students and parents attending first bpac event

Chicago Heights School District 170 recently conducted its first Bilingual Parent Advisory Committee (BPAC) Spanish Literacy Night of the 2017-18 school year at Roosevelt School.

The session was the initial gathering of the parents of bilingual students and focused on various activities that reinforced the importance of literacy skills while sharing learning techniques to use in the home environment.

"It is vitally important that we involve parents in their children's education process," said Shannon Vera, District 170's Bilingual Education Director.

"By sharing teaching and learning strategies with their families, and by augmenting the classroom experiences that the students encounter every day in school, we sincerely believe that we can maximize the success of all of the bilingual students in our district."

This initial BPAC Family Literacy event saw District 170 staff present various aspects of teaching literacy in the bilingual classroom.

While discussing Spanish letter sounds and syllables and different ways of interpreting them, the staff also introduced reading skills and strategies for Spanish language learners. Later, they identified distinguishing characteristics of Spanish reading materials at various grade levels, stressed the importance of reading and practicing skills with the children, and taught parents strategies to use at home.

The evening included a reading of "The True Story of the Three Little Pigs" and a discussion of the original fable, and follow-up activities during which teachers engaged both parents and students in literacy activities detailing the similarities and differences in both versions of the classic fairy tale.

"The closing activity on "The Three Pigs" was especially important in that it showed parents that learning activities can be successful outside of the classroom," Vera stated.

"By showing parents that literacy activities can involve different strategies and techniques and that those activities can be done at home, in the car, even while running errands, we can broaden the learning experience for all of our bilingual students."

Upon leaving the event, each student received a take-home reading bag containing the Spanish version of "The True Story of the Three Pigs" and various Spanish literacy skills and activities.

Closing activities also included raffling off gift cards donated by CHSD170 community partners Food for Less, the Chicago Heights Market, and Los Tres Mangos de Michoacan.

The next BPAC Spanish Literacy Night is scheduled for February at Garfield School and will focus on Social and Emotional Learning.