Cafecito allows parents of Latin students to discuss issues

Cafecito is a group where Latin parents meet to ideate solutions to common problems. Their next meeting is Dec. 15 at 9:30 a.m.

This November, Mead hosted the first Cafecito meeting for parents of Latin students. Although the first meeting had a small turnout, organizers of the group hope more parents get involved. The meeting was orchestrated by Paula Fredman, one of the district’s attendance liaisons and Cafecito specialist. 

Fredman said, “The importance of these reunions is to try to create a better collaboration with Latin parents in our community, so they can learn and get involved.”

The group discussed common issues in Latin students like faulty attendance, lack of motivation, and the divide between parent outreach. What makes common high school student issues harder for Latin parents to address with their children is the lack of Spanish translation.

The unique aspect of this group is that it allows a space for parents to be involved in the lives of their students who are a minority at Mead and surrounding schools. Lots of parents can’t help students with their homework because they don’t remember skills they learned decades ago. In contrast, Latin parents can’t help their students because they don’t know what is going on in their children’s school lives. 

At the meeting, it was unclear whether or not email newsletters were translated. Similarly, attendance calls are made in English. It wasn’t until two years ago that Mead got a bilingual front desk receptionist and attendance clerk. 

Principal Dr. Brian Young was present and stated that weekly emails and shout points would be translated to Spanish right after the English version. Front desk attendance clerk Ms. Laura Sanchez also came in, introduced herself to the group, and gave parents advice.

Another hotly debated topic has been what Mead can improve to make Latin students feel more welcomed.

Romelia Pérez has been frequenting Cafecito meetings for two years now; she said the greatest issue her children have is “that they don’t feel like they belong to [the Mead] community”.

“My son, who is in grade 11, feels like he doesn’t fit in with Hispanics or with Americans,” said Pérez.

It seems this is the main struggle Cafecito meetings are trying to address. 

Parents of the group so far say that attending has motivated them to be more involved in their children’s lives. Valentina Segovia is the mother of a Mead student and said the meetings have “helped [her] to help [her] kids, and [encourage her] kids so they can keep going and make an effort”. Parents have said the meetings have helped them find resources they need and  stay involved in their children’s lives. 

Fredman said, “I want parents and students to realize that… if they give us a little of what they are, share, and collaborate, we can do great things.”