Must-Have Resources for Administrators about Supporting Immigrant Families

How can school leaders support their English language learner (ELL) and immigrant students and families? It's never too late to start, no matter what those efforts have looked like in the past. Learn how schools around the country are making it work and look for a few ideas that you can try in your setting!


Welcoming and Supporting Immigrant Families

Engaging ELL Families: 20 Strategies for School Leaders

This guide offers twenty big ideas to help you create a new ELL family engagement plan. These ideas are designed to help school leaders:

  • Strengthen home-school partnerships on behalf of ELL students
  • Recognize and build upon ELL families' strengths
  • Harness the energy and ideas of staff, parents, and students in shaping those partnerships
  • Mobilize and empower staff to become teacher leaders
  • Engage school-wide staff members beyond the ELL/bilingual departments
  • Create a culture of respect throughout the school community
  • Learn how to advocate for and allocate resources on behalf of ELL families.

12 Ways School Leaders Can Support Immigrant Families

This blog post appears on the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) website and was written by Colorín Colorado Director Lydia Breiseth. It includes practical tips and numerous resources for school leaders at all grade levels, with some specific tips about middle and high school students.

How to Support Immigrant Students and Families: Strategies for Schools and Early Childhood Programs

The guide presents more than 50 strategies that educators can use to support immigrant students and families. The strategies also include practical guidance on:

  • Immigrant students' legal rights
  • Making students and families feel welcome at school
  • Communicating with families in their own language
  • Working with local organizations that serve immigrant families
  • Helping students cope with stress and trauma
  • Preparing to serve students if a family member is detained or deported
  • Addressing the most common concerns that families have.

How to view the guide

The guide is available online. You can also:

Welcoming Immigrant Students in School

This infographic from the Intercultural Research Development Association (IDRA) serves as a reminder that public schools, by law, must serve all children. Not only should undocumented students not be discouraged from attending, they are required to attend school under the state's compulsory education laws. This is critical information for all administrators and staff assisting with student registration.


Video Projects

How a Community School Helps Its ELLs Succeed

Wolfe Street Academy in Baltimore, MD is a community school with more than 76% ELLs. Learn how it's serving families through dental screenings, food giveaways, after-school activities, and much, much more! (Bonus videos are available.)

You Are Welcome Here: Support for Immigrant Students in Dearborn, Michigan

The Salina K-8 Campus, located in the south end of Dearborn, MI, serves a large population of families from Yemen who have fled their country's civil war. This film is also available with Arabic subtitles. (Bonus videos are available.)

School Leaders on How to Partner with ELL/Immigrant Families

Learn from these veteran school leaders and ELL experts how to build effective, respectful partnerships with ELL families. You can see the complete interviews in our video library.


Preparing for Immigration Raids

Learn how schools can support students and families impacted by an immigration raid such as those that occurred in Mississippi in August 2019.

Emergency contact information

Help immigrant families keep their emergency contact information updated, one of the most critical steps educators can take on behalf of immigrant families.

Related strategies for schools


More Resources

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