Multicultural Department Welcomes Families of Haitian Descent, From South America (12/13/2022)
Posted on 12/13/2022
Recently, the School District of Palm Beach County has seen the arrival of students of Haitian descent with a unique cultural background. They are new immigrants from South America, in particular Chile and Brazil, who speak Spanish or Portuguese.
The presence of this unique student demographic compelled the instructional staff of the District's Multicultural Education Department to organize Family Night, a special meeting on December 1 at Boynton Beach Community High School to welcome the students and share valuable information with them about the school system, available resources, and how to adapt to a new culture.
The meeting included guest speakers from several fields and different agencies including healthcare, law, and other types of social services. Attending agencies were invited to share information about the services and opportunities they provide to parents and the community.
Recognizing the students’ need for different language accommodations leads to the realization that teachers need proper assistance and support in order to help the students effectively.
“I want to encourage school faculty and staff to provide their Haitian immigrant students with the opportunity to talk about themselves as a way of welcoming, celebrating, and learning about them,” said Melissa Patterson, the Director of the Multicultural Education Department.
Patterson went on to note that “when we are in contact with our Haitian immigrant community, it is imperative that we are sensitive to our students’ journey, assets, and needs. Our Haitian community is a vibrant community that is diverse, multilingual, and greatly enhances our school environment with language and cultural richness.”