The Castillos, a Brooke Mattapan Multilingual Family
To access this blog in Spanish, click here!
Our multilingual team works with students who speak other languages at home. Ms. Aimee Nitolo, a multilingual student coordinator at Brooke Mattapan since 2015, has had the privilege to work with Ivana and Isabella, two multilingual students who came to Brooke in the 2020 academic year, in the middle of the pandemic.
Below, Ms. Nitolo and Ivone, Ivana and Isabella’s mother, interview each other about Brooke’s multilingual program and the relationship they have built.
Ms. Nitolo: Why did you want to send your daughters to Brooke?
Ivone: When we arrived in the states, we had a lot of unknowns about everything. We were told that Brooke was a very good school where almost the majority of students from Boston would like to go. We filled out the application, and luckily and perhaps because of fate, Isabella came out in the lottery and then, Ivana.
Ivonne: Why did you want to become part of the Brooke community?
Ms. Nitolo: I took a tour of the school, and I saw that the kindergarten students were already writing. It’s not just that the school days and years are longer, but what they are doing is different and the students are happy and proud of their work.
Ms. Nitolo: What were your first impressions of Brooke?
Ivonne: When we got to Brooke, I already had some background about education from my country and what it was like. I was able to see from home via Zoom during the pandemic, the quality staff they had. I was able to see how they managed to make a child read, write, and speak a language through Zoom. Everything they did was at a wonderful level.
Ms. Nitolo: How does Brooke support you as a parent?
Ivonne: I want to make sure that my girls are in a safe, trustworthy place, and that they have the tools to grow personally and academically. If there is ever something that I may have a question about, the staff is always willing to answer those quickly and with lots of support!
Ms. Nitolo: How does Brooke support your scholars?
Ivonne: In an extraordinary way. For example, Ivana is a girl who, if you don’t make the effort to identify with her, she won’t respond. Ivana has changed her personality because of the support that the staff have given her. In other words, Brooke supports my girls not only with school, but also with personal matters.
Ivonne: What is your favorite part about being a multilingual coordinator?
Ms. Nitolo: I have the opportunity to get to know students and families, including Isabella and Ivanna, and watch them grow over years. I even have former students in college now, and that is so rewarding to see.
Ms. Nitolo: What is your proudest moment?
Ivonne: The moment I saw that they got recognition through events such as the honor roll assemblies, despite all the difficulties.
Ivonne: Can you describe your proudest moment at Brooke?
Ms. Nitolo: There are many, but one is with your girls! They entered at a difficult time in the middle of the pandemic, which was a time when we were trying to learn how to teach and support students over Zoom, but Isabella learned to read remotely in one year, and they both passed the ACCESS exam on the same day and qualified to exit the multilingual program in one year in this country. Very impressive!
TO REFLECT ON THEIR INTERVIEW, WE ASKED MS. NITOLO AND IVONE A FINAL QUESTION.
What do you appreciate about each other?
Ms. Nitolo: Ivone, you are like part of my family too. Whenever I see you, it’s like you are the sun! Even though your girls have already exited the multilingual program, whenever I see them, they make my day better.
Ivone: Mrs. Nitolo has been very important in our family, because she not only gave us support in what her profession demands, but also in the personal part. We value that as a family and we are infinitely grateful.