Welcome to La Escuela Familiar 

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Vision: To create a positive and welcoming learning community where Latino families can gather to support each other to grow in mind, body, and spirit. The family is basic building block of society and the foundation for supporting successful bi-lingual and bi-literate learners who will be our future leaders.


Mission: To provide context based learning opportunities in Spanish for children from Hispanic and Latino families to build upon their basic interpersonal communication skills to develop cognitive academic language proficiency.


1. To increase student achievement in both Spanish and English by providing academic instruction in the family’s first language

2. To strengthen parents ability to support their children by providing the family with the academic language of learning

3. To honor the dignity and role of parents as their children's first teachers by giving priority to their first language


La escuela familiar is a 10 week program of Saturday classes starting in the fall of 2018 focused on maintaining Spanish from a  young age and building from basic interpersonal communication to cognitive academic language proficiency. (Baker, 2006). The environment of La escuela familiar will be intentionally developed to support bilingualism, not just as a program to learning a second language, but to support Spanish–speaking students in becoming fully bi-lingual and bi-literate. Research studies have shown that along with helping students become more creative and better able to overcome challenges, bilingual children who are literate in both languages perform better on achievement test than their peers.

Welcome to

Hugo Pantoja, Director of

La Escuela Familiarl

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Holy Family Healthcare is happy to announce Hugo F. Pantoja will be joining our outreach team as the Director of La Escuela Familiar. Born in Mexico, Hugo attended school until age 17. He is fluent in Spanish, a skill which has helped him throughout his professional life. In 1985, he immigrated to Michigan where he met his wife, Patricia. They have lived in Paw Paw for the past 25 years.


Hugo has earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Management and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Cornerstone University. He and Patricia have four daughters who were fortunate to attend Saint Mary’s Catholic School in Paw Paw. Their first daughter recently graduated from Western Michigan University with a Bachelor Degree in Social Work and their second daughter is starting her third year at Kalamazoo College. The two youngest daughters are in 7th and 12th grade at Paw Paw Public Schools.


Hugo has worked at the Van Buren Intermediate School District since 2010, where he has been fortunate enough to work with children from 2 ½ to 21 years old. His passion lies in helping families in any way he can and watching students succeed in school and in life. He is looking forward to being a part of La Escuela Familiar and welcoming new families while equipping them with the correct tools to excel both inside and outside the classroom.