Researchers at EDC are working with school leaders around the country to boost the involvement of Latino parents in their children’s education, recently focusing on an Arkansas county with one of the fastest-growing Latino populations in the United States. Researchers will work with leaders from the Helen Tyson Middle School, part of the Springdale Public Schools, to apply lessons from the EDC project PALMS—Postsecondary Access for Latino Middle-Grades Students. The results will be shared throughout the state, region, and country.
Arkansas’ Latino student population has grown rapidly over the past decade, rising in Tyson Middle School from 6 percent of enrolled students in 1995 to 39 percent in 2005. The growth is expected to continue as the local poultry- and meat-processing industries draw greater numbers of immigrants from Mexico. With nearly one-third of the 13,700 students in Springdale’s schools learning English, the district’s Latino students tend to have the lowest academic achievement in the district.
PALMS, which engages Latino parents and helps them advocate for their children and encourage them to pursue a college education, has drawn the attention of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, which recently awarded the project a three-year grant.
“We want these new students to do well, and we know that family involvement has a marked, positive effect on the success of students in school,” says EDC’s Amy Aparicio Clark. “We’re excited to work with school and community leaders in Arkansas, and help them provide the support that Latino students will need to succeed in school and go on to college and beyond.”
More than 500 school leaders nationwide have used Tools for Latino Family Outreach: Supporting Student Success in the Middle Grades and Beyond, a toolkit developed with funds from the Lumina Foundation for Education.
Originally published on January 1, 2007