Non-English speaking Bridgeport parents can now go to one-stop shop for school information
Bilingual Education

Non-English speaking Bridgeport parents can now go to one-stop shop for school information

BRIDGEPORT — A school-based center for the parents of English learners has opened in Bridgeport.

The Newcomer Arrival Center will support new arrivals to the United States and non-English speaking families in the district’s schools, according to Make the Road Connecticut, an immigrants rights group.

The center celebrated its opening at Central High School on Tuesday evening.

The end-goal is to help the 3,916 students learning English, according to 2020-21 district data, thrive in Bridgeport schools.

“To do that, parents need to know how the system works, and be supported by the system,” said Wendy Cardenas, the group’s lead organizer.

The center will help parents with school registration, translation and interpretation services, transportation and connecting with healthcare providers and community programs, representatives from Make the Road said.

“Each parent will have a place to turn when they have questions or concerns about the bilingual and general programs that are taught in the schools,” said Minerva Antigua from Make the Road, in a statement. “Parents whose first language is not English will have a place where they will receive support.”

Superintendent Michael Testani suggested the center will be a substantial improvement from the jumbled and inefficient procedure that predated it, which involved administrators across schools and City Hall.

“This gives them a one-stop shop where they can go, get information, register their kids, get hooked up with physicals and placement testing,” said Testani. “This way when they arrive to the school, they just walk in and they’re ready to go.”

“This is something that’s been on my mind for years,” he said. “We shouldn’t be giving parents the run-around.”