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How has Lincoln High School designed and implemented systems to foster a welcoming environment for students that collectively speak over 30 different languages? What might schools do to ensure that all students, including ELLs and newcomers, have access to a wide variety of higher level courses? How can home grown “cultural liaisons help promote family and community engagement while also enhancing the teacher candidate pipeline?
We discuss these questions and much more with Maira Méndez Rodríguez of Lincoln High School in Lincoln, Nebraska. As an Instructional Coordinator, Maira is an appraiser for teachers, test coordinator, and also coordinates family engagement events. Another important part of her role includes student discipline for ELL students. To meet the needs of this diverse population of students, she works closely with the ELL team made up of a counselor, advocate, bilingual liaisons, teachers and other district staff. As part of her family engagement role, she and her colleagues have collaborated with liaisons to host informational family nights in the native languages of the parents and guardians of LHS students.
Prior to becoming an instructional coordinator, Maira taught Spanish and ELL classes to middle and high school students. Maira decided to pursue administration in hopes of having a greater impact on students’ educational journey beyond her classroom. She believes a strong partnership with the parents of students and the community is an asset in ensuring student success.
During our conversation, we reference the following resources:
Nebtaska Department of Education - English Language Learners
Washington Post article: "A haven for refugees, this Nebraska high school builds a web of support for its diverse student population"
View the discussion thread.