Families as Partners

Summer 2022

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Dear Community,

Families as Partners (FAP) fosters and strengthens relationships with families by cultivating trust and building collaborative and equity-focused partnerships between schools and communities. We develop intentional interactions to increase the active engagement of parents to enhance the children's learning. FAP continues to thrive because of the essential collaboration of each school principal and Parent Support Specialist and their commitment to an asset-based approach to parent engagement.

FAP is exceptionally proud of this year's accomplishments! When it became safe to welcome parents back into school buildings, we began to gather the community for workshops and events in person. Families as Partners had the first in-person event during SEL Day with the support of the SEL and CP&I departments and in collaboration with Amala Foundation. Parents gathered at Padron Elementary for the Healthy Families for Healthy Children event, which served as an opportunity for parents to learn healing-centered practices, manage stress, and reconnect. Parents were beyond ready to reunite with their school community. After two years of interacting virtually many of the parents had built friendships and were meeting each other in person for the first time.

Additionally, our new Outdoor Parent Champions organized nature walks with Parent Support Specialists, teachers, and other parents. They joined together to transform the school's outdoor spaces by creating butterfly gardens, painting school picnic tables, and building birding spaces.

Furthermore, FAP is honored and proud to have officially launched the AISD ParentChild+ Home Visiting Program during the 21-22 school year. With the AISD Early Learning Department, 22 families received virtual visits from an Early Learning Specialist Home Visitor. Parents were provided with materials for creative and fun ways to play and learn with their children, increasing the parent's knowledge and their children's school readiness. Through these interactions, we have begun to cultivate trusting relationships with families in our communities before they enter school. With the support of the St. David's Foundation and Texas Mutual, and along with our partnership with the national organization ParentChild+, our home visiting program will have the capacity to serve up to 58 families with children 18 months- to 3 years during the 22-23 school year.

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Parent Champions

Parent Champions are the heart of the Families as Partners Program, and they have been nothing short of amazing this year. Despite the challenging circumstances of the year, we had 65 Parent Champions lead across our 21 schools, with each parent developing other parents and always being ready to support their schools! These parent leaders delivered over 2,500 hours of support to their schools in the areas of Social-Emotional Learning, Literacy, and Technology. We are proud of the Parent Champions for investing in their self-growth, attending monthly learning opportunities, and for the impact, they have on their communities.

In addition, following the FAP peer-to-peer support model, FAP had four Parent Champion Mentors this year. Parent Champion Mentors were assigned five schools to support and coach other parents. We are grateful to them, and their role was instrumental in communicating with parents across the participating schools.

FAP also had an Outdoor Learning Parent Champion role designed to support outdoor learning activities, promote environmental awareness, and motivate the school community to use the outdoor spaces available in their school and city. Outdoor Learning Parent Champions dedicated time at different schools to work on numerous activities and focused on the power of community through outdoor learning and education. This Parent Champion initiative was made possible through a generous Innovation grant received from the Austin Ed Fund and our partnership with WestCave Outdoor Discovery Center. In June, families are invited to join us for a one-mile sunset hike through the beautiful Westcave canyon. See our Summer Learning Opportunities section for more information.

In the words of Mr.Frutoso Robledo, Parent Support Specialist at Houston Elementary.

"They say it takes a village, but every time you look up or turn around, it seems the village leaders (Parent Champions) are the first ones present. For that, I am forever grateful. Thank you, cannot express enough for all they have done this year to assist our campus and our community. Beginning with back to school, new registrations, shot clinics, Brighter Bites, Coats for Kids, staff appreciation lunches, and registration events for the next school year, to name a few. Each champion has grown individually throughout this year and has helped our community grow together. We are a stronger community because of them.
Thank you, Parent Champions!"

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Partner Highlights

Families as Partners goals are reached through the collaborative effort of campus parents, staff, and community partners. Our programming, what we offer, and how we offer it, continues to evolve to meet the needs of families. Over the past two years, we have recognized the collective trauma our communities have endured and the ever-increasing need for social and emotional/mental health support. The AISD SEL and CP&I team hosted a series of parent workshops on dealing with big emotions.

In addition, TBRI/NME team partnered with Walnut Creek Parent Champions to host a series of workshops on the 3 R's - Regulate, Relate, and Reason. This partnership resulted in a districtwide presentation at the Adelante Conference on the topic of "Managing Emotions and Stress when Interacting with our Children." A BIG thank you to Becky Murillo, Licensed Mental Health Professional, the TBRI/NME team, and the Department of Social and Emotional Wellness and Systems of Support for all their dedication and support to AISD families. We love when parents and educators partner!

Another valuable partnership FAP has is with United Way, Greater Austin Reading Coalition, which supported monthly training for Literacy Parent Champion on topics such as "How to Make Reading Fun", "Managing Reading Time, and how to make the best use of summertime. Our May 17, 2022, presentation covered "Ways to Prevent Summer Slide".

Austin Community College supported schools by delivering virtual computer classes for beginners, and monthly training to parent champions, in addition to holding our monthly "Enhancing your Computer Skills" sessions for parents and staff.

Through Austin PBS, we offered PBS KIDS Scratch Jr. parent workshops for families to come together to explore STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) and coding concepts. Families use technology in creative ways and learn interactive reading strategies and healthy uses of digital media. Here is data from these classes. Advancing America/ePromotora has continued to work with our communities supporting parents to build strong early literacy foundations in their children using hands-on activities and interactive family reading.

Parents have been empowered to be active contributors to their child's education through the numerous learning opportunities offered. Our partners are a vital support to building parent capacities through the different schools and communities.

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Home Visiting Program Play Day!

On April 25th, 2022, we invited families who participate in the Home Visiting program for Family Play Day. Families were excited to interact with other parents and participate in activities together. We also celebrated the end of Cycle 1, recognizing the dedication of each family and their Early Learning Specialist Home Visitors. Families shared their experiences navigating the challenges of isolating with their young children over the last two years. They expressed gratitude for having the opportunity to participate in our program as they have seen growth in their children's social skills and language development.

As we conclude Cycle 1 of the Home Visiting program, families will continue to Cycle 2, while others will transition to AISD Pre-K 3. The goal is to serve 56 families during the school year 22-23. We are now enrolling families in the AISD Parent Child+ Home Visiting Program with the plan of in-person visits starting in the Fall of 2022.

Participating families receive educational materials and creative and fun ways to play and learn with their children. The twice-a-week visits support child development, foster positive parent-child interaction, and increase the parents' knowledge and school readiness of their children. If you or someone you know has a child 18 months - to 3 years, and is interested in participating in the AISD Parent Child+ home visiting program we invite you to click HERE to complete our interest form!

FAP SEC school Yr 2022

End of Year Celebration!

On May 14th, 2022 at Wooten Neighborhood Park, Families as Partners and Student Equity Council collaborated to convene parents, students, and community partners for our "Stepping Forward Together" End of Year Recognition and Celebration. Students and parents brought their family and friends to celebrate their dedication and hard work throughout the year.

Special guests of the day were Shakira Hamilton- Adams, Secondary Counseling Coordinator, and Leslie Montoya, Certified Life Coach. We are grateful for their support and the meaningful and touching speeches they delivered to our guests of honor, our parents, and our students. Leslie inspired the parents and community to move forward, begin healing, and continue to lead with empathy. Ms. Shakira addressed the students with a beautiful poem from the South African writer Elikah Manmela.

Maria Rosas, the FAP Project Specialist, recognized, thanked, and celebrated the hard-working Parent Support Specialists and parents for supporting our schools and student education. Mr. Clarence Jones, Coordinator Of Student Agency and Engagement celebrated the journey of the AISD district Student Equity Council. He recognized the student representatives and their school sponsors for the equity work they engaged in on their campuses throughout the school year. The families of the students were proud of their children’s leadership and their role in creating pathways to more inclusive spaces in our schools.

Parents also shared their experiences. Yunivia Morales, ESL/Literacy Parent Champion at Andrews Elementary; Consuelo Araujo, SEL Parent Champion at Pecan Springs Elementary; and Coretta Abrams, Parent Champion at Jordan Elementary all gave testimonials. Yunivia emphasized how parents can make a difference when they have a voice in their school. Consuelo and Coretta had a common experience as they shared how they now feel part of a team working alongside their school staff.

I'm Coretta Abrams, and I'm a Parent Champion

How it started: During the Winter my family and I were going through a hardship that took a toll on our family tremendously. During that time I would go up to Barbara Jordan and just volunteer my time.

The beautiful soul Alicia Sanchez would find things for me to do. Her greeting me with a smile and small conversation gave my life a little normalcy. She later introduced me to some of the other faculty members; counselor Mrs. Seales, Vice Principal Mrs. Long, and Principal Mrs. Williams. Just to name a few, they were all very kind. Barbara Jordan School truly helped me during a bad time in my life. I will forever be thankful for their kindness.

How It's Going: During the school year I was asked to become a Parent Champion which allowed me to meet 3 Pro-Parent Champions Brenda, Laura, and Maria. These Mighty women helped me so effortlessly adjust to my new role. My 1st outing was the Healthy Family and Healthy Children training. It was nothing short of Amazing!! The information they shared to assist with mental health and just unwinding was informative and resourceful. For instance when dealing with stress the benefit of coloring, meditation, and breathing exercises.

Being able to learn, assist and plan as a Parent Champion of Barbara Jordan Elementary has allowed me to build life-changing relationships.

Summer Learning Opportunities

Terapia de Yoga solo en español en Andrews Elem.

Empieza el 1ro de Junio
Haga clic AQUI más detalles e inscribirse

Parent Summer Camp

North Austin - June 7-8 at Padron Elementary
9:00am - 12:15pm

South Austin - June 21-22 at Houston Elementry
9:00am - 12:15pm

Sunset Nature Hikes at Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center

June 14th - 3pm - 7:30pm

June 23rd - 3pm - 7:30pm

Click HERE to register for our Parent Summer Camp and Sunset Nature Hikes

Para registrarse al Campamento de Verano para Padres y excursiones Haga clic AQUÍ

Conscious Discipline for Teachers

June 28th Additional details will be sent soon!

Do you or someone you know have a child between the ages of 18 months and 3 years?

Do you live near Andrews ES, Guerrero Thompson ES, or T.A Brown ES? If so, you're invited to apply for AISD Parent Child+ Home Visiting Program! Click here!

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Thank you to our supporters!

We want to express our most sincere gratitude to St.David's Foundation, Austin Ed Fund, The Genevieve and Ward Orsinger Foundation, Texas Mutual, United Way of Central Texas, and other generous contributors. Thank you for your investment in our communities on behalf of families, schools, and programs.


Visit AISD Website for a Wealth of Information and Resources

BookSpring wants to help families read together!

Apply to receive free books and materials designed to enhance the motivation and interest in reading directly at home. For more information click HERE.

United Way for Greater Austin

Provides ConnectATX to find up-to-date COVID information and to get connected to many community resources. To access information click HERE.

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