Parent Spotlight: Sana Hassan, Robert B. Pollock Elementary School

Posted on April 26, 2018
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Categories: Featured FACEs, Multilingual Family Support
Welcome signs in several languages

Signs welcoming families to Pollock.

Robert B. Pollock Elementary School has an incredibly diverse student body. The school serves grades K-6 and is located in Northeast Philadelphia. About 642 students attend Pollock, and the student body speaks over 26 languages, and Pollock prides itself on diversity and inclusion. The staff recognizes that their school serves a diverse community, and they work hard to create an open and welcoming environment.

Sana Hassan is a parent and staff member at Robert B. Pollock Elementary School. She has four children, all of whom have been students at Pollock. Her oldest three children attended Pollock from Kindergarten through 6th grade, and her youngest child is currently a fourth grader at Pollock.

Ms. Hassan works as a teacher’s assistant at Pollock, providing one-on-one support to students who need additional instruction. She has been incredibly involved with the school for years, starting as a frequent and enthusiastic parent volunteer. She served as Pollock’s SAC Facilitator as well as the Vice President of the school’s Home and School Association. Now, as part of Pollock’s staff, she is more involved than ever.

Pollock embraces a lot of beliefs that Ms. Hassan is passionate about, including welcoming diversity and learning from different perspectives. The school is very warm and inviting to people of all races and ethnicities, even when people first step into the school. When you stop by the front office, the secretary, Ms. Jordan can offer you a wealth of information. She, along with the rest of the school staff, is very forthcoming about communicating with people no matter what language they speak.

Everyone is encouraged to use their languages and teach others their languages as well. With the help of BCAs and telephonic interpretation services, Ms. Jordan and other staff members can more easily communicate with parents and family members who may not be  as fluent in English or are more comfortable using their native language. The front office even features a “wall” of information, flyers, and forms that are translated into dozens of languages ahead of time so that everyone, no matter what language they speak, can stay informed and involved.

“There are many different cultures in this school,” Ms. Hassan says. “We welcome and learn from all of these different cultures and languages.”

Pollock also holds events and meetings with the goal of increasing family and community engagement. The school holds monthly SAC meetings and champions open

Pollock students at first in math competition

Photo Credit: First in Math.

conversations with everyone in attendance. It also hold community-based partnership meetings. School partners are invited to discuss programs they would like to bring in or continue at the school. This meeting is especially useful for partners that run the after school programs, which provide about 200 students with homework help, reading or math supports, and fun events, such as Dr. Seuss Day or Autism Awareness Month.

Parents and families also volunteer regularly at Pollock, especially for school trips or school dances. Pollock makes a very intentional effort to bring families and community members together to create a more inclusive school community.

Teachers also work hard to make sure all students’ needs are met, and teacher’s assistants give students one-on-one support inside and out of the classroom so that they don’t fall behind. ESL support is available to help students with reading, writing, and math.

“Every child is special. We treat them like they’re our own children,” Ms. Hassan comments, “and the teachers here collaborate and help each other out.”

Ms. Hassan explains that teachers are very aware that having a diverse student body means that students will have many different needs, so teachers will support each other as much as possible.

Pollock embraces and celebrates its diversity. The school works hard to make sure its school community is open, welcoming, and inclusive. Pollock also makes an effort to be a part of the greater community by inviting community partners to engage with and support students at the school. “Diversity is what makes Pollock amazing,” Sana explains, “and it makes us who we are.”