Parent Engagement Leads to Student Success

By David Hernandez, Director of Community Service and Parent Resource Centers

The Parent Education Initiative at Madera Unified School District is moving into a two-generation model that practices parent-focused and child-focused services; family-centered. Our school district is proud to provide resources that affect the whole family positively. This is truly the case of Mrs. Angelica Otamendi Hidalgo, a parent and dedicated community volunteer. Angelica first became involved with the Parent Resource Center (PRC) in August of 2014. She was a primary catalyst of the first PRC. Angelica’s volunteer work started with the Sierra Vista PRC and expanded into the Alpha PRC, where she volunteers to empower adults with low literacy skills. Angelica is the proud parent of three successful children who all attended kindergarten through high school in Madera Unified schools. Her oldest son Osvaldo Hidalgo Otamendi, MSHS Class of 2009, is a graduate student attending the Santa Clara  University and currently preparing for his British Accredited Regency (BAR) Exam. Christopher Hidalgo Otamendi, MSHS class of 2011, is in his senior year at the University of California, Santa Cruz, pursuing a Bachelor’s in History with a minor in Latin American studies and education. Montserrat Hidalgo Otamendi, Class of 2020, attends MSHS hoping to pursue a major in Audiology and will be applying to UC Merced. Angelica is a prime example of being involved in her children’s education, creating a home environment that encourages and supports learning, with a “can-do” attitude that leads to her children performing at optimal levels in their education path. Research indicates that children with parents, who are involved with their education, whether in school or at home, do better academically. Regardless of income and background, students with involved parents are more likely to excel academically and develop better social skills. It is believed that when schools and families work effectively together, the learning community becomes rich with opportunities. There is no magic combination of programs, resources, or practices that will produce results every time or work in every school, but there are some standard strategies that can help create effective school-family partnerships. Over the years, Angelica has continued to enhance her personal leadership skills and has taken advantage of professional development opportunities. To date, Angelica not only continues to volunteer, she currently teaches a School Smarts-Parent Leadership Program through the Parent Teacher Association at various MUSD schools. Her strong commitment to parent and community engagement continues to brighten and nurture the lives of hundreds of parents and families across our district. The broader community also has a responsibility to assure high-quality education for all students. Today, the old model is being replaced with a much more inclusive approach. School-family partnerships now include mothers, fathers, step-parents, grandparents, foster parents, other relatives and caregivers, business leaders, and community groups, all helping parents like Mrs. Otamendi in goal-oriented activities, at all grade levels, linked to student achievement and school success. This model of parent, family, and community involvement in the education of our youth correlates with higher academic performance. When schools, parents, families, and communities work together to support learning, students tend to earn higher grades, attend school more regularly, stay in school longer, and enroll in higher-level programs.

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