Juan was a 4th grader at Mendota Elementary. He was acting out at school, lying, trying to get the attention of others, and often found himself in the principal’s office.

Juan’s family emigrated from El Salvador because of the violence in their home country. Juan’s parents, Maria and Jorge, did not want to raise their children there. After arriving in the United States, they did their best to provide for their children in a new and different culture. They had to navigate using a new language and lacking the extended family support they had in El Salvador.

Partners For Success® Family Support Worker Bonnie Stark contacted Maria to inform her of upcoming school events and to extend a personal invitation to meet. Bonnie met with Maria to discuss the family’s situation and offered to help Juan get back on track. Maria told her that life was confusing at times for her family adjusting to a new culture. They were hesitant and lacked confidence.

Bonnie visited Maria in her home and established a family learning plan for Juan. The goals were to increase reading and math test scores to grade level. Strategies included practicing math online 15 min each day, choosing “just right” books to read from the library, completing and turning in all homework, and participating in targeted services.

When the family lost their internet connection, Juan would come to Bonnie’s office once a week for half an hour to work on math. She helped arrange school conferences for the family that included the Spanish teacher for translation. Bonnie met with Juan’s teacher frequently and shared information with Maria. Maria also agreed to allow Juan to participate in the after school reading program, gymnastics, cougar fitness, and other classes that were of interest to him.

Bonnie was also able to get a scholarship for him to play basketball outside of school. She invited Maria to come to school to volunteer and spoke with the librarian to arrange a time for her to come each week. Bonnie was present on Maria’s first day to help her get acclimated.

Juan’s teacher reports that Juan is a “success story.”  His behavior has improved, and he puts forth tremendous effort at the start of the school day where other students lag.  Juan’s math MCA tests reveal that he went from “doesn’t meet expectations” last year to “meets expectations” this year.  In reading, he went from “does not meet expectations” to “partially meets expectations.”  Juan’s teacher describes him as sincere and sharp, and that he gives his best.

Maria is now very comfortable at school and seems to have an air of confidence when she stops by Bonnie’s office to say hello. The librarians describe Maria as amazing, delightful and proactive. She just doesn’t sit around, but looks for ways to contribute. She is also helping one of the librarians with her Spanish. Maria is coming to school more often to have lunch with Juan, and and to pick him up from after school enrichment classes.