Click the picture and move the slider to timestamp 9:14 to view Tiffany’s testimony.
Tiffany Lorch, ESOL Teacher
Furness High School
Furness High School has a 53% ESOL population with many more families who need translation services to communicate with our school. Our ability to serve the majority of our student population at all hinges on our dependence on Bilingual Counselor Assistants. We would really need our major language groups every day and we cannot achieve 4 of our major school goals – parent engagement, college and career readiness and improvement in attendance and gradation rates without our BCAs. Yet, in this budget planning phase of the year, I was horrified to see the days assigned to our school reduced drastically. District-wide there are deep needs going unmet, so I understand spreading the resources more equitably, but we can’t afford to lose a single minute. We urgently need more bilingual counselor assistants district-wide.
Also, there are high needs families going without these supports such our many Swahili speaking familes that have not even 1 BCA.
This year the BCA’s don’t have access to the most critical information to do their jobs, the student database. BCAs do not have access to the SIS system which defies the very purpose of having them in the first place. Again, as critical partners in meeting our school goals of parent engagement, college and career readiness, and improving attendance – it is unfathomable, that we do not give them the access to student schedules, attendance records, and up-to-date family contact information. The climate support specialist has access. Do we value discipline over supporting students and families?
What do they do?
● help register students and translate for students and families in the main office
● help communicate with teachers and keep students on track academically
● help students get reinstated after disciplinary events
● translate for the nurse and ride in the ambulance the ER
● host monthly parent meetings
● help students fill out college applications and financial aid forms
● assure our cultural competency as a school community
● make students feel accepted and help them assimilate
● communicate orally and in writing with every stakeholder in the school community in a courteous and professional manner
● translate signage and documents around the building
All of this in two or more languages. Impressive, right? How much would you expect to earn for this job? $22,595 at the SDP.
We don’t value these experts as professionals. 14,000 ESOL students and growing, the role of BCAs becomes ever more critical. Ignoring this call will result in our failure on district goals of parent engagement, college and career readiness, and improving attendance and graduation rates.