Low-income and immigrant parents often don't know how to help their children succeed in school. We equip them to be their children's foremost teacher.
Side by Side programs are making a difference in the lives of children and families. Here are two examples.
The Salvadoran mother of Jessy, a kindergartener, was told by Jessy's teacher in the fall that Jessy was behind the rest of his class. He didn't know his letters nor the sounds they make, and was in danger of needing to repeat the year. Jessy's mother told the teacher that Jessy had a very negative attitude about school. We know this because Elda Molina, Side by Side's vice president, was acting as a volunteer Spanish translator at the parent-teacher conference where this conversation occurred. Elda arranged for Jesse to work once a week with a Side by Side tutor, Linda Engstrom. Now, Jessy's teacher says he is improving in language faster than anyone in the class, and just as important, his attitude toward school is much improved.
Then there is India, a 4th-grader at Deerfield Run Elementary. Last fall Deerfield asked a Side by Side volunteer to tutor her once a week because she was reading only on a second-grade level. The volunteer worked with India on sounding out unfamiliar words and slowing down so that she didn't misread words she knew. They also worked on her writing and spelling. In February, India's teacher said she had earned the most improved award in her class. A month later, India said she was being one of the students honored by the principal that afternoon as her class's Writer of the Month. "These reading sessions are really paying off," she said proudly.