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GIPS elementary school hires parents for support during pandemic

Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 8:42 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - With parents not being able to participate in school functions like they used to, this has been hard for parents at Lincoln Elementary School who rely on these gatherings for support.

“The school, the kids, the moms, they encourage me,” said Peer Educator Julissa Aranda.

Lincoln Elementary is a community school which means they allocate funds to host events and bring services to families.

“It’s just a way that we can connect our families to all of the things going on in the Grand Island Community,” said Principle Maureen Oman.

One of those services include English classes for parents. Aranda attended them three times a week until it all stopped.

“So it was hard and also hard for the moms because then they started the English classes and zoom which is different, it’s not as easy as coming to the classroom and also talk to them,” Aranda said.

Aranda said it was hard trying to learn English from home, plus she missed having the support from the other moms, so she applied for a job at the school.

“My favorite part is watching my kids and helping other kids also,” Aranda said.

A lot of kindergarten and first grade students at Lincoln Elementary start school with limited English, so the school hires parents as peer educators to help translate and to also help during recess, lunch and classes.

“When I have parents here, they help with kids who are struggling and I think that the other kids see them here and they feel comfortable,” Oman said.

She said having parents around during the pandemic has been extremely helpful.

“It’s so useful and helpful and brings comfort to our kids and to our staff members to have a place to be and to come,” Oman said.

Hiring parents has also helped students make better choices and reduced the amount of behavioral issues in the classroom.

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