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Latinx summit answers parent's questions about school, COVID-19 and more

Spanish-speaking parents will have an opportunity to learn and ask questions on a variety of topics during ELPASO Latinx parents summit.
Laura Hess, executive director of SVVSD Special Education Department, and Dennis Rastatter, Executive Director of BVSD Special Education Department, giving a presentation in Manhattan Middle School during the 2019 Latinx parents summit. (Photo courtesy of ELPASO)

Lea esta historia en español aquí.


ELPASO, Engaged Latino Parents Advancing School Outcomes, an organization that focuses on empowering well-informed and skilled Latino parents to ensure that their children are ready for kindergarten, will be hosting its fifth annual Latinx parent summit tomorrow and Sunday.

Both days, fom 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., local and international presenters will be leading one-hour sessions in Spanish, via Zoom, about a variety of topics, including mental health in the times of COVID-19, home finances, domestic abuse, discrimination, remote learning, and more, said Tere Garcia, ELPASO executive director.

The topics for the two-day summit were selected by parents across the county to ensure the information is relevant and timely, said Garcia. It is important to Garcia that all presenters be able to speak Spanish so that bilingual and monolingual parents receive all the information available.

“Our parents deserve that. They are important. They belong in the community and they have to have the information in the language they understand best,” Garcia said.

The format of the sessions will entail 20 to 25 minutes of information presentation with the rest of the time dedicated to questions and answers, said Garcia. “The parents said they wanted enough time to tell (their) stories, to ask questions, to hear the answers.”

According to Silvana Morsu, summit coordinator, the purpose of this summit, is to provide information and resources to families as well as foster an environment for conversation.

Morsu is also a mother living in Boulder County and has attended the summit for the last three years. “(As a mom) I felt like the topics were really very useful. They gave me a more comprehensive understanding of how to talk about certain things with my children,” she said. As one of the topics of particular interest is online learning, Lara Var Martre, program coordinator at Bridging Digital Divide and summit presenter, has seen parents and children struggling and will be addressing questions about basic computer skills during her talk .

“(The use of technology) is really really important. This is the future, we’re not gonna go backwards and this is the culture of school relationships and how things have to be done for now and probably in the future. It’s essential to actually learn these things,” she said, adding that she hopes parents will leave her session feeling empowered to take a more active role in their children’s education during this time.

“Sometimes when people come from a culture where they are assuming that the teachers and the school that's the authority and that they are not empowered to drive communication, to make the complaints, to ask the questions, it's interpreted as indifference,” Van Martre said. “It's important to… show we care, that we are interested, we want to learn, we can learn. Maybe we don’t know all the rules to the game and we are trying to figure them out.”

Registration to the summit can be completed online or by calling Silvana Morsu at 720-253-8534. It is free for parents, according to Garcia. ELPASO is working closely with Longmont Public Media, which will be managing the Zoom platform.

According to Garcia, local businesses will be donating gifts to be raffled at the end of every presentation. This year, ELPASO expects to get over 200 attendees. “(Parents) are so eager to know all the important issues so they can get ahead like everybody else. This conference gives them the opportunity to (learn).”

Silvia Romero Solís

About the Author: Silvia Romero Solís

Después de viajar por el mundo, Silvia llegó a establecerse en Longmont. Ella busca usar su experiencia en comunicaciones y cultura para crear más equidad y diversidad en las noticias de Longmont.
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