Dear friends of Back on Track,
This time, we are a bit late with the newsletter because we want to make sure it is read and not buried in a pile of emails that you received during the Easter holidays. So, what did we do in March?
Workshop on Multilingualism for Mentors and Parents
On March 4, we were lucky to have Dr. Nadine Kolb from the University of Stavanger, Norway, as an expert on multilingualism. Nadine is currently conducting a study on the conditions that contribute to children learning their Arabic mother tongue and German language well. Parents particularly benefited from the correction of widespread prejudices about multilingualism. Arabic-speaking families can still participate in Nadine’s study. If interested, please send an email (in German, English, or Arabic) to email@example.com.
We are looking for Education Advisors
Due to a lack of follow-up funding, we were unable to continue financing our longtime and proven education advisor and lost her to the school. This is good for the school, but it is really difficult for our children and young people as they lack someone who can explain to them the options available and who can also communicate with schools.
Therefore, we are now looking for colleagues who come from schools, are now retired teachers, and can imagine supporting disadvantaged children and young people on a mini-job basis (5 hours/week) or possibly part-time basis with more hours. In collaboration with our social worker, you will be responsible for finding school places and advising families on problems at school. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you!
No more headscarf ban at Berlin schools
We are very pleased that the Senate Department for Education has now lifted the headscarf ban in schools. In a circular to Berlin schools dated March 27, 2023, the Senate Department announced that it no longer wants to interpret the Berlin Neutrality Act narrowly. This means that graduates of our continuing education program for refugee teachers no longer have to settle for jobs below their qualifications, and the way to school is finally open to them. Meanwhile, we are planning the next training course. Stay tuned!
We are preparing migrated parents for school
Another reason to celebrate: Back on Track e.V. is now a cooperation partner in the PartEl project of the Federal Parent Network of Migrant Organizations for Education and Participation – bbt: PartEl stands for participation of parents from third countries in parent committees and promotes the competencies of parents to achieve equal opportunities and participation for their children in the German education system. The bbt has made it its mission to encourage and empower parents from third countries with immigration history to get involved in parent committees at schools. For us, this is a wonderful addition to our PARENTable project. We look forward to preparing parents for committee work in schools as the Berlin regional office for the next three years! The project is financed by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF).
The next generation of engaged individuals is on the way
It’s great to see that our work is bearing fruit and continuing to spread: we now have four former female students in our ranks who have made the jump to upper secondary school and are now volunteering as mentors to give back what they have received in terms of support.
Of course, they can provide particularly good assistance because they know best what children and young people need who have to find their way in the German school system.
Great job, Masa, Rosseim, Sara, and Israa!
Here, our federal volunteer Jasmin conducted an interview with Israa:
Jasmin: Hi Israa, thank you for taking the time to talk to me today about your time at Back on Track. I hope you’re doing well!
Israa: Hi Jasmin, I’m doing well, thanks! I’m looking forward to the interview.
Jasmin: Very nice! I heard that you were a student here first. How did you feel during your time as a student?
Israa: My father enrolled me here at the time. The time as a student was really good, I enjoyed learning here. The teachers were all really nice, and I enjoyed coming here.
Jasmin: That sounds really nice. How did you become a mentor?
Israa: I realized early on that it was possible to get involved here. So, I applied to be a mentor to be a help for other children myself.
Jasmin: Great! Can you still remember your first day as a mentor?
Israa: Yes, I was a bit nervous, but that quickly went away. I had a lot of fun from the beginning and I also felt comfortable right away.
Jasmin: What advice can you give to others who want to become mentors? Israa: You definitely have to be patient with the children, but I was able to get used to that quickly. You should also be confident and helpful. It’s fun and you don’t have to worry about whether you can handle the school material yourself or not. Most children are still in elementary school and you can quickly look at the material and then know what’s going on.
Jasmin: Alright, that’s it for the interview. Thank you for sharing something about your time as a student/mentor with us.
Israa: You’re welcome, see you next time!
These are the highlights of the last month. In addition, we wrote no less than 9 project reports for the last year in March – with the associated billing. Afterwards, we dreamt of Excel spreadsheets!
But now, we are crossing our fingers for the next funding applications that we are currently working on so that our work can continue.
With the entire team, we wish you a nice transition to May,