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MaryGrace Longoria
Educator Organizer

MaryGrace is Stand for Children's Educator Organizer

While the research shows that a highly-effective teacher is the number one factor in improving student achievement, the research is also clear that engaged parents can have a significant impact in a student’s long-term success in school.  Educating and empowering parents to be effective advocates for their children is at the heart of Stand for Children Colorado’s work.  Most of our parent engagement work focuses on K-12 schools, however, we recently had an opportunity to work with parents of preschoolers who attend Head Start at the Volunteers of America (VOA) Early Childhood Education Center in southwest Denver.

VOA’s mission is to identify and serve the basic needs of the most vulnerable individuals and families within the community.  VOA’s Head Start program provides high-quality preschool options to at-risk three- and four-year-olds in Southwest Denver.  Nearly 20 parents participated in a series of workshops aimed at educating parents about the importance of reading by third grade and preparing parents to be engaged in their child’s kindergarten program.

Parents walked away with the following knowledge:

  • Reading is a fundamental skill to ensure that students succeed in school. Colorado’s READ Act requires schools to track how well students are progressing in their literacy abilities. If a child has a significant reading deficiency, teachers are required to develop specific steps that will help the student progress toward reading on grade level.
  • It is important to regularly communicate with your child’s teacher to understand how they are doing in school.
  • It’s never too early to start the learning process! Talk to and read with your children from an early age.
  • Going back to school can sometimes be tough for kids. Develop a plan for preparing your child to return to school, and foster a learning environment at home.

We are proud to say that the workshops were a hit, and Stand looks forward to working with VOA throughout the school year.  It may be cliché to say “knowledge is power.”  But, as more parents are informed and empowered to be engaged advocates for their children, the better off our children will be.

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