Acompañe a la Oficina Nacional de Head Start y al Centro Nacional de Desarrollo, Enseñanza y Aprendizaje en la Primera Infancia durante la Semana de celebración de los niños que aprenden en dos idiomas (DLL, sigla en inglés). Esta celebración virtual anual tiene que ver con los niños que son DLL y sus familias. En 2022, celebramos la diversidad de todos los niños que aprenden en dos idiomas y el personal que los apoya. Los niños que son DLL son parte de todas nuestras comunidades, y destacamos la fuerza, la belleza, el heroísmo y el trabajo innovador que realiza para apoyarlos a ellos y a sus familias. Vea el siguiente video sobre la Semana de celebración de los DLL. Lea la Declaración de la política sobre el apoyo al desarrollo de los niños que aprenden en dos idiomas en los programas de la primera infancia. Encuéntrenos en las redes sociales y use el hashtag #brilliantduallanguagelearners.
Semana de celebración de los DLL de 2022: Cada programa
Semana de celebración de los DLL de 2022: Cada programa
DLL Celebration Week 2022: Every Program Staff
Lisa Wilson: Welcome. Another Dual Language Learners Celebration Week! My name is Lisa Wilson, and I am the director of equity and outreach at the National Center for Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning. And joining me today is the lovely Jennifer Amaya from the Office of Head Start. Jennifer, welcome.
Jennifer Amaya: Hi, Lisa! Thank you, Lisa, so much. Good afternoon! It is Tuesday. Happy Tuesday everyone! We are so excited to be back and celebrate with you for the second consecutive year, the Dual Language Learners Celebration Week. We are celebrating and honoring the Dual Language Learners' children, families, and the staff who support it on a daily basis in Head Start and Early Head Start programs. My name is Jennifer Amaya, as Lisa has mentioned. I am – I work at the Office of Head Start. I am the content lead in areas related to culture, language, equity, and inclusiveness, and I'm also honored to be the Federal Project Officer for the Tribal Colleges and Universities. Lisa, back to you.
Lisa: Thank you, Jennifer. This week, we have a jam-packed schedule, and we are going to kick it off today with a dynamic guest. I want to first talk about our theme for today is, "Every program promoting successful leadership stories during the pandemic.” We cannot do this without our home visitor staff, our teachers, our parents, the community. Everybody is valuable, especially during the pandemic, and we are really going to showcase some wonderful stories from Region 9 and Region 12 today. With us today is Marissa Duran. She is the director of Child and Family Services Division at the Stanislaus County Office of Education. Marissa, welcome to the stage! How are you doing today?
Marissa Duran: I'm doing well. Thank you so much. It's a pleasure to be here. Thank you.
Lisa: Thank you. You know, first, we just want to start off by you sharing with us not just your "why" but who was also involved with getting you to the place you're at now? Your story is really impactful and just significant. We thought that this will be a nice opportunity for you to share with all of us.
Marissa: Sure, absolutely. It's my pleasure. My "why," I am a daughter of an immigrant family of parents who immigrated to this country in the '50s. Again, siblings, myself, we were raised in the valley. My parents were farmworkers. I was that little girl that would play out on the fields at the irrigation ditch during the summer with my – that was where I played, and that was what I knew. As I grew a little older, my siblings and I during summers, we would of course wake up, [Speaks Spanish] constantly complaining about everything, crying. We didn't want to get up and get up at 3 o'clock in the morning, 4 o'clock so that we could get in the car, or truck sometimes, so that we can get to work with my dad during those summers. And we would complain. Complain we did.
But my dad always told us, [Speaking Spanish] If you don't like to get up early, study hard. Go to school. Don't be like me. He would tell us that all the time. After a while, of course, we stopped complaining, and we just did what we needed to do. And we went, and we did our work, and whether it was the strawberries or whether it was a peach orchard, the peach grading as well. But that was part of my story. That's – that was what helped me have that desire to continue school. That was that push, that emphasis, that, "You need to go to school. You want to do something different. You don't like waking up a 3 o'clock, 4 o'clock in the morning, then go to school.”
That kind of started that foundation for us. After that, of course, I went to school, and I stumbled upon the Migrant Head Start program in particular when I was told, "Oh, there's an opportunity. This agency is employing staff for the summer, if you're bilingual. It'd be a great opportunity for some summer employment." And, of course, I said, "Well, why not? I mean, I'm bilingual. I think I can do it," and so I did. I showed up, and I've got to tell you, June 10th, 1992 was the first day I worked in this small, little Migrant Head Start Center in Ceres, California. And I will never forget that day because although I was very much used to working and being out in the field, I knew what that work was about. I had never been in one of our – one of those sites, and the work that they did has – had left me speechless. I could not believe all the care that was taking place there, and here we are. I'm almost as 30 years, this June, and I've – I'm a lifer. I'm a Head Start, Migrant Head Start lifer, committed to our program. That's a little bit about who and why I am, what I do, what continues that spark for me in this program, in particular with our Migrant Head Start Programs.
Jennifer: Marissa, thank you so much for sharing your story. You know, one thing that I can definitely share with you, as Lisa knows, this last year, we had so many viewers in the United States really listen and celebrate our Dual Language Learners. And now, we are hoping that we have all the viewers around the world, just like what we did last year, right, Lisa? But now, they know your story, your passion, and your commitment to really support Dual Language Learners' children and families and how this is an effort that is coordinated and is a collective effort through the work that you do and the people that you work with to really support the full and effective participation of Dual Language Learners' children and families. Thank you for sharing your story.
Lisa: I think we're going to jump right into some questions if you don't mind.
Lisa: I think one of the first things that really sit out to me just about how you have arrived to where you're at now is just that compassion to lead. How did you really engage your community? How did you really engage the leadership team, children, and families during the pandemic who speak dual or multiple languages?
Marissa: Yeah, I can certainly share a little bit. A little bit about my role, our grantee recipient office. We operate in eight counties and service about 4,500 children through our Region 9, which is early, regional, and child care partnership and Region 12, which is our migrant and migrant early program. We operate center-based family child care home and also home-based for our Region 9 program. Before we did much of any engagement with our community, we had to really come together as a leadership group and establish that purpose. What and why we were doing what we were doing when we were doing it, how we're going to do it.
One of the most difficult thing is early on, we didn't know how much of an impact this was going to be. Obviously, no one had gone through a global pandemic. We didn't know very much. We had more questions than answers, but I think that was the very first thing we needed to do is really circle those wagons, come together as a leadership team, and talk about what our roles were going to be and what that purpose and what we were going to do. Early on, I would say within the first week or two, we came back and said, "Our purpose? Our purpose is to, of course, ensure that our families – our Migrant Head Start families who had already started coming into our area early March ready for services, our doors to be open in April.” We needed to make sure that we were going to be there for them because that was their livelihood.
We also knew that the other thing that we wanted to keep in our minds at all times is how we were going to keep our children, our parents, and also our staff safe as we move forward and we're moving forward to opening our classrooms. Once we established that piece and we just really had that shared purpose and vision of what that was going to look like, then we were able to engage our community members, and we did that very meticulously. We had – because, again, right at the beginning of the pandemic, we had so many families that were coming in. They needed resources. They were trying to get to doctors' offices, et cetera, et cetera, access community offices, but they were closed. Or they only had very specific hours, or only certain people were working. We had to systematically contact almost every single one of our community partners and ask them, "OK, are you open? Who's that person? When are they working?” We did that very early on and then had that information disseminated to our delegates and partners at that point in time so we can share that information so that we could continue to support the children, the families.
And also, "Do you have staff members that can support the various languages that we were providing services to at that point in time?” That was also very important. The other thing that was very important for us, as we connected with our community – is to find out who was that person that we were going to refer our families to and sometimes even staff. Did that person have a name? Who is that designated person? If you don't have a designated person, let's establish one so that our families coming in can have someone specific that they could reach out to and knew they were going to receive some support from them.
Lisa: Thank you so much, Marissa. I know, Jennifer, you probably have a question that you'd like to ask. I want to create some space for you to ask a question as well.
Jennifer: Yes, thank you, Lisa. Marissa, thank you so much for sharing these experiences. As I listen to what you are sharing with us, in terms of the strategies, you mention about the purpose and knowing your "why" and bringing, collectively, the leadership within your program and how did you want it to approach this very unique, unprecedented situation that the families were leaving. It sounds to me that you really use strategically, the connections that you had with the communities, the connections that you had with the families, and knowing the families that you work with and the importance of their work. And how to provide the support that they needed was very key to the work that you were doing together to lead this important work.
Then the question that I have for you in relationship to this is what are some additional strategies that you also felt that other programs that you were working with directly with the families utilized during this time to support them through the pandemic and specifically for your population? Because you have many languages that are spoken and many different diverse needs and many, many different backgrounds and cultures? Can you share a little bit more about that with us?
Marissa: Sure, some of the other strategies that we had to employ right away was, we really felt the importance of conveying the message, "I am here to make sure that you're safe. I will keep you safe," and this is not only to staff. This is to parents and to each other. “We're here to keep you safe. We will do everything possible to ensure your safety. I'm here to listen to you, listen to your concerns, listen to your ideas, listen to your ideas that sometimes, now, have now become part of our program,” because we needed everybody's help at that point in time. But also, we were there to ensure that they received and had the resources available so that they can do their jobs during a very interesting time. For example, we ensured that we provided all the resources as far as PPE goes. We have – we went home. We were … There was a stay-at-home order that was issued, so how could we ensure that our staff, who had to work from home, had the resources available to them at their disposal to continue doing their work?
Another thing, another strategy that I think early on we had to make sure that – we decided that we had two options, whether we were going to open up and be transparent, be genuine, be authentic with our feelings, what was happening and letting folks know, "This is where we are at. These are the things we know, and this is how we're going to proceed.” It was either that, opening up and having those uncomfortable discussions or armoring up and saying – and putting on that other side of leadership that sometimes does take place. We decided to just open up those conversations and be genuine, being authentic, being flexible, and being able to forgive ourselves and others when mistakes were taking place or things slipped through the cracks, unfortunately. We were living in a time that we didn't know, and we had no idea. We were literally going day by day, sometimes, with some of the information we were receiving and how quickly we had to pivot our strategies to provide services to our family.
Jennifer: Thank you, Marissa, and I'm sorry, Lisa, just a comment to what you had said as well. When we talk from the Head Start Program Performance Standards lens, we talk about supporting the full and effective participation of children and families within the lens of dual-language learner children who are speaking, learning, developing two or more languages at the same time. So valuable for me is when you talk about the staff and that the staff really, truly represents the communities that you're serving. You have a very diverse staff that can communicate and speak the language to support the staff, understanding the cultures of the communities that you're serving, I think, is also very key onto what you're sharing with us in terms of your leadership and really addressing the needs of the communities. Lisa, do you have any questions for Marissa?
Lisa: You know, I do have some questions. Thank you, Jennifer. And I also want to invite anyone that is watching us via live stream right now, if you have a question, go ahead and pop it in that Facebook Live stream. We will try to get to it, but you've got to do it quick.
I have a question for you, Marissa, that's really specific to COVID, and just the balancing piece that comes up with staffing, just around staffing, maybe not having enough staffing times because people maybe have COVID. They need to be off. They need to quarantine. What are – what's some advice that you would give to programs about how to balance that?
Marissa: Wow. I mean, I think we're even still struggling with that right now. I mean, right now, that is definitely something that we are seeing, and it's definitely affecting our programs. As far as balancing, I think one of the strategies that we – I feel that it helps is we invited our staff to be part of check-in meetings and to talk to us – “What are your concerns?” – so we could hear from them specifically. Because the place we're at, we think we know. We assume we know, but do we really know all the struggles and what our staff are going through? And really opening up ourselves to hear from them on how we can make the situation better for them, for their families, and for the children, I think, was one of the best pieces. It was tedious. We did weekly check-in meetings, and – but again, it invited all stakeholders. Whether it was line staff that were the teachers, the assistants. They provided us feedback as far as how some of our guidance and instruction was working out for them.
And then also, we had some – we had our directors from our delegates' offices and even parents provide us that feedback. We were able to do that balance that way. Unfortunately, it's a very difficult balance to keep some staff right now because of this, and we did definitely lose some staff. But one of the things we made sure is if you were part of that stakeholder, we wanted to hear from you. If you were a stakeholder, we wanted to hear and move forward with any suggestions, ideas. That's how we tried to do our best to balance and continue to keep the engagement from them.
Jennifer: Thank you, Marissa. You mentioned throughout the conversation about the importance of keeping your staff safe. The staff safe and the wellness and mental wellness and well-being so important to continue to move this work forward because we know that in the daily basis, we're still facing the challenges of the pandemic. It's true. It's, like, it is real. It's very important, as you had mentioned, that staff feel safe and that you are also listening to the voices of your community, the voices of the staff, and having these open conversations and open dialogues for you to be informed and to integrate that into your leadership style. That is great to hear that as well. Thank you for sharing that, Marissa.
Lisa: You know, Marissa, as we wrap up today, I know there will probably be some livestream questions that come up. As people are doing watch parties, maybe we can jump into those streams. But right now, I just want to ask you if you could give us your final thoughts, just some final thoughts and maybe some grows and glows of your leadership overall or what you would like to leave with the viewers today.
Marissa: You know, absolutely. Thank you for that. One of the things, again, I would just like to share is stay true. Stay true to your purpose. I think, for us, that was one of the things that we continued to even have discussions around is how we were going to continue to keep our staff safe. How are we going to ensure the program continues to provide services? Continuing that journey has been very, very – it's been something that's worked out for us very well and has been our road map for our operations as we've moved forward. But again, just coming back and being that authentic individual, being vulnerable, and, most importantly, being transparent.
In leadership, I know sometimes folks look to us, our staff looks to us and wants an answer, wants us to solve the issue. But sometimes, we just can't. But it's OK to say, "You know, I don't know, and I don't know what maybe tomorrow will bring, but you know what? I will be here tomorrow, and we will figure this out together.” I think just having the ability to relate to our staff, to our children, and our families, I think that's the other piece too, that we're able to really, really support them moving forward. But those would be my last thoughts on that, and I welcome any questions. Thank you.
Lisa: Thank you so much, Marissa, and thank you, everybody, too, for spending a little bit of time with us. Over to you, Jennifer, to close us out today.
Jennifer: Thank you, Lisa, and thank you, Marissa. And again, thank you to everyone who's joined in the conversation today. We invite you to be with us for the rest of the week and every program's stories on leadership. And tomorrow, we're going to be celebrating every child in Head Start and Early Head Start programs. But also, I wanted to remind everybody to continue thinking big, acting big, leading big, and make a difference in the lives of children and families to reach their full potential. Thank you, everyone, for today's conversation, and I think this is a wrap, right, Lisa?
Lisa: This is a wrap! We'll see everyone tomorrow. Thank you, again, Marissa.
Jennifer: Have a good one.
Lisa: Bye, everybody!
Para el primer día de la Semana de celebración de los niños que aprenden en dos idiomas (DLL, sigla en inglés) de 2022, honramos cada programa y compartimos historias de éxito de liderazgo aprendidas durante la pandemia por el COVID-19. Marissa Durán nos acompaña desde el programa Head Start para Migrantes y Trabajadores de Temporada de la Oficina de Educación del Condado de Stanislaus. Ella comparte cómo el equipo mantuvo los programas abiertos durante la pandemia (video en inglés).
Resource Type: Artículo
National Centers: Desarrollo, Enseñanza y Aprendizaje en la Primera Infancia
Última actualización: June 23, 2022