Also serving Somali, Burmese and Karen families

Parent Conference

Our ground-breaking program helps families who are Burmese, Karen, Pacific Islander, Somali and Southeast Asian (Cambodian, Hmong, Lao and Vietnamese).

Many families in our outreach program are new to the United States. We work to overcome cultural barriers that keep them from getting involved in their children's schools. We want parents to know that our district welcomes their involvement -- and to understand how much their children need their involvement to thrive in school.

 Burmese/Karen Forum

What kind of resources are available?  We provide an experienced Parent Advocate who works with families, schools and community groups -- everyone with the same important goal of helping our students fulfill the promise of their new American home.

Our useful workshops make a difference.  Our Parent Advocate provides parents and schools with workshops and seminars, in topics designed for each of the many cultures we serve.

Our community partners.  We work closely with the District's San Diego Parent University and community organizations including: the Lao Parent-Student-Teacher-Association, the Vietnamese Federation of San Diego, Hmong Educational Association of San Diego, Lao and Asian Pacific Islander Education Councils, Union of Pan Asian Communities, Horn of Africaand Somali Family Service of San Diego.

This position for the Southeast Asian & Somali Parent Advocate is vacant. For more information, please contact the following person...

              Contact: Elneda Shannon

Program Manager

2375 Congress Street

San Diego, CA 92110

Tel.: 619-293-4431

Fax  619-293-4425



Lao Community Forum


        Community Outreach and Support

Parent/Community involvement and engagement are almost non-existent in Southeast Asia and Somalia.  Nearly all of Burmese and Karen refugees have never had a formal education, as they were displaced in many camps in Thailand for 5 to 25 years.  In order to appropriately and effectively serves these very unique communities, our Parent Advocate introduces the concept of "It takes a village to raise a child".  The Parent Advocate works closely with the community leaders, gatekeepers and seniors in various ethnic groups to seek help, advice, guidance and direction.  Vice-versa, in addition to the context of educational services, the Parent Advocate makes themselves available to support these communities as a consultant, advisor, collaborator and advocate in many capacities, i.e. public safety, budget, personnel and at Community hearings at the City and County level regarding programs that serve these communities.  The Parent Advocate also attends a variety community cultural and traditional celebrations as well as educational events.


Vietnamese Award Ceremony 

Family Nights

          Community members and parents come together to share information, express their concerns, and
           learn about community updates and news they can use and apply to every day life. Our Parent
           Advocate helps, organizes, assists and facilitates, as well as presents educational information and useful
           tips for parents to work with their children at home. These meetings are held at schools and/or
           public/community centers, mostly in the evening, in different languages, and for specific ethnic groups.


Somali Workshop Graduation 


           Aligned with the District's San Diego Parent University program, the Parent Advocate provides parent
           workshops and trainings in topics specifically designed for Southeast Asian, Pacific Islander and Somali
           families.  In addition, we have added classes in Burmese and Karen languages for refugees from Myanmar
           (formerly Burma).


The goal of the classes is to increase the engagement and involvement of Southeast Asian, Pacific Islander and Somali parents in their children's education. These parents value education and have a high respect for schools and teachers, but due to cultural factors, often feel it is not appropriate to be involved with their children's school or teacher. Therefore, the objective is to reinforce their values and beliefs in education, but at the same time to provide them with information about the American school system, the value of parent involvement, and how to partner with the school.



Workshops and trainings classes are organized in the morning and evenings for different language groups.


Somali Forum


           Four-session workshops are offered on the following topics:

1. Accessing School Information
Key personnel, programs, school policies, problem solving and school/student issues. 


2. Supporting Learning at Home
Study skills, helping with homework, monitoring TV, and utilizing after school activities such as tutoring and student clubs.


3. Building a Home-School Partnership
Parent-teacher conferences, being involved at schools, cultural activities and ethnic celebrations that support school success.


4. Planning for Success after High School
Common Core State Standards, 'a-g' graduation requirements, Smarter Balanced Testing, college entrance, and community service opportunities.


Somali Forum2

Community Forums


The Community Education Forums are designed for the parents of students from four ethnic groups (Karen/Burmese, Lao, Somali and Vietnamese) to gain their understanding and support for working together as partners with the school and community.  The concept of working together as partners is not a component of education found in their country of origin.  Much as in Mexico, education and teachers are respected, however, parents are not considered to be part of the decision making of the school.  These decisions are left up to those who run schools and contrary to what is practiced in the United States.  The Community Educational Forums are held in the evenings or on Saturday mornings at community locations.


Parent Conference   



San Diego Unified School District, called a model Title I district, hopes to see a doubling in federal Parental Information and Resource Center funding, but it still wouldn’t be enough, says Bea Fernandez, program manager for parent outreach and engagement.


Community Forum



Boy in garden
Click on the following link to find 

RESOURCES FOR PARENTS in Burmese|Cambodian|English |Lao|Somali |Vietnamese