Valley View Parents First to Graduate PIQE Program
Roosevelt School District’s Valley View Elementary is the first of the district’s schools to successfully see its children’s parents graduate from the Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE) program.
The Southern California-based program was conceptualized in 1987 by Hispanic parents in San Diego participating in a dialogue about how to improve their children’s grades. Since then, the program has been initiated in several states, and its focus has been centered on making children’s education a partnership between schools, parents, and their communities, with the ultimate goal of teaching parents to help their children graduate high school and get accepted into college.
Roosevelt School District Superintendent Dr. Mark Dowling said he is enthusiastic about the results the program has already shown since its inception.
“The program in California shows 95 percent of children go on to college after participating in the program.” A study conducted by San Diego State University confirms that 94 percent of parents who completed the program report that their children graduated from high school.
Valley View approached Arizona State University’s Center for Community Development and Civil Rights soon after it began administering the program in Arizona in the fall of 2006 and asked about bringing the program to its school. The school’s governing board voted to approve the cooperative effort between ASU and Valley View, and once the board approved the program, associates from PIQE called the parents of every child enrolled in the school, inviting them to attend the nine weekly sessions.
Following the typical PIQE format, each of the nine sessions was held at the school in both the morning and evening in an attempt to maximize opportunities when parents could attend. Childcare was made available at the school for parents who needed it and bilingual assistance was also available for Spanish-speaking parents. The nine-week program was provided free to parents with the university, school, and district splitting the average cost of $175 per participating parent to pay for the program.
Forty-two Valley View parents completed the program, which taught them how to become more active in ensuring their children would have a chance to attend college after graduating from high school.
Yesenia Puente, one of the PIQE program associates who helped facilitate the program at Valley View, described the first session, orientation, as an eye-opener for parents.
“We ask parents to commit to changing their kids’ lives,” she said. “Fifty percent of students will not finish high school.”
To illustrate the statistic, each parent wrote their name on a piece of paper, the papers were collected, and half of the names were drawn, symbolizing those who might be the ones who might not graduate high school. “Parents leave [the orientation session] surprised,” Puente said.
The bulk of the sessions include six classes in which parents learn specific tactics to help their children. These core classes include topics such as motivation, self-esteem, how to navigate the school system and what parents must do to help get their children into college. As Puente explains, the classes are not just a facilitator bombarding parents with information, but a dialogue where facilitators present questions and parents present solutions.
District board member Jimmie Muñoz praised the parents’ dialogue as a program highlight. “It’s an important key factor because it teaches teamwork among parents, that they can rely on each other, and that’s the important part. It builds the community right inside the school ground.” Following the six core classes, a session is devoted to dialogue with the school principal, which allows parents to ask the principal questions and express concerns. The final session is a graduation ceremony for the parents where they are awarded a PIQE certificate and a certificate from Arizona State University promising the children of participating parents a place in the university if the children fulfill the necessary requirements to be accepted into the university.
Puente applauded Valley View and its students’ parents for taking the crucial step to ensure their children’s academic success.
“The school allowed us to work closely with the parents. We know the parents will take things to heart and work with their kids.” Valley View Principal John Wann is looking forward to continuing to work with the program. “It’s been very enriching. I’m looking forward to future possibilities because PIQE in California has different components, like one for preschool, so I’d love to enroll kids when they’re 1 and 2.”
The program has already started sessions at the district’s C.O. Greenfield School