How K-12 Schools Support the Safety and Wellness of Spanish ELL Students

Districts and schools across America face no lack of challenges. In addition to navigating a shortage of teachers and school counselors, as well as rising student mental health concerns, they’re also doing their best to support a growing number of English language learners (ELLs).

An estimated 5.12 million students in the U.S. are ELLs. Of these, more than 75% are native Spanish speakers. To support this growing number of Spanish-speaking students, dual-language programs in K-12 schools have grown significantly. However, most of these students will continue to communicate, both verbally and in writing, in their native language half of the time if not more. To better accommodate these students, schools need education technology to keep pace as well.

While software can be made more accessible by using tools like Google Translate or Microsoft Translator, translation tools alone aren’t enough. When it comes to supporting students’ safety and wellness specifically, schools need their technology tools to have native Spanish language support. And Securly is answering the call.

Identify Student Safety and Wellness Risks in Spanish

Thousands of districts and schools across the U.S. rely on technology tools to know which students are demonstrating risk factors for self-harm, suicide, bullying, and violence. Advanced student wellness monitoring like Securly Aware alerts student services teams to the early signs that a student may be struggling so they can preventatively intervene and provide support. However, most of these tools fall short when it comes to addressing the needs of students who aren’t primarily English speakers. Because these tools often don’t recognize Spanish words and phrases, at-risk Spanish-speaking students could slip through the cracks. 

Securly Aware is helping schools fill this gap. Aware’s advanced technology is able to detect student safety and wellness risk signals in Spanish. Even more importantly, Aware can detect sentiment in Spanish. This capability is critical, giving Aware the ability to know the difference between harmless online activities and ones that indicate a legitimate student safety or mental health risk. Because Aware can detect real risks from false ones, school teams can feel confident that the alerts they receive are worth paying attention to.

For schools that need additional support, Securly On-Call also supports Spanish. The On-Call team of expert analysts is able to analyze and assess student safety risks in both English and Spanish. This critical service identifies students who need immediate help so school personnel can intervene quickly. 

Break Down Language Barriers and Increase Family Engagement

Improving family engagement is a challenge for many K-12 schools. Yet we know that better parent engagement leads to better student outcomes. Part of the challenge in building school-to-home connections is the lack of tools available. When the tools schools do have aren’t able to support non-English speakers, creating those connections is even more difficult.

One of the simplest ways to strengthen relationships with members of your school community is to honor their language preference. In addition to sending communications in English and Spanish, you also want to ensure Spanish-speaking families and guests feel welcome when they visit your campus. Securly Visitor is a K-12 visitor management system that helps busy front desk staff streamline the guest check-in process. Using a self-serve iPad, Visitor makes it easy for guests to check themselves in and do so in their preferred language.

For schools who wish to build family engagement, the Securly Home app lets you give both English and Spanish-speaking parents and caregivers control over school-issued devices at home. They can limit screen time by turning off Internet access with a simple tap. Even more importantly, they can gain visibility into what their students are searching for and working on. 

When parents go from asking their kids “how was school?” or “¿cómo estuvo la escuela?” (and getting a barely intelligible one-word answer) to asking specific and engaging questions, they spark more meaningful conversations and greater connections. This type of family engagement is possible with the right tools and yields benefits in the form of better K-12 student outcomes, as well as improvements in overall student mental health and wellness.

Support Students’ Safety and Wellness in Both English and Spanish

K-12 districts and schools are doing their best to provide equitable learning opportunities to their ELL students, but they can’t do it alone. They also need educational technology tools that help make their jobs a little easier. 

Technology-enabled tools that can identify student safety and wellness risks in both English and Spanish help schools support the needs of all of their students. But they’ve been virtually non-existent until now. Securly, the company that pioneered K-12 student safety, is leading the way by developing tools that help K-12 schools support native Spanish-speaking students and their families. 

Let Securly help you support the safety and wellness of your Spanish ELL students. Learn more.

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