Lathrop High Principal Mike Horwood was raised in a non-English speaking, single-parent household.
So he greatly understood Parent Institute for Quality Education’s goal of creating a college-going culture.
“I know how hard is to have a mother who had hard time communicating (with the schools),” said Horwood at the first-ever PIQE parent graduation on Thursday.
His mother was from the Netherlands. The first-year principal not only graduated college but was the first in his family to earn a master’s degree and doctorate.
Horwood was thrilled to see the importance of education passed on to 59 parents involved in the nine-week course that began in early February.
According to PIQE associate director Gabriela Ramirez, the lessons learned included the understanding of the high school system, recognizing the importance of the grade point average (GPA), discussing higher education options, and identifying the difference financial aid options, to name a few.
“We know that education is the key to success,” said parent Maria Teresa Lopez, who was one of two guest speakers from the program taught this year in Spanish.
“We’re hoping to offer it next year in English and Punjabi,” Ramirez said.
Lathrop High is made up 49 percent Hispanic, Horwood said. Of that, 10 percent are English as Second Language learners.
Ana Padilla was grateful of PIQE.
“We, as parents, were not able to help our students due to the lack of understanding the language,” she said. “We now feel confident – everything will change.”
One of the objectives for PIQE is to encourage and support low-income, ethnically-diverse parents of K-12 school children to take a participatory role in their children’s education.
They do so by learning how to create a home learning environment; support their child’s emotional and social development; navigate the school system; engage and collaborate with teachers, counselors and principal; ensure that their children complete the high school requirements; and encourage high school and college graduation.
Padilla and Lopez were among the 27 in the program to make it through all nine sessions. Others to attain perfect attendance were Marina Arellano, Maria Astorga, Maria Avalos, Maria Baltazar, Ruben Banuelos, Veronica Cabrera de Reyes, Amelia Cisneros, Hermila Corrca, Rosa Fernandez, Rosa Hernandez, Maura Martinez, Patricia Mejia, Rosa Munoz, Maria Murga, Luz Pinedo, Faviola Ramirez, Maria Rodriguez, Claudia Ruelas, Cesar Sanchez, Ana Sanchez, Martha Sandoval, Angelica Torres, Ana Trujillo, Ignacio Vallejo and Martha Vasquez.
Each of the 59 graduating parents received certificates for their efforts.
They were greeted by Horwood and keynote speaker Tony Pacheco, who teaches Spanish at Sierra High, on their accomplishments.