Sunday, April 21, 2013

Closing the Achievement Gap with Advocate Latino

I recently changed our tagline on Twitter to "We want to revolutionize the way school districts communicate with Latinos and other English language learners." This or something like it will be our new mission statement. Since I posted it, I have thought about the way we are revolutionizing communication.

I have cited many sources in this blog and on videos that have made it clear that boosting parent involvement helps Latinos and all other students succeed in schools. You can scroll down to see the videos and blogs that discuss this topic. It has also been shown that increasing parent involvement helps Latino students more than it helps other groups ( So, it is definitely worth it for school districts to put resources toward communication with Latino parents. Increasing parent involvement has been proven to help all students with the following:

1. Grades
2. Attendance
3. Staying in school
4. Behavior and social skills
5. Graduating and going to post-secondary institutions
6. Earning more credits

So, the question still remains: How does Advocate Latino help boost parent involvement in Latino families? How does it revolutionize the way school districts communicate with Latino families?

1. I have always been impressed when I see that a school district has a Spanish Hotline. The school districts that have this are usually large districts. With Advocate Latino, any district can have this hotline through us. Parents would be able to call us anytime between 7 AM and 7 PM central time. This way, parents can have contact with a Spanish speaker right away, and the questions and issues can be handled immediately.

2. If a school district subscribes to Advocate Latino, we will make monthly phone calls to the parents. A teacher or school district could use these phone calls for any purpose such as surveys, grade updates, behavior reports, announcements, reminders, or educating parents on a particular technique that will help their students succeed. As we gather information, we put it in a database. We can send the information gathered from the phone calls to the teacher or district at any time. In most cases, teachers, even if they do speak Spanish, do not have the time to do this type of valuable work. Most teachers also do not keep the type of communication records that we do.

3. Advocate Latino is the best deal around. I have estimated the cost for a school district with 10 Spanish-speaking students. It comes to around $1,200 for the entire year (maximum). A school district can estimate that it would spend around $120 per year per Spanish-speaking student when using Advocate Latino. This estimated price would include FaceTime interpreting for conferences and translations of documents. It may seem like a lot of money, but when you consider that a full-time liaison (in-district) would cost around $40,000 per year plus benefits, long distance charges, and possibly miles, it turns out to be an amazing bargain. Telephone interpreters, human translator services, and machine translating software (which doesn't work) are all much more expensive than Advocate Latino.

4. Because we have FaceTime, school districts no longer need to bring in expensive interpreters for conferences. Sometimes these interpreters can cost up to $35 or more per hour.

5. I have always considered it bad practice to use children as interpreters. I think most people would agree with me. Because Advocate Latino now exists, this does not need to be done anymore.

6. There are no usernames and passwords when a school district works with Advocate Latino. Everyone is treated as an important individual. Teachers and parents will see the difference. All of our customers will be treated with the utmost respect. Because you will work with the same people every time, there will be no need to update us on anything.

There is still time to start a free trial with Advocate Latino for the end of the school year. We would be happy to add you to our family. No school district/Latino population is too small!

Eric Goodman

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