What I Learned @LAUSD Family Summit 2012: Estoy Aprendiendo Español

On May 5, 2012, I joined with my Microsoft colleagues to support Los Angeles Unified School District for their Family Summit 2012.  This was amazing day to share about careers, entrepreneurship, and college. In the end, I walked away with some lessons learned for me.

The LAUSD Family Summit 2012 was held at the University of Southern California. Microsoft was sponsor of the event as a part of our Corporate Citizenship. We had a team from our Microsoft Store, our local LA offices, and members of our Worldwide Education team led by Anthony Salcito, Worldwide VP for Education.

Mónica García - School Board President Gives Impassionate Talk For Families
Mónica García - School Board President Gives Impassionate Talk For Families

The Robotics First West Coast Finalists also were displaying their basketball playing autonomous vehicles. The beautiful USC campus and the broad portfolio of technology from Microsoft made this an exciting and immersive day for students, families, and educators. Thousands of families attended the Summit. While the focus was on pathways to college and career–it was clear that every family in attendance wanted a better life and brighter future for their children.  I am fully convinced that it gets better and brighter for LAUSD and families across the nation.

My workshop presentation was the 2012 Edition of STEM:EARN.  Both of the sessions were well-attended with families seeking insight into how science, technology, engineering, and math empowers students as entrepreneurs and career seekers.

Because of LA’s diverse population, we had an interpreter in every room with state-of-the-art translation gear. This was a tremendous benefit and made the workshops more accessible to everyone.  In my first session, I had 100% English-language speakers. My second session was more diverse.

It was during my second session that I had an aha moment, my slides were designed to be presented to ann English-only audience. Even though we had an interpreter, I had prepared my workshop with only one audience in mind.  While I was speaking and interacting with the parents and students, I was thinking about how my presentation would be perceived if they were in German or Hindi and my audience was Italian.  I reflected on that dynamic for the remainder of weekend.

While we had addressed the language barrier with the great interpreters we had available; I felt a final barrier was still there for me to remove.

In considering my bride’s Mother’s Day gift, I made a decision to buy a Spanish language course. When I presented it to her, she immediately declared that we would learn a new language as a family. As of this writing, that journey has begun.

I thank the families of LAUSD.  In the future, I will make the necessary investmentsto ensure that nothing is lost in translation.  It is journey.  With that in mind, I have used our Bing Translator to update my workshop deck.

You can learn more about the LAUSD Family Summit 2012 event at the Microsoft LA Blog.

Microsoft as a tremendous advocate and enabler of accessibility in technology.  Visit the Microsoft Accessibility site to learn more.