MSU Social Work students launch resource hub for bilingual K-12 learners

April 23, 2024 - Brandon Drain

A group of Michigan State University School of Social Work students have built an online resource hub dedicated to enhancing accessibility for bilingual and Spanish speaking K-12 students and those seeking resources for them.

Their aim is to mitigate the “profound impact that language barriers have on individuals immigrating to the United States” by providing a comprehensive array of resources tailored to the needs of bilingual learners.

The team consists of three MSW students: Megan Timmerman, Mollie Brandell and Sage Gonzales. “We are firmly aligned with the mission of promoting cross-cultural understanding and facilitating smoother transitions for immigrant students as they settle into their new homes,” the team said. “We are committed to fostering an environment where language is not a barrier but a gateway to mutual understanding and collaboration.”

The website consists of a wide array of multimedia resources for K-12 students, their caregivers and educators. These resources span from videos, online interactive games and activities, tutors, translation tools, online Spanish books, tools, tips and advice. The site also includes a list of grants that schools can utilize to further promote equitable education.

“We hope that Spanish speaking students can utilize these resources to aid in their educational journey,” the team said. “We envision caregivers being able to use these resources to help them better understand and interact with their children’s education. Lastly, we hope educators utilize these resources to better understand and communicate with their Spanish speaking students as well as to empower their school system to create a more equitable environment.”

As macro-focused social workers, the team is dedicated on ensuring their work “contributes to broader policy and advocacy discussions surrounding immigrant rights, language access and social justice.” By engaging in policy and advocacy, and empowering communities by providing them with resources and tools to overcome language barriers, they hope to challenge linguistic discrimination by promoting inclusivity and encouraging a more equitable society where everyone has equal opportunities and access to resources.

“Our initiative can serve as a helpful tool to inspire research to evaluate the impact of language access initiatives on immigrant student’s educational outcomes, and community well-being, informing future policy and practice efforts.”

As a student-led team, they are looking for ways to grow, adapt and sustain their website for the ever-evolving needs of their users and community. “As of right now the website will be available for another year,” the team stated. However, the team is fully invested in their mission and is seeking help from the community to share the word, provide feedback and advocate.

“By amplifying the voices of bilingual and non-native English speakers, we contribute to a more equitable and just future where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.”