Grant-funded Program Increases Parent Involvement

San Antonio Independent School District

Nov 22, 2022

November is Family Engagement Month, and a grant from Frito-Lay and the LULAC National Education Service Center in San Antonio (LNESC) has been helping both San Antonio ISD schools connect with parents and helping those parents connect with their children.The programming funded by the grant was designed to empower parents by giving them the technical tools and knowledge they need to support their students, said Orlando Blancas, Director of the San Antonio branch of the LNESC. 
“The grant pays for teachers at our schools to lead cohorts of parents in learning the computer skills needed to follow their children’s progress, keep track of lessons and homework, take care of needed registration and enrollment paperwork and correspond with teachers and administrators,” said Blancas. “Many of the parents will also receive computers.”
In October, Harris Middle School and Woodlawn Academy began welcoming cohorts of 10 parents at a time to participate in the training.
“But they weren’t just given web addresses,” said Cynthia Luna, counselor at Harris Middle School. “They have had someone on-hand to walk with them through the password-protected, multiple-clicking pathways to their children’s educational information and school contacts.”
The sessions empowered families as they worked through the Frontline interface.
“The information sharing was great, and our parents have found new confidence and connections to their children, but we’ve seen more than that,” said Luis De La Garza, Head of School at Woodlawn Academy. 
Most of the parents have been able to bring their spouses and children and they have all had time to sit and eat dinner together and get to know each other, he said. 
“Bringing our families together and giving them the opportunity to share experiences and recognize the things they have in common helps families build connections to each other and the campus,” said De La Garza. “It strengthens the campus community.”
Belinda Hinojosa, a parent from Woodlawn Academy, was excited about all the useful information she received at the sessions. 
“They showed us that there actually are a lot of resources out there,” said Hinojosa. 
The hands-on experience was also a help to parents who may not have experience with technology.
“It made me feel more comfortable,” Hinojosa said. “This was a great community to be a part of.”
Harris Middle School and Woodlawn Academy are both accredited International Baccalaureate World Schools with Harris offering the International Baccalaureate’s Middle Years Programme and Woodlawn Academy offering the Primary Years and Middle Years Programmes. These frameworks of learning encourage all make learning a lifelong pursuit. 
“Our parents have set a great example here for our students, showing them how open they are to learning new technology and meeting new people,” De La Garza said. 

Read the full story here.