Tyler Heights Elementary School has long been known for the innovative ways in which it reaches out to international parents. Now, its efforts have been recognized at the state level.

The School’s Mujeres Abriendo Caminos Cerrados (Women Opening Closed Doors) program, a group for Hispanic mothers which has been meeting for three years, will receive the John Nelson Family Engagement Award from the Maryland English Language Learner Family Involvement Network tomorrow. The annual award goes to a single program whose exemplary efforts to engage English Language Learner (ELL) families has made a significant impact in the lives of ELL youth and families in Maryland.

MELLFIN created the award to highlight model programs that demonstrate best practices for ELL family engagement and to encourage other groups to implement similar initiatives. Eligible programs are hosted by staff from school systems, community organizations, and/or businesses within Maryland.

The Tyler Heights program began in 2013 and is led by the school’s bilingual facilitator, counselor, and social worker.  The group meets approximately eight times a year and discusses topics such as communication skills, dealing with stress, and homework help.  Most importantly, the group gives Hispanic mothers a chance to build relationships with each other and expand their network of support.

The award honors the late Dr. John Nelson, a champion and advocate for equity in engagement whose work resulted in significant enhancements in the field. Dr. Nelson’s family will be on hand at the MELLFIN Conference tomorrow to present the award.  For more information about the MELLFIN, visit www.mellfin.org.