Baldwin High School senior Zenith Thapa didn't go to study hall eighth period Thursday, September 21st. Instead, he stayed in his ESL classroom to get extra help with his missing art assignments. Zenith's mom was one of the 75 attendees in the LGI room the previous Wednesday evening for the ESL Parent Skyward Tutorial, where she learned how to use the district's online parent portal. When she checked her son's grades for the first time, she was furious. "She yelled and yelled," said Zenith. "I was so scared!"
The ESL Parent Skyward Tutorial is part of an initiative to empower and engage ESL parents in their children's education at Baldwin High School. ESL teachers Holly Niemi and Kate Musselman designed and implemented a highly visual and interactive lesson demonstrating how to use Chromebooks to electronically check grades, attendance, lunch balances, and behavior. BHS ESL students were encouraged to attend Open House with their parents and bring their Chromebooks with them. While Dr. Niemi and senior Januka Dhakal displayed and explained Skyward using large screens, Ms. Musselman and BHS math teacher Donna Vecchio circulated, providing one-on-one assistance to parents with questions. The presentation was in both English and Nepali, with additional high-school students translating in Karen, Burmese, Kinyarwanda, Wolof, and Spanish. The objective was to encourage parents to take an active role in their children's education by removing barriers such as language and technological knowledge to familiarize them with Skyward. The result? Apparently, the sky's the limit with Skyward reporting system!