PARTICIPA … en mi Educación

Recognizing the importance of including Latino families as partners in their children’s education, Educación para Nuestro Futuro, in partnership with Arlington Public Schools (APS), is offering PARTICIPA en mi Educación as part of its parent leadership program. PARTICIPA is a parent involvement and leadership course designed for immigrant parents who want to deepen their understanding of how the American school system works to be able to navigate it effectively and strengthen their ability to support and advocate for their children’s education.

PARTICIPA was initiated in 1997 by one of Arlington Public Schools Special Projects that focuses on promoting family involvement. It consists of 9 two-hour workshops that use a participatory, hands-on, and problem-posing approach to develop the capacity, skills and confidence of Latino parents to participate actively in their children’s education. It is expected that as a result of their participation in these workshops, parents will:

√ Increase their knowledge about the structure and functioning of American schools;
√ Have greater understanding about the roles, rights, responsibilities, and contributions of parents in
American schools;
√ Increase their confidence and ability to support and advocate for their children’s education and develop
their leadership skills; and
√ Build supportive relationships that will help them become actively involved in their children’s learning.

Key questions that are covered by PARTICIPA include:

  • What is the educational path that children follow from kindergarten to college?
  • What are the critical things at each grade level that we need to know to make sure our children succeed in school?
  • What questions can we ask each year in order to support, monitor and advocate for the education of our children?
  • How are students graded and what do we need to pay special attention to when interpreting the report cards children received in each grade?
  • What are the main roles, rights, and responsibilities of parents in American schools?
  • What programs and special support systems exist for students who are learning English?
  • How well are students from different ethnic/racial groups doing academically?
  • How are decisions made in the school system and how can parents have a voice to improve the system?

Program evaluations indicate that PARTICIPA has been very successful in accomplishing its goals. Parents consistently report that PARTICIPA has deepen their knowledge of the American school system and enable them to navigate it more effectively; it has increased their understanding about parent roles, rights, and responsibilities in U.S. schools; it has develop their ability to ask questions and their confidence to support and advocate for their children’s education; and it has helped them to build and strengthen relationships with other families and leaders in the school community. Below are some examples from the participant evaluations about the results they obtained:

"Now I can review the grades in the report card because I understand better than in previous years.”
“One important thing I learned was in what level my child is in reading”
“I am more connected with the teachers about how my children are doing.”
“I am now volunteering at school and letting my daughters be more independent”
“ I understand the levels in the educational path from pre-k to the university ”
“I am asking better questions”
“I learned to be able to speak in public”
“I am more aware about my rights in the schools"