Parent-mentor program helps with education involvement

June 4, 2013 3:46:17 PM PDT
Getting parents involved in their children's education is a challenge for Chicago's schools.

But a program developed in the city's Logan Square neighborhood is receiving national recognition for getting parents engaged.

Parent mentors and principals come together for the first annual statewide parental mentor graduation, parent mentors go through intensive training to learn how to help their own children while getting actively engaged in school improvement, principals accepted and passed out diplomas the mentors were proud to receive.

"This program gave me a huge defense in my life," said Malathi Bogra, parent mentor.

"It is empowering the parents at our school to help them help their own children at home and supports the teachers in the classroom," said Ed Loch, principal, Reinberg Elementary School.

Five-hundred parent mentors graduated Tuesday, not only does it help them to help their students and other students and also helps them to become better individuals.

Carolina Rivera is an immigrant who got her GED, learned English and volunteered as a mentor for eight years. Two months ago she became staff coordinator.

"I have the ability now to not only help my own children because now I understand them better," Rivera said. "I have learned a lot these eight years. I think the more that I learn the more I will grow."

I think the parent mentor group has really impacted Cooke Elementary School because we were on the closing list, and with the work of the parent mentors, we got off the closing list," said Aisha Jennings, parent mentor.

"To me our parents are our first teachers, so their interaction with our school community has helped raise grades and improve our classroom as well," said Turon Ivy, principal, Ames Middle School.

"That is what it is all about, empowering our parents at the beginning," said Ofelia Sanchez, Logan Square Development Association.


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