The Pendleton School District welcomed students in its ELD (English Language Development) Program to a family event on Thursday, December 14th, at the Pendleton Early Learning Center. The theme of the evening event was Winter Celebrations Around the World.
Former and current students and their families were invited. A variety of arts and crafts were set up at different tables in the PELC’s Commons, with activities from different countries. Activities included making a holiday card for England, lanterns and fortune cookies for China, a Hanukkah dreidel for Israel, mini pinatas for Mexico, and gingerbread house cookie decorating for Germany.
Auna Alferez attended the event with her two daughters, who are in third and fourth grade. She said her children like to come to family events like these. Asked what their favorite part of the night was, her two girls said, “Everything!”
According to Cary Wasem-Varela, ELD Teacher, the events the program staff previously organized were not very well attended, so they started talking to the parents. “We found out they didn’t want to come to events to fill out paperwork or be asked to serve on committees. They enjoy socializing and getting together, so we feel like we really succeeded with this arts and crafts winter event where they can have fun as a family.”
Julie Smith, Director of Special Programs for the Pendleton School District, said one of the goals at the event is for ELD staff to circulate and talk with parents and families. “Our bilingual educators help bridge the language gap so parents can share their thoughts about our program. The staff try to talk to as many families as they can to gather information on what is working well and how we can improve our programs,” Smith said.
About 115 students are currently enrolled in the Pendleton School District’s ELD Program, and they are K-12 students from all of the district’s schools.