• It was wonderful to see someone in my family going to college. Now I know that I can go to college too.

    Rodolfo Bejar

MEXICO EN WAPATO

Wapato ClassroomMexico en Wapato is a unique collaboration partnering Wapato families from Mexican heritage, Wapato community organizations, including Sister Rose House, the Northwest Learning and Achievement Group, Wapato Literacy Project, Wapato Public Library, the City of Wapato, and the Mexican Ministry of Education in the Mexican state of Zacateca.

Each year, the Ministry of Education sends a team of Mexican teachers to Wapato to provide a four-week academic camp for nearly 100 Wapato children. The partnership is seven years old, nurtured by Sister Mary Ellen Robinson from Sister Rose House of Wapato. In 2015, the Zacatecan Ministry of Education sent ten teachers; in 2016, they have sent fourteen teachers. Each year the collaborating partners deepen and enrich the curriculum; families participate year after year. This strong support of education helps students each year when they return to Wapato School District classrooms.

Wapato ClassroomThe educational program that has evolved is a co-design between the Mexican-Wapato parents, the Zacatecan teachers, and community partners. The program reinforces the value of family engagement in their children’s education, a high priority in Wapato School District. It allows Spanish speaking parents to expose their children to Spanish-speaking teachers, who bring also the culture and history of Mexico to their month-long engagement with students.

This community organization/Mexican government/parent collaboration is unique in our area. Parents pay a portion of the costs for their children to attend. Community partners fund-raise and find in-kind support to defray the costs of attendance for those students’ with limited resources.

Wapato ClassroomThis community organization/Mexican government/parent collaboration is unique in our area. Parents pay a portion of the costs for their children to attend. Community partners fund-raise and find in-kind support to defray the costs of attendance for those students’ with limited resources.

A new initiative this year and last has been a family literacy program that engages students and their parents to read wordless picture books. Some parents have limited reading ability in English; some also have limited literacy in their first language of Spanish. However, educators know that the most important part of family literacy is that parents reinforce the value of reading. Through new and cutting-edge, research-based curricula, Mexico en Wapato Mexican teachers help guide students and their parents to learn how to ‘read’ a wordless picture book – engaging in consideration of plot, character development, morality – all by engaging in high quality, award-winning wordless picture books. Research indicates that when parents engage in this level of reading, children hear more sophisticated language than if they were reading only the printed texts in elementary books. Wapato ClassroomIn our programming, parents support reading in the home, demonstrate literacy techniques, and build the skills their children need to be successful in our schools. The additional benefit of this strategy is that parents can support their children reading and learning both English AND Spanish. Most recent research demonstrates that learning in one’s home language as well as English strengthen vocabulary, deepens critical thinking and helps our children build competence in two world languages.

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