TechBridgers Hold Bilingual Smartphones and Communications Workshops for Local Parents

Written by Daniel Lim, President of TechBridgers

April 24, 2018

Owning a smartphone, but not knowing how to email teachers and access grades, is a frustration for many parents. Though they often have the latest in phone technology, they are unaware of how to link their information to their phone in order to receive important updates. TechBridgers aims to bridge the technology gap by organizing Smartphones and Communications workshops in Mountain View and Los Altos schools to teach parents how to optimize their efficiency by integrating mobile phones within their lives.

TechBridgers consists of a group of Los Altos High School (LAHS) students who strive to help parents be more tech-savvy. All the workshops are offered in English and Spanish. The first workshop took place at Monta Loma Elementary School in December 2017. Now, TechBridgers have expanded our parent classes to schools in Mountain View Whisman and Los Altos School Districts. To date, there are more than 70 parents who have attended the smartphone workshops, the majority of which consist of Latino parents.

Every school has different technology requirements and needs. TechBridgers work closely with school principals, counselors, site administrators, and English Learner teachers to create a customized workshop for each individual school. In general, schools' biggest concerns are that parents are unaware of their children's grades and unsure of how to help them succeed in the classroom. Teaching parents how to access grades is a key component of the workshop. "It is of great importance that our Latino parents have access to email and understand how to navigate the Student Information System [to check grades]," LAHS counselor Mr. Ariel Rojas said. "Our goal is [to have] every Latino parent in our school... able to use the system, as it is a critical tool to the success of all students and helps us close the achievement gap." With that goal in mind, TechBridgers held its first multilingual Parent Technology Workshop at Almond Elementary School on April 20. During the workshop, volunteers instructed a group of Latino, Chinese, and Russian parents on how to subscribe to the school district's Text Messenger, check their children's school activities through ClassDojo and SeeSaw, and use PowerSchool to access their children's grades. One Almond parent, Shen Gao, commented: "I am grateful for the opportunity to learn how to use the PowerSchool and SeeSaw apps to access my kid's academic grades and get updates of classroom activities quickly and easily. These two softwares are very practical and convenient." (Translated from Mandarin) Besides learning how to access student information, parents were taught how to use Google Translate, a useful tool for English-learning parents to communicate with their children's teachers and administrators.

As TechBridgers expands their class offerings, they look for more bilingual volunteers in order to offer one-on-one help for parents. Techbridgers are reaching out to LAHS's National Honor Society to solicit volunteers for the workshop with the help of the NHS Coordinator, Terri Salsman De Rodriguez. The Almond workshop was the first time Techbridgers partnered with NHS. This partnership is an important milestone for TechBridgers, allowing them to offer bigger, higher-quality smartphone workshops with more student teachers and continue to expand our reach.

Parents hold an important stake in their children's education. The Smartphones and Communications Workshops empower parents to learn new skills, acquire new knowledge, and help their children be more successful at school and at home. One Almond parent, Anastasia Nikulina, said, "Now I know exactly that our teachers, school administrators and my family are on the same page." Almond's English Learner teacher, Jessica Mountz, reflected on the workshop, saying "The parents left the evening with the ability to better communicate with the school through the many apps and programs we use. This will allow them to better support their children's education in the future." TechBridgers will continue to work with school administrators to provide workshops in local schools to help the underserved parent community and their children.

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TechBridgers Hold Spanish Parent Technology Workshop at Los Altos High School Summit

Written by Michelle Zhu and Isabella Borkovic

March 14, 2018

The TechBridgers held a Spanish Parent Technology Workshop for Latino parents at the Los Altos High School Summit on March 10, 2018.

In the workshop, members taught parent participants how to set up email accounts, use Google Translate and access Student Information System (SIS). Over 50 people attended the event, including parents of incoming 9th graders for the 2018-2019 school year.

The TechBridgers is formed by a group of Los Altos High School (LAHS) students whose mission is to bridge the technology gap in the community by leading parent technology workshops at local schools.

The event was met with positive reactions from the parents who attended. Participant Leonila Antonio said, "I loved the workshop; it has progressed a lot from where it was four years ago when my daughter was here. I love all the people that they have here to help," (translated from Spanish). The workshop gave parents an opportunity to learn how to use Google Translate, an important tool for Latino parents to communicate with teachers and school administrators. Parent Keila Garcia said, "I am very happy with the workshop. I learned how to use Google Translate to translate from English to Spanish."

Volunteers taught several parents, including Marita Burger, how to access SIS, the high school online gradebook. "I have received a lot of information-and above all, how to help my son. I learned how to enter the pages of the computer, review my son's attendance-and I feel much more secure now than when I came a few hours ago," (translated from Spanish).

LAHS counselor, Mr. Ariel Rojas believes that, "It is of great importance that our Latino parents have access to email and understand how to navigate the SIS system. Our goal is that every Latino parent in our school should be able to use the system, as it is a critical tool to the success of all students and helps us to close the achievement gap."

TechBridgers is optimistic that they can continue to make a difference for these parents in the future. The group will hold additional workshops at Almond Elementary School on April 20th and Theuerkauf Elementary School on April 27th.

TechBridgers Hold Parent Technology Workshop at Monta Loma

By Natalie Huang, December 10, 2017

Smartphones and Communications

On Friday, December 8th, the TechBridgers club held a Parent Tech Workshop on Smartphones and Communications at Monta Loma Elementary School. The TechBridgers club was formed to bridge the technology gap in the community and was founded by high schoolers attending Los Altos High. Having previously taught coding at Monta Loma, they discovered that many of the students' parents had limited knowledge and access to technology so they weren't able to check their email, keep up with school updates, or see their child's grades and online assignments. To help engage parents with the school community and communicate with their child and teachers, the TechBridgers held a smartphone and communications workshop and taught parents how to use their smartphones to use basic websites and apps to keep up with school information.

Bilingual English and Spanish Presentation

The workshop was successful, and parents now have the knowledge they need to stay more connected to their children's educational journey with technology. With the presentation and lessons given in both English and Spanish, all participants were able to understand and learn from the presentation equally.

Clever Account, Gmail and Google Translate

The purpose of the workshop was to give parents an opportunity to learn how to navigate through technology in their lives. Most of the lessons were centered around their children's education-parents were taught how to sign into their child's Clever account, a website used in school to practice subjects like math. Additionally, they learned how to subscribe to the school notification system, which informs them of any upcoming school events. The workshop also taught the parents how to use other tools useful in everyday life, such as Gmail and Google Translate. There were four stations that the parents visited; each focused on a different website, allowing parents to receive one-on-one help. "I learned how to use Google Translate to communicate with my husband and the teacher," says one parent.

Partnership with the Mountain View Whisman School District

This workshop is only the first of many to come, as the club is now working with the Mountain View Whisman School District to hold similar classes in other elementary and middle schools in the area. They will continue to expand and introduce new tools and apps that parents can use to help their child become more successful in school

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