When my family arrived in the United States from Peru in the mid-1990s, my parents had a difficult time supporting my education. They were intimidated by a system they didn’t understand, felt uncomfortable talking with my teachers in English and had little guidance on how they should get involved at my school.
Over the past several years, Education First has helped Univision Communications, the country’s largest Hispanic media company, develop a national engagement campaign targeting millions of Spanish-speaking Hispanic families – much like my own. Building and sustaining relationships with these families isn’t easy. But as our work with Univision shows, three strategies can bring families to your side, equipping them with information to advocate for their children’s education.
Make the complicated simple: Eliminate the uncertainty and intimidation families often feel by giving them easy-to-follow tips and advice demystifying topics like parent-teacher conferences, assessments and college preparation. Univision develops tools and resources in Spanish that explain in layman terms just how our education system works. Univision’s Clave al Exito offers an accessible grade-by-grade guide to the Common Core standards with the right amount of information to help families understand what their children are learning in school.
Show up and be visible: Build trust with families by establishing a strong presence in the local Hispanic community. Univision reaches millions through television, radio and the web. But the company knows that to engage families in a meaningful, lasting way, you need boots on the ground. Univision regularly hosts local events, like its annual education fairs in major cities across the country, where company staff provide families with hands-on support and encouragement.
Leverage your partnerships: Disseminate timely information to a wider audience of families by collaborating with community-based organizations. These organizations can also help you gather ongoing intelligence on what families really need from you. Univision partners with the National Council of La Raza, League of United Latin American Citizens, National PTA and others to coordinate communications and compare notes on messaging that resonates well with Hispanic families. Together, these partners are talking to families about what the Common Core standards and the new aligned assessments mean for their children’s education.
Spanish-speaking Hispanic families want their children to succeed, but often don’t know how to be fully engaged in their education. Follow our three strategies to help these families take action to support their children where it matters most, at home and in school.
Read more about our work in this area in the “Helpful Resources” section at the bottom of the page.