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‘Welcome Guide’ assists Mendon-Upton Spanish Immersion Teachers in transition to new life

Mendon-Upton presenters at the "Better Together: Family School Partnership Summit" were, from left, parents Aimee Osterhus and Cayla McBee, Spanish Immersion Program Coordinator Meagan Pike, teacher Nazaret Molina, Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Kirkpatrick, and parents Kristy Bradley and Ainara Lane. Photo Courtesy Mendon-Upton Regional School District

In the fall of 2022, four new Spanish immersion teachers arrived in Mendon-Upton Regional School District, all from Spain

Moving their families and settling in a new job in a new country is a tremendous transition. Several parents, administrators, and members of the MURSD Spanish Immersion Board recognized the challenges and wanted to make this transition easier. 

This was the genesis of the Spanish Immersion Transition Sub-Committee, a group of parents, teachers and administrators who met regularly during the 2022-2023 academic year to develop ways to better support new educators making a significant move to the District. 

The group created a “Welcome Guide” that included information about obtaining a driver’s license and Social Security card, finding a place to live, identifying local doctors and child care options, among other potential needs. Parents in the group networked and researched resources. The guide can be found at 

Cayla McBee, one of the parents, said, “I am struck by the generosity of the parents who donated their time and expertise to the project and I am excited to see our efforts improve the transition experienced by teachers moving to our District.”

The group completed the Welcome Guide in June. Immersion teacher Marta Calvo translated the document and shared it with two incoming Immersion teachers this fall. 

Nazaret Molina, one of these teachers, said, “I want to express my gratitude for the Welcome Guide document, which greatly helped me streamline the long documentation process for moving from Spain to the United States. It allowed me to get organized in advance, and made available resources that I would need to handle the transition. Its local focus made it an invaluable resource for settling in this new community. And since I arrived, everyone has been so supportive.”

Group members were accepted to present their work at the second annual "Better Together: Family School Partnership Summit," held in October in Marlborough by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.“I was so inspired by the work of this group of parents and educators and I knew that other districts might benefit from hearing about the work this group did,” Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Kirkpatrick said. 

The group plans to continue to meet through the District’s Spanish Immersion Advisory Board to improve the Welcome Guide, and use it as the impetus to create a similar guide for all newcomer families. 

“Among the parents, teachers, students and administrators, our program has no lack of people wanting to be involved and help our program and its visiting teachers thrive,” Spanish Immersion Program Coordinator Meagan Pike said. “It is an honor to be a part of this group who has created something so useful and helpful in such a tangible way.” 

The Mendon-Upton Regional School District thanks group members for their commitment to improving the experiences of students and staff: Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Kirkpatrick; Memorial Elementary School Principal Wendy Bell; Spanish Immersion Program Coordinator Meagan Pike; Human Resources and Payroll Manager Laurie Petti; teachers Marta Calvo, Santiago Dominguez, Nazaret Molina, and Ana Belén Moreno López; and parents Abby Barlas, Kristy Bradley, Nicole Casasanta, Claudia Conte, Meg Halfpenny, Ainara Landry, Kristen Lipresti, Lola Martinez, Cayla McBee, Aimee Osterhus, Annie Righter, Catherine Wallace, and Alycia Welch. 

Source: Mendon-Upton Regional School District