Sunday, December 5, 2010

Crawford and Ibarra Break Barriers Together

Crawford students and principalBig kids helping little kids and their families break the language barrier, that’s the breakthrough new program partnership at Crawford Educational Complex and Ibarra Elementary.

The partnership centers on Crawford’s longstanding efforts to welcome newcomers to the United States with its great resource, the New Arrival Center. Here students and their families learn the ropes of their adopted country and the English language challenges in high school.

“We’re so proud to be of service, and we have great resources because we’re so amazingly diverse,” said Principal William Laine of Crawford, where more than 17 languages other than English are spoken in the home.

At nearby Ibarra Elementary School, Principal Susie Sovereign wanted to offer more resources to the student families new to America. She turned to the expertise at Crawford’s New Arrival Center to help her students and families with the same resource needs.

Her idea was to draw on Crawford High students as translators during Ibarra’s recent parent-teacher conferences. The partnership proved a big success: Crawford students felt proud to fulfill an important function, and Ibarra’s students and parents were happy to get a helping hand from youths who had successfully met the challenges of their new homeland.

“Thanks to the Crawford Cluster working together we were able to talk to our parents in their language and discuss students' strengths and areas that need to improve,” said Alicia Flores, New Arrival Center teacher.

Said Flores, “Both schools serve an immigrant population, and if we can begin to make strong connections, we can do a better job of bringing our parents and community into the fold.”

For more information on the New Arrival Center, please contact Flores, (619) 583-2501 ext. 4108,