Even parents learn from Community Schools team

When the staff in our Community Schools programs talk about serving “the whole child,” they aren’t just talking about improving grades. “The whole child,” as we define it, means the students and everything in their orbit, especially the parents.

After seeing an increase in multilingual families in the community, including a burgeoning Brazilian population, our program at McDonough Middle School in the city’s Frog Hollow neighborhood identified a need for language learning to foster a healthy home environment that is essential to academic success.

“Almost half of the students at McDonough Middle School are learning English and are identified as multilingual learners,” said Amanda Lostimolo, an Academic Instructor for Catholic Charities and a McDonough teacher. “Because of this, we wanted to support the parents and families of our students on their journey to learning English.”

That led to the launch of a class to teach English to parents and caretakers with Rosetta Stone Language Learning software using licenses purchased by the school. The Tuesday night classes started last week and parents can practice anytime at home, with their progress monitored by Lostimolo and Catholic Charities Parent Services Coordinator Marie Heredia.

Parents working with the Rosetta Stone Language Learning software in the first class.

Sahar Hakim, our Community School Director at McDonough, said parents are interested in learning English as a way to support their children. She said learning basic English writing and reading skills can help them apply for jobs, create resumes, and to become more self-sufficient.

The Community Schools programs, which we also offer at Hartford’s Milner Middle School and Parkville Community School, offer incentives to improve behavior, attendance, and grades throughout the year; afterschool programs that offer time to relax while improving school performance; and clinical services to help them cope with stressful and traumatic events. 

Sahar Hakim
Marie Heredia
Amanda Lostimolo

The programs help parents and caretakers in various ways, such as educational and personal development workshops that help them with positive parenting, earning a GED, leadership, and more. Catholic Charities also helps families obtain basic needs and school uniforms, or connects them with other community organizations who can provide necessary resources.

Learn more about the Catholic Charities Community Schools programs at www.ccaoh.org/schools.

Stories from our Community Schools program:

Fourth-grader shows rapid progress after GOALS program launches.

Barbershop opens in school to improve attendance.