’s education, we have serious communications problems. Due to the language barrier we have to face these issues on a daily basis. There are not enough translators or bilingual staff, in our schools to help us express our concerns and suggestions. Many of us, even though we are trying to learn English, are not able to effectively communicate. For instance, Pleasantdale has more than 700 Hispanic families, and there is just one person, the Community Liaison, who speaks Spanish. Oftentimes, there are so many people in need of interpretation that even though the school wants to help us they can’t. It is frustrating that we want to talk to the people who are educating our children but we are unable to do so because of the language barrier. This situation doesn’t only happen at Pleasantdale, it happens in all school where there are high percentages of Hispanic students. We want to have a better line of communication with our principal and teachers; however, we are faced with this barrier that we can’t avoid. In many occasions when we have parent teacher conferences we are forced to use our children as interpreters. Our children don’t have the vocabulary needed to interpret a specialized adult conversation.
Another serious problem we have is transportation. In many occasions buses are, either, late or don’t even come to pick up our children. Bus drivers are stressed out and under pressure and don’t take care of our children appropriately. We understand that their salaries and benefits were cut and they are having a difficult time, yet, it doesn’t justify losing their patience with our children constantly.
There is a great need for tutoring services in our community; many Hispanic children are not ready for test and the CRCT exam. Finally, if ESOL classes were provided for parents at the school we will be able to better help our children with their school work.
Thank you very much!