For the second year in a row, the Crimsonbridge Foundation has awarded grants through its Bridges for Schools program, to provide strategic communications capacity-building support to Catholic schools committed to increasing their enrollment of Hispanic students and cultivating a welcoming and engaging environment for all families.
Hispanic children currently account for 25 percent of the school-age population in the United States and are projected to represent one-third of the school-age population by 2050. Despite this, many schools lack resources to successfully engage and serve Latino students and their families.
Bridges for Schools was designed to address the need for these resources and was launched in spring 2018 immediately following the Latino Enrollment Institute, a conference hosted in partnership with the Archdiocese of Washington (ADW). Over the past two years, the Foundation has awarded nearly $65,000 in grants to four high schools and twelve elementary schools in DC and Maryland through Bridges for Schools.
“It has been inspiring to see the many creative ways in which these schools are expanding their Spanish-language resources and building a welcoming school community.” says program officer Caitlin Furey. Working closely with each school, Furey helps design Bridges for Schools grants tailored to each schools’ unique circumstances and challenges.
Accurate translation is a high priority need for most schools. In fact, the majority of the schools use a portion or all of the grant funding for human translation of school marketing and enrollment materials, which helps to ensure equitable access for Spanish-speaking families. Schools can choose to either use a professional translation company or provide a stipend for bilingual school staff to translate materials.
This round, grant funding will enable six schools to add original Spanish-language content to their website, and one school will produce a Spanish-language video for it’s website. Other schools have chosen to hire Spanish-speaking community liaisons or to provide stipends for translators at open houses and other events. All of these efforts have helped to make the school application process and culture more accessible and welcoming to Spanish-speaking families. In fact, several grant recipients from the first year of the program applied for a second year of funding because of the success they observed after implementing new grant supported resources.
Bridges for Schools is a part of the Foundation’s Hispanic Education Imperative, which seeks to enhance the experience of Hispanic families in Catholic schools and increase enrollment of Hispanic students in ADW schools to 20 percent by 2020.