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Jessie Garza, Jr. Parent & Community Involvement Director Yakima School District.

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Presentation on theme: "Jessie Garza, Jr. Parent & Community Involvement Director Yakima School District."— Presentation transcript:

1 Jessie Garza, Jr. Parent & Community Involvement Director Yakima School District

2 Yakima School District Service Area Characteristics The Yakima School District (YSD), consists of 21 elementary, middle, high and alternative schools, and is located in rural eastern Washington State in the community of Yakima and has an enrollment of over 15,000 students. Approximately 75,000 of the residents live in the City of Yakima, but it encompasses approximately 110,000 residents who live in the Yakima Valley. In the past fifteen years, the population of Yakima has exploded with an influx of residents that has primarily been comprised of Mexican and Hispanic immigrants who labor as farmworkers. Families continue to migrate to Yakima annually during agricultural seasons.

3 (below) summarizes these demographic and at-risk factors: Student Enrollment Characteristics in Yakima School District School Type#Enrollment Low- Income Hispanic LEP Limited English Proficiency Migrant Elementary 146, %60.1%32.1% 22.3% Middle 53, %54.5%15.8%26.0% High 23, %51.5%17.0%22.1% Alternative 11, %45.3%8.9%6.2% WA STATE -1,013, %13.7%7.4%2.0% Source: Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, School Report Card, 2005 – 2006

4 How do we get parents involved in their childs education?

5 Before talking to parents about the importance of parental involvement in their childrens education. Its important that parents know who we are. Parents need to know that I am a person, regardless of my position, whether I am a teacher, a building principal, or a director, etc. and just because I may wear a suit and tie to work, and have a college education doesnt mean that Im all that different. And, what qualifies me on this subject? Knowing a little about my background, such as where I came from, how I got to where I am, etc. can many times open the doors to better communication and help establish trust and build a good rapport with parents. Especially if they feel that the presenter or person talking to them has similar or comparable life experiences or backgrounds as they do.

6 Thus, I will share how my family migrated to Yakima Valley in 1939

7 They worked In Agriculture

8 Settled in 1942 and were among 1 of only 6 other Hispanic families known to have settled in the Yakima Valley at that time.

9 I let them know that my parents divorced when I was only 5 years of age

10 My grandparents Ambrosio and Herminia Moreno Raised me – they were my mentors and educators! Though my grandmother couldnt read or write in English, she taught me how to read and write in Spanish before I started 1 st grade. It was always my grandparents dream that I would finish high school and maybe someday be able to work in a grocery store as a box boy! To them, this was a huge step- up in terms of upward mobility – career wise! My grandfather passed away when I was a Freshman in High School. During my sophomore year in High School, before my grandmother passed away from cancer; I made her a promise that I would finish high school and graduate.

11 Education & Professional Experience As I had promised my grandmother; I graduated from High School in In 1971, my wife and I married at the young age of 19 years, and I worked at El Ranchito a Mexican food restaurant and tortilla factory. I started my career in social services at the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic, YVFWC in 1974, where I worked as a Dental Educator and Outreach Worker. While at the YVFWC, I worked my way up the ladder, became the Human Resources Director and Director of Operations. I attended College full-time at night & weekends, while working full-time. In 1982, I was one of the first in our family to graduate from College with a Bachelors Degree. In 1982, I formed the Northwest Community Action Center, NCAC, a new division of the YVFWC. which grew from 4 full-time staff to 75 FTE and 350 Part-time staff who provide: – –Energy Assistance & Weatherization Program – –Youth & Adult Employment and Training Program – – 21 st Century Programs and other dropout prevention programs, & – –A host of other services with a mission of assisting families and individuals to achieve self-sufficiency In 2005, I accepted a position with the Yakima School District as the Parent & Community Involvement Director.

12 This is the home where I was raised and where my wife and I began raising our 3 children.

13 Our 3 Children Jessie, Michael, and Karionne Garza

14 Because of my grandparents involvement in my life, my wife and I too made sure to be involved in our childrens education and as a result! All 3 of our children graduated from high school with honors. All 3 of our children graduated from Washington State University, WSU with honors. All 3 of our children are married and have their own careers; – –Our son: Jessie J. Garza is a High School Science Teacher in the Vancouver School District and was the 1 st grandchild to graduate from college. – –Our son: Michael D. Garza is an Architect at BCRA in Tacoma – –Our daughter: Karionne M. Garza is a 3 rd Grade Teacher in the Prosser School District and is the 1 st grandchild to earn a Masters Degree.

15 Volunteering at Home Understanding why parents dont get involved Empowering parents to get involved in their childs education Why and how to track progress

16 In our efforts to find out why parents dont get involved or engaged in their childs education, our district held several meetings with parents. At these meetings; the 4 most common reasons that Parents/Guardians indicated why they cant volunteer or dont get involved were: They cant speak English They cant read or write They cant help their son/daughter with their math problems or other difficult subject areas! They work fulltime and cant get time off from work.

17 As a result of meetings with parent groups, input from our Parent & Community Advisory Group, and our 21 st Century Site Coordinators, the Yakima School District came up with the idea of designing a pilot program. Thus, Evolved The Parent/Guardian Home Support Volunteer Program This pilot program is designed to allow parents to perform volunteer services from their homes, help parents build their confidence by helping them recognize and utilize their personal strengths and empowering them as parent volunteers. This pilot program is designed to engage and empower all families with emphasis in those who work full-time and find it difficult to be engaged in school sponsored activities that are generally held during the regular school day, and families from low-income and diverse cultural backgrounds who often do not feel comfortable at school.

18 Next comes how do we get parents to enroll?

19 Before you try to enroll parents, they need to be made aware that even; If they dont speak English – its OK! If they cant read or write – its OK! If they cant help their child with school work - its OK! If they work full-time during the daytime – its OK!

20 Parents need to know that even if they cant speak English, read or write, as a volunteer; a parent can…. Find a place for his/her child to study and/or to do their schoolwork; whether its at the kitchen table, on the sofa, or even on the floor.

21 As a volunteer the parent/guardian can have their child read to them.

22 As volunteers parents can be involved by attending their childs extra- curricular activities that are held at school in the evenings!

23 As volunteers, parents can be involved by attending their childs sports events or volunteering to help as a coach or as a coaches assistant!

24 As volunteers, parents can also be involved by sharing their own interest or hobbies with their children, which also helps them create a bond with their children!

25 Volunteering can also include sharing information about their interest and hobbies in their childs class

26 Character. Its who you are! Volunteer work also includes teaching, modeling, building and recognizing good character at home. We want to remind parents that whatever behavior their children see their parents model - they too will model.

27 As the parents begin to gain their confidence, they can contact their childs teachers who can suggest parent-child interactive activities that are coordinated with the curriculum such as; skills practice, enrichment games, or other activities that support their childs education. This can also be an opportunity for the parents to learn along with their child to read and write.

28 As their childs home support volunteer, families can help their children develop good study habits, supervise their homework, monitor TV viewing, and after-school activities, and supervise regular bedtimes and school attendance.

29 As a volunteer, and as their confidence continues to build; parents become their childs advocates to make sure their children are getting the needed help to do well in school. Even if the parent cant read or write, when their child is having difficulty completing school work assignments, and as their childs advocate and the districts parent/guardian volunteer; They can call and/or visit their childs school to inquire about what student support services are available such as tutoring, after-school programs i.e. 21st Century Community Learning Centers, (21st CCLC), enrichment programs, GEAR-UP, etc.

30 Getting parents enrolled as volunteers Enrollments can be done by inviting parents whose children are enrolled in the 21 st Century Program to a special meeting where the program is explained to them in a group setting, and/or the presentation could be done in conjunction with a regularly scheduled parent night. Enrollments into the program can be done effectively during parent/teacher conferences, and/or in small groups of parents. However, enrollments during the first year of the program should be done on a small scale with maybe only a few parents who are willing to help you to identify and provide input with what works, what doesnt and how to improve.

31 Review the Duties & Responsibilities Primary Function: This person will provide their volunteer services from their home and will be responsible for promoting and ensuring that education is a high priority in their childs life. Their duties will include being engaged and involved with their child by spending quality time and monitoring their childs school work to ensure that it is being completed by their son, daughter, grandchild, and/or otherwise a child under their guardianship. They will act as their childs advocate by contacting the schools when their children need assistance with difficult to understand subject areas such as math problems, making sure that their child gets plenty of rest and sleep to ensure that they are ready to learn each day. Examples of activities: At home, volunteers will set-aside time, space and check daily that the student has completed their homework as assigned by their teacher(s). Activities may also include signing a form indicating that homework assignments have been completed and returned to their teacher. Set aside time to hear their child read, or read to their child in their own native language English, Spanish, or other. Help student prepare for tests by setting aside study times, playing games that are engaging, or other fun activities or hobbies that can be shared e.g. playing basketball, review character education traits being learned, etc. Other activities may include volunteering to help out in their childs classroom. When possible, attend teacher/parent conferences, or other school sponsored activities for parents such as: Math, Literacy, Science nights, and other parent/family engaged activities.

32 Desired Qualification and Requirements This person can be a parent, grandparent or guardian of the student attending Yakima School District, (YSD). This person must have the desire to motivate student, have patience, model good character, and provide positive words of encouragement and support. Willing to be their childs advocate and make every effort to become familiarized with resources available to help their childs academic and non-academic needs. Willing to make an effort to attend teacher/parent conferences. Must be willing to also support their child in the non-academic and positive activities such as the sports they are involved in, after school activities and other events e.g. soccer, baseball, volleyball, hobbies, etc.

33 Parents/Guardians will need to fill out a district volunteer application form. Though parents will be providing their volunteer service from home, we still ask them to fill out the volunteer application form. The primary purpose of filling out a volunteer application is to be able to capture their work and credit them for their service.

34 This portion of the application is not required!

35 As volunteers; parents/guardians will be asked to complete the monthly reporting form which can be collected on a monthly basis, for every month they volunteer.


37 X X

38 The purpose of the monthly reporting form –It can help provide the district collect valuable information about the types of activities parents are actively involved in with their children that are effective and creating positive results. –It will provide back up data and confirmation for reporting the parents involvement and in meeting their parent and school compacts. –Once collected it will help other parents with suggestions or ideas about the types of activities that they can do with their children at home and/or at school.

39 For parents who have indicated that they cant read or write or speak English, the district has partnered up with Yakima Valley Community College to provide ESL classes and with Central Washington University to provide GED Classes, so that they can develop the necessary skills to help their children with school work and assignments!

40 As their childs volunteer; Parents teach their children and encourage them to ask for help themselves when they need help with their school work! It is also important!

41 A child who develops good study habits, along with good character and supportive parents that are involved

42 Has a better chance of completing high school, vocational education, or college and obtaining the Skills for Successful Living

43 Thank You! Questions or thoughts? Jessie Garza, Jr. Yakima School District Parent/Community Involvement Director 104 North 4th Avenue Yakima, Washington (509)


45 Jessie Garza, Jr. Yakima School District Parent/Community Involvement Director 104 North 4 th Avenue Yakima, Washington (509)

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