International Parents Group

Get Involved

Parental support plays an important role in the success of young people. Yet, for many parents not born in this country, the educational system can be unfamiliar and frustrating to navigate. The Welcome Project offers support to immigrant parents, both in undertanding the school system in Somerville and in accessing information for higher education.

In the summer of 2010, we partnered with Tufts University's Eliot Pearson Department of Child Development to hear from immigrant parents about their views and concerns about supporting their children in the Somerville public schools. The focus was on Mystic Public Housing Development parents whose children attend the adjacent Healey School (K-8).

We conducted 3 focus groups, interviewed several more, and completed surveys with 15 additional parents. Bilingual high school students in the Liaison Interpreters Program of Somerville (LIPS) were trained as co-investigators and served as cultural brokers and assisted with interpretation at meetings, during interviews. They also conducted surveys. More information about the LIPS youth and the summer project is found here.

In the fall of 2010, parents formed their own International Parents Group and began holding regular meetings with the Healey School Principal and Ward 4 School Committee member (Christine Rafal). The parents identified several priorities for inclusion in plans for the school, including better language interpretation and translation and improved cultural understanding and literacy by school administrators, teachers, and students. These remain their priorities today.

If you are interested in participating in the our International Parents Group, please contact Gillian Burleson at esol.somerville@gmail.com.