BRIDGES FOR SCHOOLS

Hispanic children currently account for 25 percent of the school-age population in the United States and are projected to represent one-third of the school-age population by 2050. Schools need resources and tools to develop inclusive language strategies that ensure equitable access and successfully engage and serve Latino students and their families. Bridges for Schools provides strategic Spanish and bilingual communications capacity building support to Catholic schools committed to increasing their enrollment of Hispanic students and cultivating a welcoming and engaging environment for families. Bridges for Schools is a key component of the Foundation’s Education Imperative program.

Each Bridges for Schools grant is uniquely tailored to the self-identified needs of the schools and their goals related to Latino enrollment and family engagement. Since 2018, schools have implemented the following strategies:

  •  Developed original Spanish-language content for marketing materials and websites

  • Hired bilingual administrative assistants to provide front office support for parents

  • Provided human translation at school open houses, parent-teacher conferences, and other events

  • Produced bilingual virtual school tours and other videos

  • Implemented parent engagement strategies, such as creating a Parent Ambassador Program

  • Ensured accurate, human translation of crucial communications such as monthly newsletters and emergency announcements 

RESPONDING TO A NEED

We launched Bridges for Schools in 2018 after hosting the Latino Enrollment Institute in partnership with the Archdiocese of Washington. The Latino Enrollment Institute (LEI) is a program founded and led by the University of Notre Dame in response to national data indicating that Latinos are both the fastest-growing segment of the Catholic Church in the United States, and the most underserved by Catholic schools. Featuring presentations by elementary school leaders with demonstrated success in engaging the Latino community, the LEI provides school principals and pastors with clear and concrete strategies to transform their schools to attract and serve Latino students more effectively. Principals, pastors, and staff from 50 Catholic schools in the Greater Washington region participated in this professional development training in 2018. Following the training, schools expressed a need for communications and marketing capacity building support to reach and engage Latino families more effectively. Bridges for Schools was designed to meet this need and provide technical assistance to help schools advance these efforts. 

"The Archdiocese of Washington is welcoming more Hispanic and Latino families into our schools each year, as our schools become reflective of the rich diversity of our parishes. Our efforts to intentionally welcome, serve, and support Hispanic students and families is in perfect alignment with our mission to achieve educational equity and excellence for all students."

 

Wendi M. Williams, Assistant Superintendent for Advancement and Enrollment Management, Archdiocese of Washington Catholic Schools Office 

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IMPACT

Since 2018, Bridges for Schools has partnered with Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Washington to develop innovative and inclusive communication and outreach strategies.

1,200

 Latino families reached through our Bridges for Schools program since 2018

90%

Bridges for Schools partners developed new Spanish-language communications materials

150

Principals, pastors, teachers, and staff from local Catholic schools

participated in LEI training

RESOURCES FOR NONPROFITS, POLICYMAKERS, AND FUNDERS

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 “Ensuring all of our Hispanic and Latino families are welcomed and have access to pertinent school information is a vital commitment to supporting the school operations at St. Mary’s School in Landover Hills. We are proud of our commitment to ensuring our Hispanic and Latino families know they matter, and it is demonstrated in concrete processes and protocols so there is access to the same information as our English-speaking families.”

LaSandra Hayes, Principal, St. Mary’s School of Landover Hills