The Wasco Union Elementary School District held its monthly Parent University last week. It was an opportunity to learn about different topics and a way to empower the whole family.
The Parent University workshops align with the WUESD mission to provide all students with an education that promotes lifelong learning and appreciation for diversity and responsible citizenship.
Angela Devin is an English learner and early literacy coordinator with the WUESD. She said it is a way to unite the community for a common reason.
"It really is just a way to empower our families to support our students. We help make sure our students are academically successful. We're giving parents resources, and it's a time to create a positive culture within our community; it's a way for us as a school to connect with the families."
Devin brings a wealth of experience to the program, having been with the district for 17 years, during which she was a teacher in different grades. She has been in her current role for eight years.
She said the workshops are important because they educate parents and families on various topics like nutrition and fitness, which was the topic in January.
"Sometimes the topics revolve around technology, for example. We teach parents how to navigate our Aeries website portal so they can go online to view their child's grades and access other helpful information about what is happening in the school and the district," Devin said.
Other topics covered include a presentation by California State University, Bakersfield, where they shared about their high school equivalency program for those parents who do not have a high school education to encourage them to attain that.
In the past, there have also been presentations by social workers to shed light on community resources to reduce barriers that students have in the classroom and stress how attendance is critical to a student's success.
"We do a survey so parents can tell us what areas they would like to learn more about," Devin said.
Danny Arellano, director of special projects for the WUESD, said, "As a district, we provide our school community and educational partners, which are our parents and students, relevant topics based on need and interest.
"We want our parents to be better informed about our student supports and services. In addition, we hope to encourage our parents to be more involved in their child's education. Research shows that one major factor for increasing student achievement is parental involvement."
Oralia Rivera said she comes to learn how to support her child and her progress better.
"I think as parents, we need to participate in events like this for many reasons but primarily to show our children we care about their education. It's also an opportunity to share our concerns and stay informed."
Another parent, Chely Vadillo, said that with the workshops, she has learned to communicate effectively with her child's teachers and has kept abreast of her child's education.
"It's an enriching experience because oftentimes you don't know what is going on in the school and even in the city."
Parent Rosa Guzman said she really enjoys the workshops.
"They are great. We get a lot out of it."
The following Parent University will be on Thursday, Feb. 9, with a discussion about the dangers of vaping and tobacco use among youth.
It is open to families with children from transitional kindergarten to 8th grade in the WUESD.
For more information, visit their Facebook page at @WUESD or their Instagram page at @wasco.wuesd.