FWISD HOLDS INAUGURAL FAMILY ACADEMY GRADUATION
Fort Worth, Texas – Parents participated in the inaugural graduation ceremony for Fort Worth ISD’s new Family Academy on Thursday, June 28, 2012, in the Glencrest 6th Grade Center, 4801 Eastline, Fort Worth.
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The Family Academy was established this year to promote family engagement in the A.M. Pate and Glencrest 6th Grade communities. Of the 115 parents and guardians who completed the program, 60 participated in the graduation ceremony.
Parents signed commitments to participate in a minimum of 25 hours of parent engagement activities and programming. Some of the classes included Closing the Technology Gap, Money Management, Resume and Interviewing Tips and Having a Successful Parent and Teacher Dialogue.
“Family Academy has equipped parents with the tools to help their children at home by acquiring educational and financial understanding,” said Stephanie Jackson, director of Parent Engagement for Fort Worth ISD. “The program has inspired parents to share with others in their communities the importance to partner with their school and be actively involved in their children’s education.”
Some of the Family Academy graduates include:
Yvonne Davis, a dedicated and dynamic single mom of a 2nd grader at A.M. Pate Elementary. Every day before her 10:00 a.m. work shift, Yvonne arrives at school in her work uniform ready to lend a helping hand to teachers, students and other parents. While working full-time at a local restaurant, Ms. Davis still managed to volunteer more than 200 hours this school year. During the spring semester, Ms. Davis attended an orientation on Family Academy and immediately signed-up to be a part of the first inaugural class.
“I attended school in Fort Worth ISD and I didn’t graduate. I want to learn all I can about making sure my daughter graduates and attends college,” she said.
After attending a variety of parenting and community workshops, Ms. Davis was inspired to complete her GED and will begin taking classes in July at the Tarrant County Community Opportunity Center. And, after attending the home ownership program through Habitat for Humanity, she is ready to become a first-time home owner.
“I understand if I want my daughter to do well in school I have to lead by example. I have to complete my GED and I want to own my own home. This program has opened my eyes and motivated me to reach higher and higher and maybe one day I will get my degree.”
Jose and Juana Guerrero faithfully attended Family Academy workshops and presentations at Glencrest 6th Grade Center. They have a 14 year-old who attended Glencrest 6th Grade Center, a 9 year-old at Worth Heights ES and a 3 year-old. Jose and Juana wanted to learn about programs and opportunities in the District. They learned how to navigate the Parent Portal, the importance of college readiness preparation, the FWISD Gold Seal Program of Choice opportunities and more.
Mr. Guerrero stated, “It helped us to appreciate the value of an education and work on becoming better parents. We will continue to grow as a family and help our children become successful in our community.”
LaWanda Slaughter immediately registered for Family Academy after hearing about it from another participant. As a single mother of a 12-year-old son and daughters who are 10, 9 and 7, LaWanda wanted to learn more about how to get involved.
“I only work part-time and I wanted to learn how I can help the school, myself and my kids. My friend kept telling me about all the workshops and what she was learning so I had to sign up," she said.
After attending a session on vocational training opportunities, Ms. Slaughter was empowered to schedule an appointment to learn the steps to becoming a central sterile processing technician, a medical professional who specializes in stocking, sterilizing and packaging the tools that are used in surgical procedures.
“Since I already work at a hospital and I see all the opportunities, this program felt like a good fit,” LaWanda said. She'll begin the 6 month program this fall and is eager to model the importance of higher education to her children. “Family Academy has kept me motivated and I want my kids to know not to ever give up on education and to know that they have a mother who is strong and simply wants better for them.”
Monica Sotelo, who has four children who attend W.M. Green Elementary, is an engaged parent who jumped at the opportunity to participate in the FWISD Family Academy. Mrs. Sotelo recently completed the Strengthening Families Program, and wanted to continue to learn more about resources and strategies designed to help her family become true partners in their children’s education. She decided to participate in the variety of community workshops and presentations offered by Family Academy.
“The more information I have, the better I can help my children,” Mrs. Sotelo said. She found that the information she learned will help her to be more responsive to her children’s needs. “I learned that I have to have good communication with my children in order to resolve problems, and I need to be more observant and patient before I correct them.” Mrs. Sotelo will continue taking parenting classes this fall.
Maria De la Luz Reyes is a proud parent of a five year-old who attends Glen Park Elementary and is learning English so she can obtain her dream job as a supervisor in the agricultural business. Maria knows that it is important to be prepared for a good future. She is grateful for the variety of opportunities that Family Academy has exposed her to, but more specifically, those that deal in adolescent development and college readiness.
“I really enjoyed learning how to understand my child’s development and how to help when they go to college,” Maria commented, adding she now has conversations about college with her young child. “I began talking to her about different things she could be, and she said she wanted to become a dentist. I know she is young, but now we are investigating colleges and I am planting those seeds so she will have a great future in life.” Ms. De la Luz Reyes has signed on for more ESL classes and she cannot wait to volunteer at her child’s campus.
Parents and guardians who completed Family Academy will be invited to participate in the Parent Leadership Academy in the 2012-2013 school year. They will act as ambassadors in their communities mentoring other parents.
For more information, contact Stephanie Jackson at Stephanie.email@example.com.