Shields Elementary School has established an ongoing series of events called Unity in the Community, or Unidad en el Comunidad.
Coordinated by English language learning teacher Brennan Clarke and school administrators, the program’s goal is to bring together the Hispanic families of Shields, break down the language barriers and explain resources available to them. The program provides opportunities to share information about school events and explain school procedures. It also creates an avenue to let parents know ways they can be involved with their child’s school and education.
The series kicked off in the fall with a meet and greet facilitated by Clarke and Ioannis Sporidis-Foster, the kindergarten Spanish immersion teacher. Parents had the opportunity to meet each other and the school administrators, and to learn about school events that take place throughout the year.
Over the winter months, the school hosted a covered dish social where families brought authentic Latino dishes to share. Speaker Charito Calvachi-Mateyko from the Delaware Humanities Forum is a restorative justice practitioner and a passionate promoter of racial justice and the Latino culture. She had parents and administrators wear traditional cultural garb to show dresses from various Hispanic countries. She also presented how Latin and South America have contributed to the history of the United States. The evening ended with a celebratory circle around the children to show them they are strongly supported by parents and staff. Each adult shared hopes, feelings and wishes for each child to help them feel loved and appreciated.