Latino Family Night at Burroughs Community School, Dec. 5

Burroughs Community School will host a Latino Family Night on Tuesday, Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. Childcare will be available during the meeting at the school at 1601 W. 50th St.

Latino Family Nights are held in conjunction with the school's regular Parent Teacher Association meetings every six weeks. Unlike the business-driven PTA meetings, however, they offer English Language Learners (ELL) and their parents networking opportunities, social services and a sense of community, said Burroughs Principal Tim Cadotte.

For example, at the last meeting, parents received a CD with an audio story that shared ways for them to help build their children's literacy at home.

Occasionally, guest speakers attend the functions, including nutritionists, dental hygienists, realtors, financial planners and other Latino organizers who can connect families with legal services.

Latino Family Nights usually draw about 70 to 100 attendees. &#8220It's about relationship-building and having fun,” Cadotte said.

Betsy May, one of the school's bilingual aides, said the whole idea behind the special meetings is to empower Latino parents.

&#8220Parents are starting to get confident enough to stand up and make suggestions about what they'd like to hear about,” she said.

At Burroughs, a kindergarten-5th-grade school, there are 120 ELL students out of a total enrollment of 514 students. It's the only school in Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) that delivers a special &#8220one-way dual immersion” program, according to Cadotte.

As part of the program, ELL students stay together in kindergarten through 2nd-grade in a class where they receive Spanish instruction. The school's one all-day kindergarten classroom is filled with ELL students. More and more English is introduced gradually so that by 3rd-grade, ELL students attend class alongside English-speakers. At that point, their learning is supplemented with bilingual materials.

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