As I think about who our customers will eventually be, I imagine most of them will be from the Midwest--North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Michigan, Kansas, Ohio, etc. We are a Wisconsin-based company, and I am from North Dakota so it makes sense that a lot of our customers would come from this area of the country. Also, there are a lot of rural schools in the Midwest that have small to large populations of Latinos, but at this point they don't have enough students to justify hiring a liaison. Some of them might need a liaison, but do not see the need themselves because they are used to putting out fires, getting reluctant volunteers and Spanish teachers to help, or just leaving the problem unresolved. I make the assumption that states like Texas and Arizona would not need our services as much because they have had large Latino populations for a long time and already have the liaison staffing that is necessary, but I could be wrong. We are obviously willing to help anyone from any state.
I was just looking at an article in Colorín Colorado (2007). It is called "How to Reach Out to Parents of ELLs" (http://www.colorincolorado.org/educators/reachingout/outreach/). The first suggestion they give is to "use [the parents] preferred language." I don't know how this can be done effectively without having someone dedicated to it. They also suggest that schools find a fully bilingual interpreter, that they translate written communication that is sent home, that teachers learn Spanish, and that parents are put in touch with bilingual staff. Advocate Latino (advocatelatino.com) does not specialize in teaching Spanish, but we can definitely help school districts with the rest of the suggestions.
Many teachers and administrators will see this and immediately think that this will cost thousands of dollars to do. There is a good reason for this. Many translating and interpreting companies charge a lot of money for human and machine translating/interpreting.
However, if they use Advocate Latino, they would be surprised at how little money they spend. Let's say a school district has 10 Latino students. Our base charge is $12/student/month for the $12 per month package. That would be $120 per month. This would include one "check in" call per student per month. I like the idea of a "check in" because it will allow the school districts, the parents, and Advocate Latino to build relationships with the parents and find out about potential problems before they happen. It would also include up to 60 minutes of three party or two party calls per student. Remember that students can share minutes, so that would be a total of 600 minutes of calls for the district for the month. I don't think most districts would go over 600 minutes. That's 10 hours of phone calls for 10 students. The $12 does not cover document translations. The one page document translations are $7 once the district has become a $12 per month customer. So, let's say the district has us translate 10 documents for the year and it has 10 students. That would be $120 x 9 (months) = $1,080 + $70 for documents = $1,150 for the school year! Some phone interpreting companies charge $4/minute. If a school district uses a company like this, $1,150 would get them 288 minutes. With Advocate Latino, it gets a school district 5,400 minutes plus "check in" calls. We will send you a report with every "check in." With us, the school district will also build a relationship with Ary and our other employees. If there is a problem, it can contact the owner (me) directly. My number is 715-821-0116.
We founded this company to help people. We saw that there is a huge need for this type of service in school districts, especially smaller ones. We want to keep it affordable so that school districts can do a better and more consistent job communicating with Latinos.
There has never been a time in our history when integrating all students as soon as possible has been this important. Start today! It is a true free trial. We are trying to build our business for next school year so we are willing to help school districts as much as we can for free this spring.
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Phone (Ary): 715-350-2277
Cell (Eric): 715-821-0116
Toll Free (Ary): 800-378-5354