SAISD’s next parent leaders set to graduate this week
First class set to graduate from new SAISD-UTSA Parent Academy
College and Career Readiness Parent Academy participant Olga Prado gives a presentation to a panel on Dec. 8 during the final class for the new parent academy, which focuses on leadership development.
In an effort to empower San Antonio Independent School District parents and boost their involvement in schools, SAISD has partnered with the University of Texas at San Antonio on the College and Career Readiness Parent Academy. The academy’s inaugural class is scheduled to graduate Dec. 19 during a 7 p.m. ceremony at the UTSA downtown campus.
To graduate, parents had to attend five six-hour classes on Saturdays, complete homework assignments and participate in a class presentation. The academy focuses on leadership development, planning for academic success for their children and financial literacy, among other topics. The academy is open to parents of students in SAISD’s GEAR UP college readiness program, which encompasses the entire class of 2017, this year’s 8th-graders.
“It builds confidence in us,” said Brenda Davila, a mother of two SAISD students who is among the academy’s first eight graduates. “Now, because of this, I know where I can go, and I know who I can talk to so they can help guide me.”
Davila said the information about college loans and scholarships was most valuable to her and helped her to see that attaining college for her children will not be as difficult as the thought it would be.
Roxanne Rosales, SAISD’s executive director of Academic Support, said these soon-to-be Academy graduates will be known as College-Ready Parents, equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to out into the community, including their children’s schools, to share their college knowledge with other parents.“This inaugural class has the confidence and tools needed to reach out to other parents,” Rosales said. “They will become ambassadors charged with recruiting parents to attend GEAR UP meetings, visit colleges, explore careers with their children and support their journey through high school and college. We look forward to working with and by each of these parents and learning from them as our educational partners.”
Directors from the UTSA Office of P-20 Initiatives teach the Saturday classes and are seeking to recruit approximately 30 parents for the next class of students.
Joseph Kulhanek, P-20’s director of Instructional Outreach Programs, said while parents learn valuable information about putting their children on the college track, there is also a significant focus on the communities in which they live. “
We try to first focus the conversation around community and then the neighborhood, businesses and churches,” Kulhanek said. “Why? Each of these structures has an impact on their child's school. They can become better leaders if they know how their school fits into the greater community.”