Park City set to host community night for Latinos

September 4, 2012
Author: Satl Lake Tribune
http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/54827558-78/community-park-district-latino.html.csp

A back-to-school night at McPolin Elementary School in Park City will have the usual information booths about after-school programs and other community activities as children get set to hit the books for another academic year.

But also on this year’s agenda: A mariachi band, games, snacks and activities targeted at the school district’s booming Latino population.

In conjunction with the United Way of Salt Lake, McPolin Elementary and the Park City School District on Thursday will host a community night for Latino parents, designed to better connect them with their children’s education.

Parents will learn more about school programs, family literacy programs and extra-curricular activities available through the school district and a local community learning center.

A health booth will offer flu shots and information on how families can gain access to health care providers, including enrollment in CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

"The goal is to make parents feel comfortable and engaged so they will support the school, and encourage their kids to get good grades," said Isabel Rojas, the United Way’s community collaborations director for Park City, in a news release.

The school district, home to roughly 4,400 students in kindergarten through 12th grade, has seen its demographics change dramatically over the past decade.

In 2004, Latino students comprised 11 percent of the district’s student population, with 470 of the district’s 4,212 students identifying as Latino.

Last year, the district reported 831 Latino students, who made up 19 percent of the student population. That marks a 77 percent increase from 2004 to 2012 in the number of Latino students who call Park City home, said Patrick Ogden, the district’s information specialist.

A changing population means more outreach events like this week’s community night for Latino parents, which is part of the United Way’s Promise Park City Initiative. The project aims to work with Park City community members to develop goals for children and families in the area. Programs are offered at 22 community learning centers in the region, where people can access educational programs, social services, health resources and other assistance.

Thursday’s community night starts at 3:45 p.m. at McPolin Elementary, 2270 Kearns Blvd., in Park City.

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