Tuesday, June 2, 2009

An Interview with Parent Liaison Luz Santizo of Calverton Elementary

Q. How do you define parental engagement as it relates to education?

A. Parent engagement is the participation of parents in every facet of their children’s education. Parents are the primary educator. When parents are engaged, it makes a big difference in the children’s education and life.

Q. What are some of the major barriers to parental engagement today versus years ago as it relates to education?


- Parents working extra hours
- Language barrier
- Lack of education
- Lack of motivation
- Parents don’t know the American Education System
- Some parents don’t feel welcome at school

Q. What are some of ways parents can become more engaged with their children around school?

A. Parents can be more productive partners if schools:
- Provide parents with clear information in both languages
- Establish times for conferences that are convenient for the parents
- Use technology such as e-mail and voice mail in both languages
- Do surveys in both languages
- Create a volunteer program for ESOL and not ESOL parents
- Create a two ways communication system in both languages
- Support parents with workshops in both languages
- Link parents to community programs
- Include parents on decision making

Q. What do you believe the school system has to do in order increase parental engagement?
A. Schools have to create a plan identifying the mission, vision, values and goals including parents’ opinions. In PG County the ESOL population is growing every day. We need to educate parents. We need to teach them how the American system works. Those parents should be included in the PTA, programs, meeting, etc. It is important to have a bilingual Parent Liaison in each school to provide services to International parents. Parental involvement does not happen by accident. Schools need to have a plan to increase parental involvement. See the needs, set goals, activities and evaluate the progress of the plan.

Q. In your opinion, do you believe active parental engagement has an impact on the persistence of students at the secondary and/or postsecondary level?
A. Yes, I believe active parental engagement has an impact on the persistence of students at any level. As students get older peer pressure is a major issue in their life. When parents are involved or engaged in their child’s education it helps to minimize problems with peer pressure in the school.

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