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South Bay Union School District is now contributing to Ella Magazine, a South County publication for Spanish speaking Families

Nov 14, 2015 06:15PM ● By Paul Spear

South Bay Union School District is now contributing to Ella Magazine, a South County publication for Spanish speaking families

Dear Community Members,

South Bay Union School District is now contributing to Ella Magazine, a South County publication for Spanish speaking families.  We will be sharing stories and articles about our District, students, and parents.  The November edition featured an interview with Juana López, a parent and volunteer from Central School.  We asked Juana to describe her experience volunteering and how she came to fill a leadership role on school and District committees.  I hope you enjoy this interview and that Ms. López inspires you to get involved with a local school. It is a high priority that our schools are welcoming and encourage participation from our families and community members. Please consider volunteering even if it can only be in a small way. Thank you and thank you Ms. Juana López!

My name is Juana López and I am a parent and volunteer at Central School in the South Bay Union School District.  My volunteering began by attending English Learner Advisory Committee (ELAC) meetings at Central.   I enjoyed participating on the committee and learned some useful information.  When the position of President became available, I accepted the nomination because I wanted to be more involved and continue learning.  I have served on ELAC for three years.

As a parent, ELAC has helped me become more knowledgeable and feel more involved.  Participation in school activities and events is important because you learn about available programs, find assistance from the district, and understanding the school system.  This enables parent to provide support to students, including our own kids.

I have three children, ranging from a daughter in 4th grade to my 19 year old son.  My son started at Central School as a kindergarten student, and I have been volunteering since then. In previous years, I helped teachers in their classrooms and little by little I have been participating more and more. My other daughter is 14 years old and she also started in kindergarten at Central.   My daughter is already in high school and my son in college.  I feel that in the beginning, when they were attending school at Central, I did not know much English and it was a little difficult to help them with their homework and understand the tasks that they would bring home.  I gradually learned and have been able to help them more and now.  Currently, with my youngest daughter in 4th grade, I feel I have learned and achieved a great deal, but I am always learning along with her.  Volunteering allows me to be informed about the tests and teaching. Being at the school as a parent, volunteer, and committee member has helped me help my daughter and I am happy to be there! 

In addition to my service on ELAC, I also serve on the District English Learner Advisory Committee (DELAC) and volunteer at Central 3 times a week helping teachers and assisting in the school office.  I believe that volunteering sets a good example for my daughter, who says, “Mom, you are always here and not working and you don’t get paid.”  I explain that I am a volunteer and that I am helping the school.  I would tell other parents interested in volunteering to just do it!  Once you have the desire, you have to begin.  It is easy to say, “I want to do it, I would love to, but I do not have the time.”  You have the time, it just takes a little time to support the school and your child’s education.

What motivated me to get involved was the desire to do it and to continue learning.  I wanted to come, but I hesitated because I did not have the language that I now have, and although I am not at 100%, I started studying to help with the language.   Being at Central has helped me improve my language and it proves to my children that, even though it might be frustrating, you can continue to learn and improve.  I can help my daughter with her homework, and if I don’t understand, I can show my daughter that I can learn new things.  That is a huge motivation.   One obstacle that parents can face when volunteering is the language. Most parents are Latinos and limited in English, but when you start getting involved you soon realize that the barrier is very small and that parents can make a big difference.

Katie McNamara, Ed.D.

District Superintendent


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