The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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CSUN helps parents motivate their kids in school

CSUN and the Parent Institute for Quality Education started a three-year partnership this semester, providing a nine-week course to teach parents of K-12 students how to get involved with their children’s school system and academics.

Sylmar High School, Van Nuys Middle School and Sun Valley Middle School are the first three schools out of five in the San Fernando Valley area that will

participate in the program, said Maria Elena Meraz, director of PIQE in Los Angeles.

PIQE is an institution that provides parents with classes on how to navigate the school system, encourages college attendance and teaches parents how to collaborate with teachers and counselors.

“We are looking (at) schools in the communities that have low (numbers) going to college,” said Terry Piper, vice president of student affairs at CSUN. “The goal for this project is to increase the number of students (who) go to college.”

Piper said campuses within the valley region are being selected.

The idea for a partnership between the CSU system and PIQE that could familiarize parents with their children’s academics started in August 2005, said Clara Potes-Fellow, a CSU spokesperson.

The program’s major objectives, which will apply to all 23 CSU campuses, are to educate parents on how to talk to principals and teachers, Potes-Fellow said.

Potes-Fellow said getting parents involved with their children’s education increases the chance of more students going into college.

“Our mission is that students get to higher education and their social investment of the students on the future of California,” Potes-Fellow added. “We want the children to go to college and take the prep-classes.”

The classes will be offered in 15 major languages by PIQE facilitators, said Sandra Estevez, associate director of PIQE. Professional facilitators will be teaching several majors in different languages, Estevez said.

“We are acting as encouragement,” Piper said. “The idea is to encourage students to really think of going to college.”

Piper said the benefit of the community is to have students well-prepared to succeed in college so that they can go back and help their communities.

“We give the parents all the information,” Meraz said. “We cover things like self-esteem and adolescence.”

“We tried to make the parents understand navigating the system,” Meraz said. “To learn and know about what requirements are needed for their children to graduate the high schools.”

Maria Ramirez graduated from the PIQE program in March. Ramirez is the mother of Alejandro Santos, a ninth grade student at Poly High School, and Jesus Santos, a

seventh grade student at Sun Valley Middle School. Ramirez said the classes exposed her to valuable information she had not been aware of before. She said she enrolled in the classes after being invited by Sun Valley Middle School to participate in the program.

“I received a lot of information,” Ramirez said. “I learned the decisions to support and send our kids to college must be made at home.”

Ramirez said she is now able to better understand her two son’s report cards.

“It’s an orientation that all parents should take to motivate their kids,” Ramirez said.

Carmen Perez, another mother currently participating in the nine-week program at Sun Valley Middle School, said she attends class every Thursday evening for an hour and half.

Perez, who is the mother of a seventh grade student at Sun Valley Middle School, said she was inspired to take the course to get more involved with her daughter’s school activities. She said she learned all about talking to the students’ counselors and the importance of attending school conferences.

“What I liked the most is that they teach you things that you are not aware of,” Perez said.

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